Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum to Host “Spirit of Mayflower” UK Sculptor

July 2, 2019

Artist in Residence at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum August 11- 25, 2019

(Photo of Rachel Carter – credit Rhys Jones)

Provincetown, Mass. (July 2, 2019) When sculptor Rachel Carter departs Liverpool, England on July 27 via freighter, she will be tracing the Atlantic crossing of the Mayflower Pilgrims while she is working on her project “The Language of Sculpture -Spirit of Mayflower.”  Carter’s journey in the U.S. will end in Provincetown where she will be an Artist-in-Residence at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (PMPM) from August 11th through 25th.

During her 13-day voyage on a freighter, she will be cut off from the outside world and will be charting her journey through a texture diary where she will spend time knotting, stitching and twisting twines and ropes while reading excerpts of William Bradford’s journals he wrote about his Mayflower crossing in 1620. She will also be using ancient weaving methods of macramé to weave new patterns that are inspired by the Wampum belts of the Wampanoag indigenous people.

“I am making my own pilgrimage to get my own sense of feeling and isolation from my family. I wanted to experience what it would be like to be completely cut off from the rest of the world, and express my experience through textile sculpture,” said Carter.

PMPM Executive Director Dr. K. David Weidner, said that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Museum and its visitors. “Rachel Carter’s Artist-in-Residency is unique because it’s a cross-cultural exchange and also an opportunity for visitors to see history in the making.  Rachel’s textile sculpture and expression of her own pilgrimage is an important part of our programming connected to the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ first landing in Provincetown,” said Dr. Weidner.   “Rachel’s journey, like present day pilgrims that visit Provincetown for safe-harbor, illustrates spirit and determination. Rachel Carter’s visit to the PMPM supports our inclusive mission of diversity, tolerance, and protecting and promoting our history.”

The ultimate finished product, when she returns to the U.K., will be a 3D sculpture of a female figure outfitted with a Tudor gown with a fitted kirtle and a full skirt adorned with weavings she will have made on her journey in addition to weavings made with 50 women from the Pilgrim roots area of the U.K. The 3D sculpture will be used to cast a bronze statue depicting Pilgrim Women to be exhibited throughout the U.K. during the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ voyage to America. The Pilgrim Women sculpture will also feature a woman holding an apple, the Pilgrim 400 apple, a special species being grown in the U.K. for the anniversary and which will also be planted in Provincetown.

“The Pilgrim Women sculpture could really change the way fine arts can reinterpret history and story-telling and incorporate items that may be too delicate to touch. By scanning them and making 3D casts, we can create new sculptures that will withstand exhibitions and displays,” she said.

Carter’s project was inspired by research into her own family history that she can trace to the 1500’s in the Midlands of the U.K. from where several Mayflower Pilgrims were from. She said that her family never moved from that region and were illiterate but could weave complex items as frame work knitters. She relates her family’s roots as weavers with the native Wampanoag people who created weavings that chronicled their milestones and historic events, two distinct groups with no obvious connection but who were similarly experienced in story telling through textiles.

When Carter is in her Artist-in-Residence at the PMPM, she will display the textile art she made on the freighter voyage and talk to Museum visitors about her project. She will also provide Museum visitors with the opportunity to learn how to weave.

Prior to her Provincetown Museum Artist-in-Residence, she will visit the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology at Harvard University to see Wampanoag artifacts and other artifacts from the 17th centry recently uncovered in Cambridge, Mass. on an archeological dig.  Her project, “The Language of Sculpture -Spirit of Mayflower” is supported by the Arts Council England.

About the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum

Dedicated in 1910, the Monument commemorates the first landing of the Mayflower Pilgrims in Provincetown in 1620.  Here they signed the historic Mayflower Compact, the first agreement to establish a government by the people in the ‘new world;’ which became the cornerstone of American democracy. They explored the Cape for five weeks before sailing on to Plymouth. At 252 feet, the Monument is an engineering marvel and the tallest granite tower in the United States. Visitors can climb the Monument’s 116 steps and 60 ramps at a leisurely pace and enjoy a breathtaking view of the entire Cape and visit our webcam for a live “View from the Top.” The Provincetown Museum at the base of the Monument presents engaging exhibitions of important chapters in our national heritage and the Town’s history and oversees Provincetown 400, the committee developing the commemorations for 2020, the 400thanniversary of the Mayflower voyage and landing in Provincetown.  Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum is a non-profit educational, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. For more information please visit pilgrim-monument.org.

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