UK Press Release July 19

UK artist will recreate the 1620 voyage of the Mayflower in modern-day pilgrimage to the USA

Artist and sculptor, Rachel Carter is set to retrace the historic Mayflower voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to commemorate the 400th anniversary as part of a sculptural project.

Rachel will recreate the 1620 Atlantic crossing of the Mayflower Pilgrims, completely cut off from communication*, spending her time working on her project ‘The language of Sculpture – Spirit of Mayflower’ before she arrives in America to carry out an Artist-in-Residency at the Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (PMPM) in Boston MA.

Speaking about the crossing Rachel said: “I am making my own pilgrimage to get a sense of the 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.”

Departing from Liverpool on 27th July, Rachel will chart her journey through a texture diary where she will spend time knotting, stitching and twisting twines and ropes while reading extracts of William Bradford’s journals he wrote about his own Mayflower crossing during her 13-day voyage. She will also be using ancient weaving methods of macramé to weave new patterns that are inspired by the Wampum belts of North America’s native Wampanoag people.

Once in Provincetown Rachel will begin her Artist-in-Residency at the PMPM, displaying the textile art that she made during the crossing, talking to Museum visitors about her project and provide them with the opportunity to learn how to weave.

Upon her return Rachel will combine the weavings created during the Atlantic crossing with 50 new weavings from a series of workshops that will engage women from across the UK Pilgrim Roots areas; Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and South Yorkshire to create a sculpture of female figure, outfitted with a Tudor-style dress with a fitted kirtle and full skirt. The 3D sculpture will be used to cast a bronze statue depicting Pilgrim Women to be exhibited throughout the UK during the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower Pilgrims’ voyage to America.

The project was inspired by Rachel’s research into her own family history, which she has traced back to the 1500s, she learnt that many of her ancestors were weavers working in the textile industries of Nottingham and their history is peppered with stories of migration, albeit sometimes smaller in miles, the times and circumstances would still have caused great upheaval.

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.

The language of Sculpture – Spirit of Mayflower’ is supported by Arts Council England and endorsed by Mayflower 400 as a Spirit of Mayflower project.