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Let's Decorate an Octagon

ELTA has started on a new project - to make an exhibition to go alongside the work of John Frederick Lewis. He was a Victorian painter who painted many Orientalist paintings - scenes of picturesque lives in the Middle East - many of Cairo where he lived for over ten years. His watercolours are incredibly fine so sadly are difficult to reproduce with images in books and on the internet giving no idea of the quality of his work.

We have used his paintings as a springboard for exploring the islamic patterns he illustrated in the backgrounds of his paintings. We have begun by embroidering octagons - a few of which are featured below in this blog. The project is in partnership with The Art Workers Guild and The Watts Gallery. There will be a programm of events a The Art Workers Guild in London and The Watts Gallery in. We will keep you posted in the New Year about upcoming events.

In the meantime we have lots of octagons being made, all different and all beatuiful, but we want lots more so please do join in. With them we will make both printed fabrics and a garment from the original pieces which will be shown at the Watts Gallery in summer 2019 alongside their exhibition of John Frederick Lewis and at the Art Workers Guild in the autumn. Members of the Arts Workers Guild will be joining in this celebration of John Frederick Lewis - creating their own work in response to Lewis and the worlds that he depicted as well as being Visiting Artists in the project.

Issues of "orientalism", both then and now will be explored.

If you would like to join in the project and decorate an octagon get in touch by emailing

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