Witney Museum & Historical Society
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Page last updated: February 19th 2012
Page first published: February 19th 2012
Witney Yarn Mosaic
Some extracts from his project blog and link to a slideshow gallery
showing his work.
At the start of his project blog, Rob Turner asked himself a
What is the importance of history?
I have to depict the history of a town. This was my proposal and it
Suddenly then; history has become a real thing, not just a word on a
piece of paper that represents....well er just ...stuff. I am left
wondering now what value history has in our communities or society
in more general terms, outside of academic study.
"We study the past to understand the present; we understand the
present to guide the future." -- William Lund
I found this when I was googling rather silly questions about the
value of history. It was by far the best thing I have found so far!
History is important because WE ARE the past: we are the sum of
all the events--good, bad, and indifferent--that have happened to us.
This sum product guides our actions in the present.
The only way we can understand who we are and how we got to be
that way is by studying the past. Similarly, the only way we can
understand others is by studying their past. If we don't understand
what made them who they are--in terms of how they think and
act--we will make all sorts of mistakes in our interactions with them.
Think of how you treat people differently based on how you know
them. The same is true for countries when it comes to diplomacy.
Our failures in Iraq were borne of a limited understanding of who they
are (because we haven't taken the time to truly study and
understand their past).
Well today I have just about finished
preparing the cartoon for this project
and I have orderd the tiles. It is
something like 11 months ago that I
went for the interview.
Tomorrow I will have to re-organize
my workshop and prepare things to
accomodate it, something I quite
like doing. It is exciting to start, at
'A Witney Yarn (detail)', coloured pencil. I will redraw this so the
ground is on the outer edge and sky inwards. I did not miss the
target with my designs, they were well received.
It is very embarassing if they appoint you as the artist, you present
your ideas and then it goes rather quiet, 'cos you missed the target!
I have jumped that hurdle it seems. Touch wood
Witney exported blankets woven on machines to North American
Indians who wore them as capes, exported with the Hudson Bay
Trading Co. I would have thought the Indians would have woven
their own blankets, but then there you go, its a funny old world.
For me the machine represents western capitalism and the Indian
some kind of more attractive 'other'. I am looking forward to
depicting him in this mosaic, but I have to focus on another project
now and I will have to wait may be as long as a month before I can
meet my friend the Indian.
finished 6 weeks or so before the
rescheduled installation date.
What is the importance of history?
I still can't tell you. But it is very
Is art about documenting and
Is it about anything else? How do you
Does it go like this:
- collect, edit, balance and make?
None of that's particularly historical. So the answers remain
elusive still. I am waiting to start another mosaic. It is Historical.
But what is really occupying mind in those emptier periods is I
have got to install this Witney mosaic. It has to fit in the site made
for it. I have got to make it fit.
It probably will fit. But if it dose'nt...... WOW...... I'll be using my
I had a friend once, who said, ' The measure of a good craftsman
is how they solve problems when things go wrong!
Shut up, your making me nervous...