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Juliet Alexander - Boater with Bow & Walnut

Since moving to the village I have been deeply interested in its history. Straw plaiting was one of the main sources of income for Pirton women during the 1800’s. As a hat-lover and a mother whose six year old daughter loves dressing up, the idea to work this into the tapestry evolved.

I researched the shapes and designs of straw hats by visiting exhibitions at the museums in Hitchin and Luton. Together with reading books and sketching different plaiting patterns, the design was finalised. The motifs in each corner of the tapestry represent aspects of Pirton life which are significant to our family. When we moved here three years ago our son was eighteen months old. He loved tractors (and still does), hence the John Deere. Our house was built in 1998 and is number eleven, thus XI. We named it after a style of plaiting, the Cordinet Bow, which was used to edge bonnets last century.

We were first told about the violets up Wood Lane by two very dear friends who made us especially welcome when we moved to Pirton and the beehive is dedicated to everyone who worked on the Millennium Screen Project.

The project has been a wonderful way of meeting people and working as a team. There have been challenges along the way but the expertise shared and the support given has meant that we have crafted something special for future generations to enjoy.  


When we first moved to Pirton we rented Elm Cottage in Bury End. In the garden was a magnificent walnut tree by which we judged the seasons. The squirrels provided our young children with many moments of delight as we watched their antics. (It was a different matter when they ran along the attic roof in the early hours!)

We look back very fondly on our time in Bury End, which we came across by pure accident. It seemed a natural subject to choose for my collage and, somewhat appropriately, we will be cracking our last cache of Elm Cottage walnuts this Christmas.