Hue and Cry Handwoven Pilchard Shoal

This piece of fabric is called Hue and Cry. I live on the coast of the Lizard Peninsula historically a rich fishing ground for small herring type fish a bit bigger than European Sardines. In the past it was imperative to the survival of many communities here to catch these fish. A huer’s job was to watch for the tell tale signs of pilchard shoals and then alert the townsfolk to their arrival. Upon spotting such a shoal the huer would alert the town with cries of ‘Hevva, Hevva! Here they are. Spotting the pilchards was not the end of the huer’s duties. Once the fishing boats were in position the huer would also direct the movement of the boats at sea. His semaphore-like signals made with two ‘bushes’ – originally small furze bushes covered with cloth  – were clearly visible from the water. The bushes were sometimes used to signal news to local men on passing ships too, like the birth of a child to their wives! I am inspire by this story therefore i having tried spotting shoals of pilchards myself understand how difficult it is. After that these story i love the huer’s hut above Cadgwith and the colours of the sea and sky that surround it.  I have reflected the blues and turquoises in my cloth however also the deep teals. In other words icy blues of  what can be a hard and demanding environment at times. Using a traditional rosepath threading therefore I have created a repeating pattern reminiscent of sardines in a tin.  The mercerized cotton I have chosen has a slight sheen to it and the ice blue background. Almost makes the fish motif appear to shimmer as if they were just under the surface of water. Creating lighting felt entirely appropriate for this handwoven fabric.  The light in the dark to guide the fishermen home.  The gleam of slippery fish scales on the bottom of the boat and on themselves. I have created a tall floor lamp, two table lamps and a couple of drum lampshades to fit standard British table lamps.
Table Lamp Coastal Style Handcrafted
I hope my woven cloth will do these fishermen justice and bring their story closer to your lives.  I hope too you will very much enjoy having these pieces of textile art in your coastal homes.

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2 thoughts on “Hue and Cry Handwoven Pilchard Shoal

  1. Absolutely stunning cloth, Sarah.
    And such an interesting back story!!

  2. How kind thank you for your comment.

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