The weekend of February 24 and 25 will provide a final opportunity to see the exhibition of Dutch ganseys at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther – before they are packed off on their further adventures across the Atlantic to Alaska.
In an exciting addition at the end of the run, their maker, Stella Ruhe, will travel to the museum from Amsterdam.
On Saturday, February 24, from 1.30pm to 3.30 pm, Stella will give an exclusive insight into her fascinating research on traditional fishermen’s knitted sweaters from the coasts and rivers of the Netherlands. Then, on Sunday , February 25, there will be an opportunity to Meet the Artist, 1.30-2.30pm; an Artist’s Talk in the Education Centre, 2.30-3.30pm; and an Informal Q & A with Stella, 3.30-4.30pm. And, of course, there will be a last chance to see the exhibition.
Over the winter, the Scottish Fisheries Museum has had the unique privilege of being one of only two UK venues (the other bring Sheringham Museum in Norfolk) to host the European tour of Dutch textile expert Stella Ruhe’s exquisitely recreated traditional fishermen’s sweaters or Visserstruien.
Although the museum is only displaying 40 of the 60 ganseys from the original exhibition, you still get an impression of the diversity and complexity of the patterns and the skill required to produce these garments.
Stella travelled around the coastal villages of the Netherlands identifying multiple, distinct patterns incorporated into Dutch fishermen’s jumpers then recreated 60 of them using modern yarn and the traditional knitting methods. The resulting exhibition, illustrated with archive photography showing Dutch fishermen wearing the original designs, makes for a compelling insight into this cultural folk phenomenon and female craft heritage which spans not only the entire coastline of the British Isles but also, as only relatively recently discovered, down the North Sea Coast of the Netherlands.
The Scottish Fisheries Museum has its own collection of ganseys which, along with the rest of the costume and, indeed, the entire collection, has been recognised as a nationally significant collection by the Scottish Government.
The ganseys on show are featured in Stella’s recently published second book on the subject More Traditional Dutch Ganseys. It has been possible to bring the exhibition and events weekend to Anstruther thanks to financial support from Fife Council’s Common Good Fund.