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Tree of Life

Start Date March 2019
End Date 03 November 2019
Venue Killerton House. National Trust
Location Exeter, UK
Curator Shelley Tobin
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

The ancient relationship between people and trees is reflected in the historic and ongoing use of trees as a raw material for clothes and shoes and as an inspiration for textiles and dress design. 

Follow the exhibition from the the root of the tree to the branches seeing items drawn from the collection that have been inpsired by trees. 

New this year visit the handling collection which has samples and designed objects using raw materials from five trees (all of which can be found on the Killerton estate). 

Including pieces, made from barkcloth, from contemporary designer José Hendo. 

Leaves feature heavily in textile design from the 18th to the 20th centuries. 

Pale and pastel colours are traditional in spring clothing, reflecting seasonal blossoms and the promise of new life. 

Orchards fruits have frequently provided inspiration to designers. Seeds and nuts, such as ‘vegetable ivory’ from corozo and other palm nuts imported from South America have been used to make buttons and trimmings. 

Also on display are intricate ink drawings of a dress from the collection by artist Teresa Whitfield. 

The exhibition also features an exciting project by Exeter School of Art (Exeter College) Art and Design students. They have designed work that has been inspired by objects in the fashion collection, exotic trees in the garden and the orchards and wooded landscape at Killerton.