When I moved to Great Yarmouth in 2016, it didn’t take long for me to hear the name ‘Lorina Bulwer‘. Lorina was a British needleworker who created embroidered furies on discarded pieces of materials whilst in a workhouse lunatic ward. She created several of these samplers of needlework, which gained some infamy after she died. Some of these pieces can now be found in the Norwich Castle Museum. During the Covid-19 lockdown, researching her life and writing her story for a pamphlet become one of my pandemic projects. With a little bit of digging online, I found out where she was buried and was able to add missing info to her Wikipedia page. Lotte LS, who runs red herring press, based in Great Yarmouth, commissioned me to write a pamphlet about Lorina. I snapped up the chance. The pamphlet is a paean to the pained, a eulogy for the excluded, for the people who have been hurt by the world and then hated by the world. The term ugly is a weapon of humans. What does a flower, a rock or a bird care for the word ‘ugly’?
Lorina become an inspiration whilst I was researching her life. The site of the workhouse she was in is now Northgate Hospital, a psychiatric hospital, where I unfortunately was a patient at. So I took a leaf out of her book and created my first embroidered work and stood outside the hospital with my pal, Karl, to give our unique feedback. The text on the sheet reads: Lorina Bulwer was here, she thought this place sucked satan’s balls, and so do we.
One of Lorina’s Tapestries
In 2022 myself and group of people who cared about Lorina went to her overgrown grave.
We tidied her grave and placed gifts on her grave, wild flower and poppy seeds were scattered and planted, and much love was given to someone who didn’t have much of it in life. It is sad she was gifted beauty in death. Apparently, the mad aren’t allowed it in life.
Rest in Power, Lorina x