The Golden Thread Project UK-USA

14th March - 29th JuLY 2018.

English Folk Dance and Song Society, Cecil Sharp House

2 Regent's Park Road, London NW1 7AY

about the exhibition

THE GOLDEN THREAD PROJECT UK-USA tOOK its inspiration from Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles’ song-collecting experiences in the Appalachian Mountains 100 years ago, and WAS based on research undertaken in the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library.



As part of the centenary celebrations of the song-collecting trips taken by Cecil Sharp and Maud Karpeles to the Appalachian region of the USA, this exhibition, alongside the musical events and book that accompany it, explored the golden threads that link UK and USA folk song by showcasing folk song comics in a wide variety of styles created by twenty eight artists.

These comics are based on songs that have roots in the British Isles, and were carried to America as people from the British Isles emigrated, settling in Appalachia, that mountainous and rural stripe of territory running from New York State all the way down to the northern Mississippi. These are songs that formed a rich tradition within US folk culture that survives to this day. These folk songs have shown that they can survive and transmute themselves over the years and remain relevant. A full-blooded murder ballad or a tragic love ballad, full of strangeness, joy, gloom and passion, is a storytelling opportunity that fires the imagination. 

We encouraged our artists to bring their own thoughts and voices to bear when making these comics; interpreting stories that at times seem strange and savage, and at others chime with us, bringing a sense of universal, timeless recognition. Comics are often the repository of inner thoughts and craziness. And like some folk music these comics are an art form that grows out of a necessity that lies within each individual creator. The result is a unique exhibition and book, featuring more than 30 new works produced in a wonderful variety of narrative imagery.




Aidan Saunders, Beau Brannick, Bette Belle Blanchard, Billy Mather, Daryl Rainbow, Drew Webster, Fiontan Fitzgerald, Fran Colomb, Gary Northfield, Hannah Dyson, Hunt Emerson, Jim Stoten, Jonathan Edwards, Jonny Hannah, Kim Fountain, Lesley Barnes, Lord Hurk, Marie Morelle, Mark Stafford, Nick White, Orson Coupland, Peter Lloyd, Rob Nicol, Soju Tanaka, Stephen Fowler, Tommy Brentnall, Woodrow Phoenix, ZEEL.