In memoriam: Claire Orbell

We’re saddened to acknowledge the death of CTANZ member Claire Orbell on 31 January in Dunedin. Claire was known to many within the textile community from her role as registrar at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, where she cheerfully shared her expertise and knowledge of the museum’s collections, particularly the textile store. In this role, her outreach and scholarship included presentations, talks, and storeroom tours, notably for CTANZ and the Embroiders’ Guild, and of course working with researchers and other museum professionals nationally.

Claire’s museum career began with an MA on Egyptian archaeology, a degree in museum studies in Sydney and museum work in Auckland and Te Awamutu before moving south to the Otago registrar role in 2010. She was also a keen embroiderer, and a sometime member of the Otago Guild. Her fine fingers enabled her to be dextrous with a needle, and her embroidery was beautiful and meticulous. In the weeks before she died, she made most of a beaded fringe for a lamp, something she’d long wanted to do.

Claire died peacefully at the Otago Hospice. The CTANZ community extends our sympathy to her family and friends.

Thanks to Jane Malthus for sharing her memories of Claire.

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