After decades of decline Lancashire’s once-dominant textile industry is experiencing a new revival and proving it can successfully compete with overseas suppliers
I was clearing up some emails the other day, mainly from Interweave, and was seeing promos for events that are happening over the rest of the year (e.g. SOAR). I was also on twitter this morning, and saw that socksummit was there. There’s no way I will be going to one of these events, I was wondering if there was anything like this happening in the UK. I cant believe we dont do events like this – so where and when are they and why dont I know about them?
I know about Soar and socksummit, because I know Americans who have gone and subsequently talked about them. So are British people going to and talking about their UK equivalent “retreats” and if so……where?!
Over the Christmas period, Dragon’s Den member @DeborahMeaden kicked off the #buybritishhelpjobs hashtag on twitter, to urge and allow people to chose to buy items made in Britain.
Using the same hashtag I’ve found an article, showing that some British retailers are trying to invest in making (some of their) wares in the UK.
There are plenty of disadvantages of course (e.g. consumer’s apparent need for cheap clothing, which can produced mainly through bulk buying and low wages), but there are also some advantages (e.g. quick turnarounds for small orders, which leaves little surplus sitting in warehouses).
Meanwhile, Sir Christopher Frayling FRSA (who just so happens to have a book come out recently called “On Craftsmanship: Towards a New Bauhaus”), has written an article called “Tools for survival“ where he argues that “Only an outdated vocabulary holds it [the maker movement] back from playing its part in social and economic progress”
On February 17 2010, the UK’s The Telegraph newspaper produced an article in their lifestyle section (here’s hoping the link remains active for a decent while) about quilting. It’s a short and sweet article, not really going into depths of the practicalities of actually making a quilt, but gives sound bytes from a number of people about quilts and why they make them.
It also reminds us of the V&A exhibit that is happening this year (which I believe was previously announced at last year’s “Festival of Quilts” at the NEC. The Quilts 1700-2010 exhibition at the V&A, Cromwell Road, runs March 20 to July 4. More details on www.vam.ac.uk/quilts.
Liberty‘s, who are doing classes around fabrics etc, also have a range of fabrics of various sizes and costs that can be found here: at Wornandwashedfabrics that, according to the article “The larger bundles have enough fabric to allow them to be sewn into a quick scrappy quilt measuring about 130cm by 185cm (roughly 4’4” by 6’2”) or cut down in size for a nine patch, log cabin or four patch. “
Of course, as someone with an interest in fabrics etc, whilst I am glad that articles like this appear in national newspapers, I am disappointed on several fronts. 1) They are never long enough and I know next week, interest from the editors will have waned and it’ll be onto the next “filler piece”. 2) It is horribly London/Home County centric – what about us poor people North of the Watford gap, designers, shop owners, sewers et all? Do we not deserve a little highlight? How can these articles support the ever dwindling bricks and mortar fabric shops that need all our support to get people through the door? The bundling of fabrics by Liberty’s is an excellent idea – how can this translate into the local communities to make use of the locally found/produced/recycled fabrics?
BBC Radio 4, in conjunction with the British Museum (or is it the other way around?!) currently has a daily broadcast of about 15 minutes long (currently at around 9.45 GMT every morning), called, unsurprisingly, A History of the world in 100 objects. it is also available on podcast (from iTunes etc), which is how I am listening to it.
Neil MacGregor from the museum presents each episode, each about a specific item held in the museum. He is not the only voice on the episode however, and I have been impressed at the different people – and different types of people who have contributed to each episode. Episode 24 for instance – about the Paracas Textiles from Peru not only have Mary Frame the Fine Arts historian who has an interest in this type of textile for over 30 years but the designer Zhandra Rhodes who discussed the impact of such fabrics and execution on designers today (and she wondered if she could ever do a Peruvian inspired collection one of these years).
Due to the highly degradable nature of textiles, they are going to make up only a small section of the 100 objects – it’s difficult to discuss an item directly that no longer exists! However, there are plenty of other objects they are discussing, from the earliest pottery (found in Japan from 17,000 years ago), through clay tablets with very early writing, to papyrus scrolls showing how to do maths the Egyptian way.
Only 25 of the suspected 100 episodes have been broadcast, and I will be curious to see how long they remain available after the show has finished. [Edited to note: it went to 30 episodes, to resume on the 17th May 2010]
According to the website it is part of a wider community project, so I will have to do a little research to see if there’s anything around my area that could be of interest.