Wool Scarf – Story of my Threads

“This scarf was hand-woven in Durban, South Africa, and my Mum brought it back for me – she was visiting there. I’ve had it for 15 years. It’s made of wool and it’s become softer with use. It’s not necessarily something I would’ve chosen for myself but that doesn’t matter. It’s also really warm. “I just love it, and it has travelled with me to Japan; I always take it with me when I’m travelling. There’s something so normal aboutRead more

tawdry

If something is tawdry it’s old and scrappy but worn as if it were elegant and beautiful – an idea I support fully! It’s the adjective use of the noun tawdry – a ‘tawdry’, until the late 17th century, was a woman’s necktie The word has been shortened several times: St. Audrey’s lace, a ribbon or necktie sold at the annual St. Audrey’s Day fair, held in Ely on October 17th, was altered in the mid 16th century to tawdryRead more

Rosalind Wyatt

Rosalind Wyatt is a British artist who loves words. Initially trained in calligraphy, she went on to study textiles at the Royal College of Art. Her practice combines text and textile, and she works from her studio in London. Stitch commissions include luxury bespoke gifts for private and corporate clients from around the world, including two stitched garments for Fortnum & Mason of London, which now hang in their boardroom. She has developed her own technique of ‘writing with a needle’ combining textRead more

kaleidoscope – guest post by Natasha Lester

“Kaleidoscope means, literally, ‘observer of beautiful forms’ and was named by the inventor, scientist David Brewster.” From Greek, kalos, ‘beautiful’, plus eidos ‘shape’ and skopos, scope, ‘aim, target, object of attention, to view’. (Image: V&A Collection: detail from floor-spread, quilted cotton embroidered with silk and metal-wrapped thread, Deccan, mid 18th century)Read more

luddite

Since the 1960s the term luddite has meant someone who refused or feared to use new technology. 200 years ago Luddites were an organised group of textile workers who, rather than fearing new technology because it was unfamiliar, worried that their wages would be diminished as mechanised looms replaced hand looms. In the early 19th Century the industrial revolution was in full swing. The UK’s population grew dramatically. Hundreds of thousands of men employed by the military started looking forRead more

garance, indigo + gaude

Garance, indigo and gaude are words which refer to the colours produced by plant dyes used in traditional fabric dying. Garance produces a red dye, indigo a blue dye and gaude a yellow dye. So yes, it’s really just red, blue and yellow in fancy outfits, in the world of pre-19th century European fabric design. Garance refers to a red dye made from varieties of the Madder plant. Common Madder (Rubia tinctorum) was used extensively in French textile production. A commonRead more