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Published: 21 April 2018

By Andy Ross

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The textile collection at the studio

Over the past twenty six years we have been collecting textiles and a few weeks ago, as regular readers of the blog will know, we have been storing and cataloguing the fabrics and costumes. 

Amongst the pieces we have are the ephemera, those pieces which do not normally survive because tastes change and things are discarded. While not to everybody's taste these textiles are important precisely because they are not valued. As they become rarer so it becomes more important and urgent that we keep them so that future generations can see, experience and know these items. They will help generate new ideas and keep old ideas alive. We have Shetland cotton knitted bedspreads and Victorian lace in the collection, as well as a printed banner from a Spanish bullfight (whatever we may think of the practice!) and similar artefacts.

Our collection though includes some other pieces which are important in a different way. We collect things that inspire us, either because of their colouring or their shape or technique, and some of those are wonderful indeed! 

In amongst those textiles are true barkcloths from Africa and the Pacific, and the woven cotton equivalent which was prevalent in furnishing in the middle of the last century. Printed and woven fabrics by artists such as Marino Marini (right) or Tibor Reich. Lace knitting from Shetland. Costumes from the West End stage and clothing from Bernat Klein, and China, and Japan. We have lots of woven fabrics including the double cloth piece on the right hand side of this page at the top, and curtains made of velvet, or cotton, wool, linen or fibreglass. It is Very Exciting to see all of these again and much more besides. 

This week I added to the collection with nineteen items shipped across from Japan, of formal and informal wear. The most stunning piece is a wedding gown with gold thread embroidery, printed cranes and flowers, but there are also obi, the tie sashes for kimonos, haori jackets and komonos themselves. The picture at the top of this page is that kimono and some others, hanging alongside Atlas silk from Uzbekistan and a Korean national dress. 

If you would like to make an appointment to see the fabrics, costumes and textiles please email and we will be happy to arrange a time. Better set aside a few hours and bring a sketchbook, crayons, pencils and paints. There is  something to inspire new designs and colours for everyone in our collection.