Company Profile: Pink House by Rebecca Cole

Pink House by Rebecca Cole collection is championing the traditions of Aso-oke hand weaving in the Yoruba region of Nigeria to the Interior Design Industry. The influx of cheap, imported textiles and mass-produced European style clothing has drastically diminished the artisan weaving industry in Nigeria leaving fewer weaving communities able to make a living from their craft.

By taking an innovative approach to using the beautiful striped and patterned woven strips, as a form of passementerie for interior design, textile designer Rebecca Cole has identified a way to support the traditions of weaving that she first encountered in the 1990’s.

Whilst on an introductory visit to her husband’s family in Nigeria “I fell in love with not only the magic of Nigeria but also the sense of heritage and family contained in the textiles that had been created and safeguarded by my mother-in-law from every family event. There is family history attached to each piece of As0-oke she has kept.”

The traditions of Yoruba weaving date back to the 10th and 12th Century in Nigeria. The Aso-oke cloth is traditionally woven by men in the Southwestern region of Nigeria on horizontal looms. As early as the 17th Century, Aso-oke cloth was recorded as a valuable trading commodity with the British. Continue reading →

Online Exhibition: Material Textile | Modern British Female Designers

Material: Textile is an online exhibition of historically important and highly collectable textiles by some of the most important Modern female designers working in Britain. Brought together for the first time – and offered as an online and virtual exhibition by The Messums Wiltshire, with an accompanying catalogue and podcast – the exhibition highlights the relevance of these mid-century textiles and the vital role they played in the evolution of taste and culture. It offers us all a unique insight into the artistic vision and originality of these women.

Britain’s history is intricately woven together with the history of textiles and never more so than following the Second World War. This exhibition celebrates the bold vision of the leading lights of 1950s – 70s textile design and introduces their iconic work to new collectors.

Throughout the period the designs created by an inspired group of women artists including Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Jacqueline Groag, and later Barbara Brown and many more, brought modern and contemporary art into the home, making it quite literally a part of the furniture.

Many of the textiles on show – produced by Heals, David Whitehead and Hull Traders – sit within collections including The V&A and The Whitworth. They have also featured in exhibitions worldwide in recent years and in publications on the history of the evolution of textiles and the textile industry, and our catalogue includes essays by preeminent historians Lesley Jackson and Mary Schoeser.

Text & Images: Messums Wiltshire website. Top image: Calyx Blue, 1951, Lucienne Day. Bottom image: Mezzanine Yellow, 1958,Lucienne Day

Awards: Cockpit Arts | Currently on hold – see below for details

Cockpit Arts currently has four Awards open for application for talented makers to join the Cockpit Arts community. Each of these Awards will provide a subsidised or free space to a Maker, and this round has two open discipline Awards so it really is open to everyone. Currently these awards are on hold due to Covid 19 – they will reopen once the situation has changed but please continue to register your interest by emailing Maxine Clark maxine@cockpitarts.com

There are no age limits or educational requirements (except for the Clothworkers’ Award) they just want to see craft skill and a real drive to turn their passion into their professional business.

This Award round equates to approximately £19,000 worth of generous support from our funders and Cockpit are ready to match that and invest in 8 new Makers to join their community. Alongside the free or subsidised space they will receive a workshop programme tailored to Awardees and be assigned one of their in-house business coaches for regular 1 to 1 coaching.

All of the Awards are for at least 12 months, with the Clothworkers’ Award offering up to three years of support on a sliding scale.

Awards at Cockpit Arts open for application.

We are delighted to announce that there are  Cockpit Arts Awards now open for applications. All Awards comprise business support provided by Cockpit Arts as well as subsidised studio space for one year.

The Cockpit Arts / The Clothworkers’ Company Awards
Open to graduates within the last five years, these awards aim to assist weavers to set up in business. Weavers can be working in any form, for example, creating products; visual art; working with mills and making samples for industry.
Deadline for applications: 5pm, Tuesday 14 April 2020

The Cockpit Arts / Clear Insurance Award
Aims to support professional makers who have been in business for less than three years and aspire to develop their craft business in any craft discipline.
Deadline for applications: 5pm, Friday 17 April 2020

The Cockpit Arts / Newby Trust Craft Excellence Awards
Aims to support two makers to practice their individual craft at a key stage in their skill development, to grow as an independent maker and to support their craft business to achieve financial sustainability.
Deadline for applications: 5pm, Thursday 14 May 2020

Further details and application forms are available to download from their website – https://cockpitarts.com/awards-bursaries/, or please contact maxine@cockpitarts.com for further information or to express an interest.

Image: Jacob Monk

Exhibition | Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles

Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles tells the story of seven pioneering women who went against all established norms to create some of the richest, most diverse and global public collections in the UK today.

Textiles and costume give us a beautiful and intensely human insight into our history. Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles celebrates seven women who saw beyond the purely functional, to reveal the extraordinary artistic, social and cultural importance of textiles. From the exquisite anthropological collections of traditional Balkan costume by Edith Durham, to the ground-breaking contemporary South Asian collection of Nima Poovaya-Smith, these women defied the ‘traditional’ concept of collecting – an activity still more often associated with men – and forged the way for textiles as crucial documents of social history as well as works of art in their own right.

This major collaborative project explores the innovative approaches of Edith Durham (1863 – 1944), Louisa Pesel (1870 – 1947), Olive Matthews (1887 – 1979), Enid Marx (1902 – 1998), Muriel Rose (1897 – 1986), Jennifer Harris (working 1982 – 2016 at the Whitworth, University of Manchester) and Nima Poovaya-Smith (Senior Keeper International Arts 1985 – 1998, Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford), and presents the objects from a previously unexplored perspective, that of the female collector.

Unbound: Visionary Women Collecting Textiles includes sculptural 18th-century costume, intricately embroidered Balkan towels, headdresses and waistcoats, the 1920s and 1930s block printed fabrics of Barron and Larcher, as well as contemporary works: Alice Kettle’s huge machine embroidered panels Three Caryatids (1989 – 91), Yinka Shonibare’s 2007 copy of the last slave ship The Wanderer reimagined with ‘African’ batik fabric sails and Sarbjit Natt’s 1996 geometric patterned silk sari. These sit alongside archival photographs, sketchbooks and letters, many of which have never been shown in public. The exhibition looks at how these collections continue to influence us today and asks why textiles still have to fight for their place amongst the more established visual arts.

Continue reading →

Profile: Alicia Rowbotham

Alicia Rowbotham, a recent graduate of the BA (Hons) Textile Design course at Central Saint Martins is a designer amongst a growing group of emerging talent exploring the relevance of fast fashion against the environmental destruction it ensues.

Working within the fashion industry as a stylist for a leading online fashion retailer throughout her degree gave her great insight into the destructive cycle of fast fashion and disposable products. This provoked her to create the collection ‘Waste not, want not’.  The collection aims to emphasise and encourage collaboration between manufacturers and designers to harness the potential of textile mill waste and utilise this resource for the benefit of both the industry and the designer.

The collection consists of handwoven body adornments and fashion accessories made entirely from textile industry waste including reams of beautiful waste silk, miscellaneous fibres and ‘deadstock’ materials from textile mills in the UK.

The collection was shortlisted for the LVMH x MAISON/0 Green Trail awards 2019 as well as The Mills Fabrica sustainability prize 2019. The collection was then shown as part of the London Design festival exhibition ‘Designing in Turbulent Times’ amongst other provoking Central Saint Martin’s graduate projects. Rowbotham finished 2019 being featured as ‘one to watch’ in the winter issue of textile publication, Cover magazine.

Starting the new year, pieces from the ‘Waste not, Want not’ collection were showcased as part of the innovation hub in the Sustainable Angles 9th Future Fabrics Expo; the world’s largest showcase of sustainable materials for the future fashion industry.

Rowbotham continues to pursue her fascination for a more circular fashion and textile industry through the aid of craft and design working in collaboration with Evan James Design to create interior accessories for the Surface Design Show 2020. Continue reading →

Profile: Orkney Cloth Company

Orkney Cloth Company
Orkney had a rich heritage of textile weaving which had been lost for over 30 years, and the Orkney Cloth Company is hoping to revive it once again.

Weaving in Orkney completely disappeared in the mid-1970s, when the two mills, Argarden and Sclaters closed. Orkney’s cloth was once more renown than Harris Tweed, well regarded for its softness and lightness, and sold all over the world. Unlike Harris Tweed, without a well known tradition of weaving, Orkney tweed weavers were able to create new and contemporary designs, using bold accent colours.

However, by the mid-1970’s the industry had moved on, with the arrival of ready to wear garments and synthetic materials. Their reluctance to invest in wider looms meant that Harris Tweed had the competitive advantage, and both mills closed down.

The Orkney Cloth Company was started by India Johnson, who aims to revive the industry once again. After arriving in Orkney on a graduate weaving placement with ScotGrad and Orkney Creative Hub in October 2018, she began teaching hand weaving.

Continue reading →

Exhibition: Ruth Holt

Ruth Holt is based in  a studio in Halesworth, Suffolk.  Since 2012 she has exhibited regularly with Suffolk Craft Society and other galleries including the Scottish Gallery and Shipyard Gallery in Wivenhoe.

Ruth designed and then commissioned Whitchurch Silk Mill, a traditional Victorian Mill,  to weave cloth for a limited edition of scarves for the Society of Apothecaries (a City Livery Company). Continue reading →

Grants: The Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers

The Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers aim to encourage and support weavers in the United Kingdom to enjoy artistic freedom so that they may contribute to the development of handweaving and the education of future weavers.

Biennially they award grants to younger weavers in the early stages of their careers who show potential and commitment, as well as to more experienced weavers for a particular project or for time out to develop their work.

Those who have recently completed higher education need to have two years working experience before applying.

Grants are available to enable weavers to purchase equipment and materials; take a sabbatical to reassess the creative nature of their work; pursue a specific project; or develop in any other way approved by the Trustees.

Trust information
The Theo Moorman Trust for Weavers has been in existence since 1990 and aims to be a valuable resource for both young and experienced weavers. The Trustees want to ensure that the grants that are made enable individual weavers to maintain a high standard of work, and through this, to promote weaving as an art form.

Often a small grant can make all the difference at a key stage of development, by allowing time to think through ideas, train in a particular technique, or through the provision of a physical space or equipment. Short-listed applicants are interviewed, so that they can talk through their work in detail with Trustees.

Full details of the application process can be found on their grants page.

Grant details
Grants are awarded biennially.
The closing date for the next application is 1st March 2020.
Applications received after this date will not be considered.

Selection date: 9 March 2020 Interview date: 23 March 2020

Scholarship: Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) offers Scholarships of up to £18,000 for the training and education of talented craftspeople. They want to sustain vital skills in traditional and contemporary crafts and contribute to excellence in the British craft industry.

About the Scholarships
Who can apply?
Their QEST Scholarships fund the education and training of any individual UK resident, aged 17 or older, who would like to improve their craft skills.

What do they fund?
QEST funds traditional college courses, vocational training or one to one training with a master craftsperson.

They want to support excellence in British craftsmanship so are looking for established makers, planning to stay in the UK and contribute to the craft sector.

They encourage applications from a broad range of crafts and are excited by contemporary craftsmanship and innovative applications of traditional craft techniques. To see the types of craft they have funded, and the standard of excellence they are looking for please review their Alumni page.

In addition to training costs, they can cover costs directly related to your training such as transport, equipment, materials, accommodation and living costs as long as it is proportionate to the grant request. Continue reading →

Job: Hand Weaving Assistant | Araminta Campbell

Araminta Campbell
Embracing traditional craftsmanship and timeless design, Araminta Campbell create textiles that express Scotland’s natural beauty and weaving heritage.

As a small team of designers and artisans, they keep things personal and put quality at the heart of everything they do.

Their mission is to create beautiful products that stand the test of time as well as helping to sustain the traditional skills, rural suppliers and talented craftspeople of the British Isles.

From their weaving studio in Edinburgh they hand craft their Signature collection of British alpaca accessories as well as offering Minta, their contemporary interiors line and the Heritage bespoke tweed and tartan service. Continue reading →