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The Fabric(ation) of India

FOI build 4 - Copy

I must begin with an apology for our collective silence last week.  It really is ‘all hands to the pump’ at this stage of exhibition delivery.  This is not to say we’d forgotten you.  Quite the contrary – in between running around and solving all the little hiccups – Exhibition Manager, Olivia Oldroyd (whose safety […]

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The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 177


The Tower of Babel – Shop of the Day 177 Textiles and Fabric in East London – Middlesex St, E1. It used to be called Petticoat Lane, hence the name of the market there. Spitalfields’ historic association with the silk industry was established by French Protestant (Huguenots) refugees who settled in this area after the […]

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Slippery Sari Sagas and Delightful Draping


Here in Textile Conservation we are just over half way through mounting the garments for display in The Fabric of India. A few weeks ago, our studio was all a-flurry with the unwrapping of mannequins and the speedy draping of a collection of stunning and vibrant contemporary saris for publication photography. That was by no […]

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Ducklings in the digital age – and Indian textiles…

square duck

You may or may not be aware that the V&A currently has a family of ducks living in the central courtyard.  Mummy duck, Victoria, and her brood of little ducklings are currently attracting more attention than any single object in the V&A (you can watch them dabbling around here) – perhaps rivalling even the exquisitely crafted and […]

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Location Scout III: Sparkle and shine

Meharban Khan doing gota work in the workshop on his roof

So here is one final post from my trip to India last month. I was in pursuit of locations to film hand embroidery in progress and visited a variety of workshops.  Many of these also specialised in applying a range of embellishments to fabrics in order to create the highly decorative garments favoured across India. […]

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Location Scout: The Khadi weavers of Kaladera

Khadi cotton being woven on the loom

This post has been a little delayed owing to a gastric souvenir that I have bought back from my recent trip to India (not charming and you’ll be grateful that I have no plan to expand further on this point).  The visit was ostensibly a holiday to visit family there, but being in the right […]

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‘Textiles for every use’

Rickshaw in Jaipur

During my recent visit to India I was searching for handmade textiles and I found them in all sorts of places. My rickshaw driver in Jaipur was very proud of his kantha embroidered seat covering and the mirror-work panels in the back. However, I was of-course confronted by the very opposite of handmade – lots of […]

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In Bhuj

Aziz Khatri (left) Suleman Khatri (right) with father and young Mohammed. Dyeing vat in the background.  (copyrigth Divia Patel)

I was in Bhuj last week, not because I was hiding from the police, but because I was in search of interesting textiles. Sorry – I really couldn’t help that reference to the film, In Bruges, but as you might imagine, being in Bhuj, Gujarat, is very different from being in Bruges, Belgium. Bhuj is […]

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Week 24: Sit Down and Sew

© The T/Shirt Issue

The interface we use to stiffen the fabric serves as the backbone of the eventual piece, making all the difference in its precision. How many hands does it take to translate thousands of laser-cut polygons onto fabric? Well, at least an extra 10. A few to iron the interface onto the jersey, a few more […]

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My Own Dear Lace

Artificial heather flower, from a spray used on a bonnet in Princess Beatrice's trousseau

129 years ago today, Princess Beatrice, the beloved daughter of Queen Victoria, married Prince Henry of Battenberg. Princess Beatrice was the youngest of Victoria and Albert’s nine children. Her mother became increasingly dependent on her after the death of her father in 1861, when Beatrice was only four years old. While her siblings were strategically […]

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