Textile tale archive

Submit   View Tube Workshops   About me   our patterned hand workshop   Rosetta Arts Centre   Hackney Museum   Rich Mix   

I am collecting textiles that tell stories in and around East London, particularly in Hackney and around the Olympic site in Stratford. I am looking for fabrics that carry stories about people and the community as I believe they will reveal something extraordinary. The stories may come from a favourite t-shirt, dress, hat or scarf, a tablecloth, a handkerchief, a tie or bedding. The fabric can be new, old, found, donated; handmade or bought the story can be big or small. Basically you can put any fabric in the archive as long as you share its history.

Please submit some fabric to the archive along with your story and follow this blog to see what is revealed. I am hoping that all the fabric and peoples stories can be displayed together locally for everyone can enjoy. I look forward to your contributions.

Blanket

“I haven’t seen it in a while, so I guess I am re-familiarizing myself with it. Its fleecy one one side and kind of silky on the other side, so I guess I always kind of liked the way it felt against my skin on either side, it was cozy and slinky. It has a pattern, a kind of classic English style I suppose, purple, blue and pinky flowers and as a child I used to imagine that I could pick these fruits or berries off the plants. I think they were red and white toadstools sort of like the gummy bears or smurfs, As a child I used to like counting coins, 2ps and 1ps and I think I liked collecting and sorting and gathering, I imagine in my mind I was putting them in kind of basket. It looks less vibrant than it did, but I can see why it could sparked my imagination in that way, it has a kind of depth to it, vines and flowers that you can kind of imagine putting your hand into and getting something from. The memory is suspect in my mind now, how I was thinking about it then is hard to get my head around. It feels a bit, well not as comfortable as I remember, I can see here it says filled with polyester and it seems a bit gross now, bit as kid I really liked it.”

— 1 year ago
 “ It has gone away with me everywhere I’ve ever gone, I’ve never washed it, so its kind of filthy and really worn down. Its always at the bottom of my suitcase or backpack, it never comes out, but I know its always there. It keeps me company, I do quite a lot of travelling on my own and I wouldn’t be able to do it without my little blue rabbit. It doesn’t even have a name. Maybe it represents home and my family. Its only sentimental in a certain respect, I mean I don’t really care about it, its not personified or anything, it doesn’t have a name , I don’t hug it or anything.”

 “ It has gone away with me everywhere I’ve ever gone, I’ve never washed it, so its kind of filthy and really worn down. Its always at the bottom of my suitcase or backpack, it never comes out, but I know its always there. It keeps me company, I do quite a lot of travelling on my own and I wouldn’t be able to do it without my little blue rabbit. It doesn’t even have a name. Maybe it represents home and my family. Its only sentimental in a certain respect, I mean I don’t really care about it, its not personified or anything, it doesn’t have a name , I don’t hug it or anything.”

— 1 year ago
Hello Jess
It was good to meet you  today at the Olympic Park and to see your map.  I’ve given you my story, which may or may not be relevant as it is about wall charts at a school in Kenya (the Aquinoe Learning Centre) and how the staff make do with whatever materials are available and embroider their own educational designs. 
Jean

Hello Jess

It was good to meet you  today at the Olympic Park and to see your map.  I’ve given you my story, which may or may not be relevant as it is about wall charts at a school in Kenya (the Aquinoe Learning Centre) and how the staff make do with whatever materials are available and embroider their own educational designs. 

Jean

— 1 year ago
Thanks everyone to contributing to the map, I am looking to get it displayed somewhere soon.

Thanks everyone to contributing to the map, I am looking to get it displayed somewhere soon.

— 2 years ago
Textile archive

Textile archive

— 2 years ago

Thanks to everyones contributions, I am slowly building up ideas from everyones stories, using quotes from the transcriptions and photographs as well as trying to make objects that talk about significant themes that are emerging. Two things I have done is map the stories and create a mini archive to help me categorise the stories. I will keep adding posts of what I am up to as I go. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions or would like me to change anything.

Thanks to everyones contributions, I am slowly building up ideas from everyones stories, using quotes from the transcriptions and photographs as well as trying to make objects that talk about significant themes that are emerging. Two things I have done is map the stories and create a mini archive to help me categorise the stories. I will keep adding posts of what I am up to as I go. Please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions or would like me to change anything.

— 2 years ago
Finishing

Years I go I left my country and I come to this one from the West Indies and I start to do sewing, they call it finishing, you know sewing buttons on, hemming and thing, now- a-days machines do everything, so now no job. I do a bit for myself, a hobby. That shows you how things are changing it was basic sewing and they do the interlocking and the buttons, its quick and cheaper now. 

— 2 years ago
textile quilt

In April in 2009 I lost my job and that enabled my to read local publications with a different pair of eyes as Ii was available in the day. And I read about a quilting workshops and I thought it was going to be lessons, but when I got there is was actually a group for people with special needs and they needed volunteers. That is where I met a very special woman and this was more than quilting, she had printed photographs and people were embroidering. The group was really broad, people with special needs and various adults with learning difficulties and we worked on flags that were all sewed together to make one big art work. The flags were all sewn together, I decided to do an Irish flag for my dad, green velvet for the green, and white crochet colour (like Irish dancers) and I had crocheted for 20 years, so that introduced me to that and so I have taken that up again, on the gold I decided to embroider a Celtic cross, but I wanted the Olympic motto in Gaelic; faster, stronger higher (Olympic legacy) I had to asked my friend as I don’t speak Irish. The funny thing is because I hadn’t finished it before the 6 weeks was up, I had to deliver it to the greenway centre. As I walking from my car, I was thinking green, white and gold, green, white and gold and I look down and my flag and I’ve done gold, white and green and the writing was upside down. So I had to unpick and do it again as it couldn’t possibly go up like that.

— 2 years ago
Flag story

I don’t have it anymore, but we had ships flag, we had four items from that ship, it was a ship that went up and down the Thames and round the South East coast. The ships clock, the ships wheel (which we still have) and the two textiles items which were the bowler hat from the captain and the ships flag, which we don’t have anymore. I think it was a company embalm, and the hat was in a really bad state which is perhaps why we don’t have anymore. But the clock we have in the kitchen and we are currently getting it repaired. My dad was in the navy in the second world war, but this was relevant to his business, he was in engineering and marine salvage. 

— 2 years ago
   I once got a dress designed and had it made, this designer she makes dresses and she’s been in lots of magazines. I explained it, then she just sketched it and its exactly right. It’s amazing I wear it for special occasions and performing on stage.

I once got a dress designed and had it made, this designer she makes dresses and she’s been in lots of magazines. I explained it, then she just sketched it and its exactly right. It’s amazing I wear it for special occasions and performing on stage.

— 2 years ago
   When I was back home in Dominica, I was mostly gardening and looking after food and that, and in the evenings we had classes, some making bread, some making clothes and I thought I better take part, but I used to look in the windows and they would say ‘come in, come in’ and I said ‘no, no’. I was the mother, looking after my brothers and sisters, but after that we had night school and they showed us lots of things, but I forget all about it and now I reach this age and I start to do my knitting, I have started knitted, but I can’t follow pattern. I just take the needles and go. And see what happens. They don’t have styles. Every day I wear different ones, I have 2 friends from Ireland and on Sundays, they say they are not sure its me as I always have different hat, I can’t make them for other people, just for me, especially when I have that bumpy hair.

When I was back home in Dominica, I was mostly gardening and looking after food and that, and in the evenings we had classes, some making bread, some making clothes and I thought I better take part, but I used to look in the windows and they would say ‘come in, come in’ and I said ‘no, no’. I was the mother, looking after my brothers and sisters, but after that we had night school and they showed us lots of things, but I forget all about it and now I reach this age and I start to do my knitting, I have started knitted, but I can’t follow pattern. I just take the needles and go. And see what happens. They don’t have styles. Every day I wear different ones, I have 2 friends from Ireland and on Sundays, they say they are not sure its me as I always have different hat, I can’t make them for other people, just for me, especially when I have that bumpy hair.

— 2 years ago
I have always loved sewing and when I was growing up if I lost the needle, I had to get the next one, I was always making something with my hands. I have learnt to sew through different people. I went to a class that was run by the school. A bit of tailoring and I learnt to do things by watching. So I have been sewing now for quite a while. I make costumes, we have a group and we sit, tell stories and dance. So I sew for the ladies and men, we use different colours from the West Indies. This colour is Domican Republic ad St Lucia, but you can’t get the fabric here, I have to get it sent over. We dance a cultural dance, different from here, not reggae, the songs tell stories from the West Indies.

I have always loved sewing and when I was growing up if I lost the needle, I had to get the next one, I was always making something with my hands. I have learnt to sew through different people. I went to a class that was run by the school. A bit of tailoring and I learnt to do things by watching. So I have been sewing now for quite a while. I make costumes, we have a group and we sit, tell stories and dance. So I sew for the ladies and men, we use different colours from the West Indies. This colour is Domican Republic ad St Lucia, but you can’t get the fabric here, I have to get it sent over. We dance a cultural dance, different from here, not reggae, the songs tell stories from the West Indies.

— 2 years ago