Give me work to last me all my days is a quote from the artist Rob Ryan. It is a plea not a grumble, and counteracts work’s somewhat negative image in the popular psyche. Perhaps it is only when we are not able to work that we fully appreciate its value. Once again, work (especially manual labour) is a political hot potato. In this issue we explore all aspects of work including what we wear to work as well as its benefits.

There is a lot of research on the health benefits of craftwork, and we explore this further in our Craft Spa symposium in collaboration with London Craft Week.

The spiraling cost of higher education is prompting young people to find alternative ways of acquiring skills.

We are seeing a movement towards rejecting the desktop in favour of the workbench which brings us back to our past, and we examine the apprenticeship scheme set up after the First World War to support returning soldiers at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh. We also speak to Mario Sierra who is successfully reviving a company set up by his grandmother half a century ago. Our few remaining factories are precious resources, with only 33 active mills in the UK.

In the USA, Chris Payne has captured today’s mills beautifully. It is interesting to note that less than a decade and a half ago when Selvedge was launched, the word selvedge had been generally abandonded, left to a specialist lexicon. Now it has re-emerged in a super cool form. I am impressed by the variety of textiles observed by Jane Brocket in 20th century paintings of workwear, from denim and moleskin to smocks worn by farmers and fashion’s elite. 

Polly Leonard, Founder & Editor of Selvedge Magazine

Extract from issue 75 Endeavour. Get 50% off during our back issue sale when you buy 2 or more issues. To redeem offer, please use code JANUARY at checkout. Shop the Selvedge archive here

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