Issue 28 Literary

£11.95 GBP

March/April 2009

I HAVE WRITTEN BEFORE about the relationship between text and textiles but remain intrigued by the textile terms, that have made their way into our everyday language. I have been looking forward to putting this issue together for some time. Even so I was surprised to discover the depth of the affinity textile people have for words, letters and literature. Overwhelmed by material we have already formulated a plan for our “Literary issue, Volume II” in the future.

This first foray seems to revolve around “Ladies of Letters” past and present. We had the good fortune to catch up with author Tracy Chevalier during a break in her schedule. She recently completed her latest book and had time to explain how her detailed historical novels, in particular her tale of The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries, take shape.

The painstaking task of reconstructing the modes and manners of the past is made possible by those who take the trouble to document their experiences in diaries and correspondence. The voice of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, is heard centuries later in her colourful descriptions of clothing in her Turkish Embassy Letters written during her tour of the East.

We don’t travel quite so far afield as Lady Montagu this issue, instead we cross to Ireland where we are guided by the eloquent and charming John Rocha, through the myriad of contemporary and historic Irish crafts. In this, the first of a series of journeys around the UK and Ireland, we are introduced to the work of Tim Ryan, Angela O’Kelly and Liz Nilsson who will be exhibiting at this year’s Collect for the first time.

At this time of year our attention also turns to new graduates. We highlight nine students from the Royal College of Art, who are tipping the gender balance and changing the way the department has traditionally worked. We want to wish all new graduates success in the future and hope to welcome all our readers to our stand at the New Designers’ exhibition in Islington in July, July 9-11 or at the Li Edelkoort presentation, sponsored by Selvedge.

Enjoy the spring bank holidays. Children and weather permitting, I plan to spread a blanket in the sun and open a good book – if you plan to be more adventurous you might be interested in our May Day suggestions.

Polly Leonard, Founder

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