Issue 44 Legacy
January/ February 2012
IT'S THE START OF A NEW YEAR and plenty of people (your gym included) will be trying to convince you that this time is all about looking forward, making changes, striding boldly into the future.
But we’ve decided to pause instead and take a moment to reflect on the importance of the past. We’ve decided to look at the people that form us and the skills, the technologies that help us function.
You could say our New Year’s resolution is to try and take nothing for granted. That’s certainly something Ptolemy Mann has vowed after her computerised loom broke down and she had to go Back to Manual. Gratitude for the things we have, for the ease of our existence, springs to mind after reading Carol Outram’s account of the ingenuity and skill of the Canadian Aboriginal Peoples, and their ability to cope with extreme temperatures. And if that sounds too hard, Joe Lewis takes us on a tour of the more habitable regions of Canada, and the traditional textiles to be found there...
There are things in life that we carry with us, weightless gifts such as good advice, confidence and inspiration. Some of this comes from our parents but, if you are fortunate, they will be reinforced by a special teacher or mentor. June Hill looks at the careers of some of the finest textile teachers of the last eighty years. Many students they inspired went on to inspire others through education or by example – teaching (and learning) is a kind of relay race, the baton is passed from generation to generation.
A passion for education is not confined to the classroom, we also look at the career of Derek and Brenda Rawnsley, founders of School Prints Ltd. This young couple were determined to bring contemporary art to children who had no other opportunity to see it. The desire to share knowledge was part of a general desire for improvement in the days that followed the Second World War – in Scotland J & P Coats were building their Needlework Development Scheme.
An air of optimism would be welcome in 2012 so this issue we look at what Gillian Newberry, of Bennsion fabrics, calls “beauty in the third age” and the signs that the fashion industry is accepting greater diversity when it comes to age. From Markos Dutka’s images of Daphne Self in his Portrait of Genius, to the work 80-year-old model Carmen Dell’Orefice. We also look at designers whose demure creations, offer more than the chance to showcase ‘washboard abs’ – fashion that makes it irrelevant whether or not you find time for the gym – that’s one recipe for a Happy New Year!
Polly Leonard, Founder