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Manchester Antique Textile Fair

Sun 6th March 2011

Armitage Centre
Fallowfield, Manchester, M14 6HE



The Manchester Antique Textile Fair continued to attract people from far afield. This year saw dealers traveling from Europe, Japan and Uzbekistan to sell a wide range of textiles and accessories. With the continuing trend for recycling and up cycling, this kind of fair will continue to be a major inspiration for collectors, and in particular, for students and designers, as the historical and vintage pieces inform future design.

Speaking to the trade, they were particularly impressed with the knowledge of visitors who both appreciated the quality and history of the items, and were able to discuss the process involved in making and producing. Many dealers felt the atmosphere of the fair was particularly vibrant, and enjoyed both the buoyant selling and the interaction with an informed public. This seems to be a quality that is unique to The Textile Society Antique fair and one we hope to maintain.

This year we were able to hold the talks in Studio B on the ground floor. This left more space for the guilds and societies upstairs and provided a dedicated area for talks and discussion. Professor Lubainia Himid opened the talks with a fascinating account of her current work at Platt Hall. This was very well received, and we could certainly have listened to her speak for longer. It was lovely to hear of the work of the Nepalese Children’s Trust, and the final talk by artist Tabitha Moses provided an insightful account into her use of found objects, inspired by vintage textiles and artefacts.

Graduate showcase

This year saw the 2nd graduate showcase, with 4 of last years graduate winners all talking about their ideas, practice and how the bursaries have helped them progress. The main thrust of the fair is to raise money for the bursary, and it is exciting to see how and where the money is allocated. The audiences were very appreciative and the Textile Society continues to offer excellent talks, these are provided in addition to the fair and are free to attend. They add value to the day, encouraging the combination of academic with historical and contemporary.

The Manchester Fair continues to go from strength to strength, described by a number of dealers as their ‘best fair ever’, and we are all very much looking forward to 2012, which will be the 20th Anniversary!