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Leek embroidery

Two Cultures

Textile Society Conference and AGM 2009

25 Sep - 27 Sep 2009

Macclesfield, Cheshire


The conference theme of ‘Two Cultures’ is influenced by the work of Thomas Wardle. 2009 is the centenary of Wardle’s death and also the 50th anniversary of C P Snow’s influential Two Cultures.

The conference is timed to coincide with the exhibition: Dye, Print, Stitch: textiles by Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle, curated by the conference organiser, Dr Brenda King and showing at Macclesfield Silk Museum.

The conference features talks by Sonia Ashmore, Tricia Belford, Maxine Bristow, Alice Kettle and Richard de Peyer, who will explore the themes of Art and Science; Craft and Industry; Ancient and Modern; East and West.
Two of our most distinguished textile artists, who use stitch but in completely different ways, will explore aspects of their work. Alice Kettle, who is also a Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University, will discuss some past influences and bring us up to date with current work, which she is developing in conjunction with ceramic artists. Interestingly Alice acknowledges that some of her narrative work was clearly influenced by the copy of the Bayeux Tapestry that she saw in Reading Museum. This gives her a strong link to Elizabeth Wardle and the women of Leek who produced this historic piece.

Maxine Bristow, Reader at Chester University, will use the themes of East and West to talk about the Japanese exchange programme with which she was involved. Maxine will discuss the project with specific reference to the broader context of her own work. This includes ideas that she and Kyoko, her Japanese counterpart investigated and the specific content of the work they produced individually and together. We will hear about some wider observations about the exchange and cultural differences between British and Japanese textile artists.

Trish Belford was formerly a highly successful designer who produced textiles for the fashion industry from her own business in Cheshire. Trish is now a Research Fellow at the University of Ulster. In her talk ‘Innovative Textile Applications: Digital and Traditional: Industry and Academia’, she will use case studies, including ' TurnbullThompson digital weave' and 'Girli Concrete', to illustrate how she combines textile technologies with concrete in collaboration with the architect Ruth Morrow. Trish is also pushing forward a spin-out business - not as easy as it sounds-an exciting challenge linking a business idea to a university.

Dr. Sonia Ashmore is an historian and Research Fellow at the V & A. Sonia is currently working for the Indian Diaspora project. She will discuss the context to some important Indian textiles at South Kensington Museum in the 19th century, including Thomas Wardle's relationship with that institution.

Como-Macclesfield, old connections and new collections. Richard de Peyer, Director of Macclesfield Silk Museum will bring us up-to date with the active collaboration between silk manufacturers in Como Italy, and Macclesfield Museum’s pattern book collection. He will enlighten us about what it is that inspires Italian designers to produce new ranges of silks based on silks once manufactured in Macclesfield. The ‘Macclesfield Collection’ was launched in Florence and Paris Spring 2009.

Programme Details

Day One Friday Sept 25th
The Whittaker Room, The Heritage Centre, Roe Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 6UT
Morning. 10:00 -10:30 a.m. Registration

10:30. An introduction to the Work of Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle by Dr. Brenda King, author of the book and co-curator of the exhibition: Dye, Print, Stitch: textiles by Thomas and Elizabeth Wardle.

11.30 View exhibition at Macclesfield Silk Industry Museum, Park Lane, Macclesfield.

12:30 [lunch on the coach] Coach travel to Leek, Staffordshire [approx 15 miles] to view ecclesiastical embroideries by the Leek Embroidery Society, in the churches for which they were made.

Day Two Saturday, Sept 26th
The Whittaker Room, The Heritage Centre, Roe Street, Macclesfield, Cheshire, SK11 6UT
Registration 10-10:30
Chair Mary Schoeser, Hon President of the Textile Society.

10:30 Sonia Ashmore
11:15 Maxine Bristow
12:00 Alice Kettle

(Lunch included)

1:45 Textile Society AGM, or visit to exhibition.
2:30 Trish Belford
3:15 Richard de Peyer
4: 00 Discussion/conclusion Mary Schoeser

Day Three, Sunday Sept 27th
An opportunity to view pattern books from Macclesfield Silk Museum’s important collection. View exhibition and /or Paradise Mill, working silk museum.

Conference Rates

Introductory Lecture/exhibition £5
Tour of Leek Embroideries by coach £30/by car £25
Conference Dinner £18

Full, day including lunch £36

Macclesfield Pattern Books study session £5
Conference admission to Paradise Mill and exhibition sites £5


If you would like to attend the conference please click on the link at the side of the page for a booking form, in either Word or PDF format.

Alternatively, e-mail Brenda King chair@textilesociety.org.uk