Irene Griffin is the Senior Technical Instructor for Mixed Media and Natural Dyes.
In today’s world of mass-produced ‘fast’ fabrics it seems really important to keep connected to historic and traditional textile processes. To me they are as indicative of a nation’s creative identity as their language, food and architecture. In the last couple of years my knowledge of textiles from other countries has increased, as I’ve been lucky enough to do a bit of travelling. During my visits I’ve actively sought the cloth, embroidery and anything textile related that represents each place and been pleasantly surprised most times. From iconic Icelandic jumpers in Reykjavik to the florid bejewelled evening gowns I saw in Palermo – one thing became clear – each nation has its own version of ‘ornament’ – a pattern language that speaks through fibre and craft.
One common ‘thread’ I found on my travels was lace. Decorative, time-consuming and costly when hand-made, over time machinery has found a way to replicate the dainty intricacies of this famously feminine fabric trim.