Over the last two days I have managed to take in two more, very different textile events.
The first on Friday was a visit organised by the Essex branch of the ERTF, to visit an exhibition called "The Stuff that Matters". The exhibition was at 56 Artillery Row, Spitalfields, London in the Ravens Row Gallery (very close to Liverpool Street Station). Normally known for its contemporary art, historical textiles was a new venture for them. The items on show were varied and ranged from coptic pieces to 16-18th century silk woven fragments to African textiles and a collection of headdresses. One particularly stunning exhibit was a wall of decorated bark cloth (see below). The exhibition was completely free and there was a really interesting accompanying leaflet and catalogue that helped put the exhibition in context (also free).
Perhaps because it was a contemporary art gallery the works on show were displayed like pieces of art. Even the building was fascinating - it used to be the home of a couple of weaver/silk merchants.
They are quite happy for you to take photographs, as long as you avoid using flash.
The exhibition is on until early May - http://www.ravenrow.org/about/ for more information on the gallery, opening times and their current exhibition.
The second exhibition I visited was the Stitch and Craft Show, which I went to with my mum and sister. Although organised by the same company as the Knitting and Stitching Show (www.twistedthread.com) this is very much more a show for crafters and card makers. However it was a "family" day out and it did have some interesting stalls. One new supplier that really had some original items was Lisa Cresswell of Stealth Bunny Buttons (www.stealthbunny.co.uk). I almost missed my lunch chatting, but she really did have some interesting objects that she has made into buttons - or perhaps I should say embellishments - look out for her when she comes to the Knitting and Stitching Show in the autumn.