Textile Fair 2017

A one day celebration of all things textiles including talks, activities, exhibitions, shopping, Collection visits and a pop up cafe!

Sunday 7th May
10am – 4pm
Braintree Town Hall, Warner Textile Archive and Braintree District Museum

Advance tickets: £6
On the day tickets: £7
Under 16’s free of charge

Advance tickets are available from www.wegottickets.com or directly through the Archive. To avoid any booking fees order directly through the Archive by calling 01376 557741.

Talks Programme

2:oo pm –  ‘How to build a Cloth Mill’ 
Join Daniel Harris, founder of the London Cloth Company as he explains how he started London’s first micro mill.


12:30 pm – ‘From Spitalfields to Sudbury: An Exhibition on Historic Silk at Gainsborough’s House’ 
In this talk, Keeper of Art & Place Louisa Brouwer will give a behind-the-scenes introduction to the upcoming summer exhibition at Gainsborough’s House on historic silk (17 June – 8 October 2017). The first of its kind to celebrate Sudbury’s important silk heritage, this exhibition will explore the history of silk in England from the 18th century to the present day, focussing on the diaspora of silk manufacture from Spitalfields in London to Sudbury in Suffolk. Featuring a dazzling array of objects from both local and national collections, this talk will delve into the stories told by what’s on show in the exhibition – from brocaded silk shoes made by Huguenot weavers to rare 19th-century pattern books.

11:30 am – ‘The Button Box’
Author Lynn Knight will be talking about her new book ‘The Button Box’; a story of women in the 20th century, told through the clothes they wore.

‘I used to love the rattle and whoosh of my grandma’s buttons as they scattered from their Quality Street tin. An inlaid wooden chesBook covert the size of a shoe box holds Lynn Knight’s button collection. A collection that has been passed down through three generations of women: a chunky sixties-era toggle from a favourite coat, three tiny pearl buttons from her mother’s first dress after she was adopted as a baby, a jet button from a time of Victorian mourning. Each button tells a story.
‘They change our view of the world and the world’s view of us’ said Virginia Woolf of clothes. The Button Box traces the story of women at home and in work from pre-First World War domesticity, through the first clerical girls in silk blouses, to the delights of beading and glamour in the thirties to short skirts and sexual liberation in the sixties.’

‘An ingenious tour of domestic and social history over the last century’ – Guardian
‘A sweeping look at how women’s clothing has developed as our place in society has evolved…
A delight’ – Independent
‘These buttons…tell an intimate story of changing times’ – Sunday Telegraph


East for the website‘Following a Thread’ is the brand new exhibition by East Anglian Stitch Textiles (E.A.S.T) and will be on display at Braintree District Museum for you to enjoy.

The exhibition returns to the group’s more regular format of encouraging each member to follow their own creative journey and develop individual themes that are both meaningful and reflect the considerations that slowly unfold during an extended period of research and contemplation.

As is expected, the individual will determine their own outcomes but common key themes often begin to emerge. Our surroundings are always a strong influence and landscapes influenced from locations as varied as the Outer Hebrides, Turkey, Iceland, Dorset and Suffolk are powerful starting points for some of the E.A.S.T members.

For others, ideas of a more personal nature are explored. The ever unfolding landscape of family relationships, self-discovery and a journey through serious illness and thankful recovery are emotive subjects.

Historical records and the creative writings of authors such as Virginia Woolf provide the exploratory threads for two of the E.A.S.T members.

 The exciting and seemingly endless range of textile media ensures that this exhibition will contain not only a diversity of ideas but also a wide range of materials and skills utilised to produce work to its highest standard as is now anticipated from this flourishing group.

There are no limits to artistic creative interpretation and “Following a Thread….” explores many of these within the exciting dimension of textile art.

‘OASIS at the Archive’


‘OASIS at the Archive’ is a chance to see the highly successful collaboration between OASIS and the Warner Textile Archive alongside the original fabrics.

Stall Holders 

We are delighted to welcome the following stall holders across two floors in the glorious Braintree Town Hall.

Stall holders

21st Century Yarns – hand-dyed yarns, threads, fabrics and designs for all creative textile artists
And Sew On – wide range of fabrics ranging from patchwork to furnishing, as well as haberdashery from a family run shop
Changs –  hand dyed indigo fabric and textile products
Colouricious – block printing specialists for paper crafts, scrapbooking and textile art
Flextiles – textile artist specialising in felting, indigo, natural dyes, ecoprinting and shibori
Gillian Loader – vintage fabric and haberdashery
John Gillow – Asian and African textiles
Lingards Fabrics – fabrics for a variety of projects
Rebeccas Aix – antique & vintage linens & textiles. Vintage Indian kantha throws & quilts
Sconch – knitting yarn and wool, patterns, needles and other knitting and crochet supplies
Stitch Fabrics (Rosenburg’s) – a range of dress, quilting, patchwork materials, silks and wool
Teresa Ward – vintage fabric, lace and haberdashery
The Textile Garden – high quality buttons, made of every conceivable material, also ribbons, braids, shawl pins and brooches. Carefully sourced and fashion focused.
The Silk Route – range of undyed silk fabrics, suitable for painting, dyeing as well as the more traditional use of fabrics
Vanners – locally produced silk from the prolific Sudbury weavers (please note Vanners will be at the Archive, not the Town Hall)

Activities & Demonstrations


Saori Weaving at the Warner Textile Archive
Join Kim from the Saori Shed and try your hand at Saori Weaving! Saori Weaving is a freestyle weaving technique with no rights or wrongs. It is a truly joyful technique encouraging freestyle weaving without patterns. Saori places more importance on free expression and creativity than it does on technical skills or regularity of the woven cloth. Irregular selvedges and accidental skips of thread add to the un-programmed beauty of Saori cloths;  this irregularity is admired as ‘the beauty with lack of intention’ resulting from our natural creativity.

Mono Printing Workshop at Braintree District Museum
Join East Anglian Stitch Textiles (E.A.S.T) for their free drop in mono printing workshop in the John Ray Gallery. They will also be in the gallery with their sketch books to talk to anyone interested in their works and current exhibition.

Children’s Activities
Join the team at Braintree District Museum to make dream catchers and fabric animals in the Victorian Classroom.

Collection Store Visits 

AHelmsley fabric behind-the-scenes look at some of the Archive’s exquisite Collection of over 100,000 items. Join us on one of these special visits as we explore some of the Archive’s geometric designs.

With a focus on The Festival of Britain we will be looking at how the ‘Festival Pattern Group’ was set up to promote new design in textiles and furnishings, a group Warner & Sons were a part of this along with many other companies. As a starting point for these new designs were images of molecules obtained by X-ray Crystallography, the symmetry and repeating patterns of which were ideal for textile designers. During the Textile Fair Collection Visits we will be looking at some of the designs produced, including ‘Helmsley’, a power woven cotton designed by Marianne Straub from the X-ray crystallography image of the structure of Nylon. This fabric was used for furnishing in the restaurant at the Festival of Britain site.

Join us for the free Collection Visits at the Fair to discover more.

Collection Store Visits will take place at the following times:
10:45 am
11:20 am
12 noon
2:00 pm
2:45 pm
3:30 pm



Our popular pop up tearoom at Braintree Town Hall will be serving delicious homemade refreshments throughout the Fair.

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