Gawthorpe Textiles Collection shares stories of how textile making has helped us through the pandemic
Textile artist Ruth Singer has created an ebook and podcast exploring textile making during the pandemic lockdown in 2020
The community around textiles is truly unique. It is built upon our passion for cloth, thread and fibre and meeting in gatherings, collective making and events where we share, talk, touch and experience textiles in all their forms. No other craft form is shared by so many in varied ways. Lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic, isolation and the closure of the spaces we normally gather in has been painful and challenging to many of us, particularly for those who normally make textiles in groups and social settings. We have missed that welcoming space of sharing, making and connecting through textiles. This research project explores and celebrates the power of textile making to soothe and replenish and to bring people together separately but in collective spirit.
Gawthorpe Textiles Collection, as a museum of textiles, felt that it was important to capture and record the impact of the pandemic on individuals and organisations involved in textile art and craft.
As part of a grant received from the Arts Council England Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, textile artist Ruth Singer was commissioned to gather experiences and thoughts of textile makers. Through surveys and conversations, Ruth has created a digital archive, an ebook and a podcast sharing some of the many stories of hope and challenge experienced by textile hobby makers and textile professionals. There are tales of creative block and inspiration, making PPE and collaborating remotely on joint quilts and shared projects, as well as reflections on mental health and wellbeing reflected in our textile making. We have recorded the struggles of businesses and workshop leaders to continue to trade while we are unable to come together.