On speaking with Stef Miero at Textiel Lab, the other areas that are key to the museum are the laser cutter which is a tool of increased interest and demand. The knitting area which had a range of small circular knitting devices and several long knit machines and tubular yarn machine. Again all were in use and there were lots of examples of completed commissions alongside the machines to show visitors what was possible and the range of work that is done within the Lab.
|circular knitting machines.|
I was intrigued by the tufting area as I haven’t seen carpet looms up close before. The walls were shelved with cones and cones of wool of a myriad of hues, a perfect palette of shading from one colour to the next. Samples of what was possible were on the loom and along the side of the space. Once again the visitor was encouraged to look, engage and touch. This approach enables visitors to have a greater understanding of the textile and the maker and the skills and time needed to create.
There is a printed textiles area but there was a fine layer of dust around all the equipment. This was a skill that hasn’t been in such demand so for the moment is moth balled, showing the importance of adaptability and maximising resources.
|explanation of manufacture|
The other area that made me think of making and looking at new ways to work was the passementerie. Located at the back of Gallery 2, near the finishing machines, it included a range of small braiding machines and large braiding looms. The diversity of threads that could be used and the potential to create new textures, properties and opportunities for braid was exciting. I began leaping into hat making and creating new braid to replace straw which is difficult to obtain. The joy of museum and archive inspiration. Something new drawn from reflecting on past heritage, creating new possibilities.