Textile conservation workshop. | Knutsford Times

Textile conservation workshop.

By on May 31, 2009

The Heritage Centre is still buzzing after another successful May Day celebration and the launch of the very special ‘Dressing the May Queen’ exhibition currently wowing visitors of all ages with a unique display of original dresses and crowns. This all links in with the Three Shires Textile Festival taking place throughout Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire during July www.textilefestival.com

The theme continued at the Centre on Monday 11th May when volunteers, Friends and Committee members and those involved with setting up the exhibition had a wonderful and rare opportunity to learn about textile conservation at a day workshop, funded by the lottery grant, given by local expert, Jacqueline Hyman. 

With a degree in Textile Design from Leeds University she received textile conservation training from the North of England Museums Service but, in 1982, Jacqueline chose to set up her own Studio offering specialist conservation services to the private and public sector. 

She has given lectures throughout the country to various organisations including Embroiderers’Guilds, NADFAS and Antique Collectors’ Clubs and has contributed to a number of television and radio programmes and writes articles…as if all this was not enough she has a husband, who also fully involved in the Studio, 2 sons and the usual domestic and family distractions.

So we were delighted that Jacqueline found time to introduce us to the fascinating world of textile restoration.  She has a very engaging enthusiasm and a relaxed style, carefully explaining the painstaking detail of the work involved with some excellent slides.

She told us of her work on such varied items as eccliastical textiles, a banner from the Battle of Culloden in 1746 now hanging in Berkley Castle in Gloucestershire to ancient christening gowns (damaged by a dog!), beautiful faded samplers and intricate lacework. A barely recogniseable and badly burnt genuine Indian headdress looked stunning after Jacqui’s magical treatment.

The day was packed with a mass of absorbing information from the basics of textile identification, description, dating, fabric composition, construction, trimmings, dyes, Current condition damage, missing parts and that’s only the beginning…

What is conservation? 
The item is to be stabilised and deterioration minimised. Document the condition and the work that has taken place.

What is restoration? 
Restoring an item to its former glory, if possible, using materials and techniques available at that time. History and provenance are thoroughly checked.  Now you know..

We had a break for lunch (thanks to The Courtyard Café for delicious sandwiches and cakes)   Jacqui was kind enough to look at and advise on some items we had brought along.

In the afternoon we learnt about cleaning, labelling, protecting from damage, display, storage and environment…if you need any items for your own restoration work then Jacqui’s company will be happy to help and advise. www.restore-products.co.uk

Please support the Three Shires Festival and visit a museum, a church or historic country house or some of the huge variety of events taking place this summer Then think of Jacqui Hyman (catch her at Capesthorne Hall for a Textile Study Day on 13th July and at Congleton Town Hall on July 18th 10am – 4pm) and all the other  experts who spend many hours caring and restoring textiles for our delight and pleasure. Enjoy!


About Val Dawson

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