Textiles have an incredible power to talk to us, if we can hear them. They comfort and console us, create memories, define who we are and what we might believe in. They are a detective story that we can hold. Tales of Textiles, hosted by broadcaster and handweaver, Jo Andrews, are an invitation to explore a world of colour and touch and listen to the chatter of cloth.
A Feeling of Wealth
Cloth and wealth have gone hand in glove for much of history: where there are textiles there has almost always been money, and often lots of it. The Medicis of Florence started life as wool traders in Tuscany before they became bankers, popes, princes, and queens. It was wool that started them on a journey that saw them become the principal financiers of the Florentine Renaissance, they were the backers of almost everyone who mattered including Michaelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Botticelli, Raphael, Machiavelli, and Galileo and they weren’t the only ones.
This episode looks at why and how cloth and money have been inextricably linked throughout history. It unravels the story of how what we recognise as the consumer society and the capitalist system began largely with cloth trading. It looks at the times in which cloth itself has become a currency and uncovers some surprising links between textiles and banking that many have forgotten.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast and pictures of some of the work that is explored in this episode. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, and to have a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
Virginia Postrel’s book which was the principal inspiration for this podcast can be found at https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/haptic-hue-booklist, along with a number of other textile-related books that I have found interesting and enjoyable. It is hosted by a small independent shop in Dorset specialising in Nature and Story.
A Feeling of Sorrow
How cloth helps us grieve.
Sorrow is a universal human experience – whether it’s for a loved family member, for a way of life that once was, or for events that engulf nations and sweep away millions.
The episode looks at how textiles are an essential part of the process of grieving, and how they bring us comfort and help us deal with deeply felt emotions. It looks at the special place cloth plays in mourning a much-loved father, the loss of a child or partner in political repression, or how they can help us commemorate those who were victims of appalling events like the Holocaust.
The issues this episode deals with are not easy, but in one form or another, sorrowing is something all of us will do in our lives, especially as we come out of a pandemic that has claimed millions around the world.
With thanks in this episode to Caren Garfen, whose stitched work on the Holocaust is enormously powerful, to Deborah Stockdale at the Centre for Conflict Textiles in Northern Ireland and to Judith Staley of Sew Over 50 for sharing the memory aprons, she made to remember her Dad.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast, and pictures of some of the work that is explored in this episode. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, and to have a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
The books that I found useful for this series can be found at https://uk.bookshop.org/lists/haptic-hue-booklist which is a small independent shop in Dorset specialising in Nature and Story.
A Feeling of Warmth
Unravelling the journey that fleece takes from the fells to fabric. This episode tracks how greasy wool bred in the wind and rain of a Lake District Farm becomes a smartly tailored jacket, a beautifully knitted pullover or a laceweight shawl, fine enough to pull through a wedding ring.
A Feeling of Warmth looks at the skills and processes needed from the shepherd, the spinner, the weaver, and the tailor before we can put a wool garment made sustainably and ethically on our backs.
Thanks to Maria Benjamin and John Atkinson, the farmers and entrepreneurs, Lara Pollard Jones of the Spinners, World of Wool, Sam Goates the weaver from Woven in the Bone, the tailor, Karyna Sukha from Fabrika, and the designer the maker Sally Cowell, from Leven Knit and Sew and to Donald S Murray for permission to read his poem, Woven in the Bone.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast, and pictures of some of the fabrics and techniques we talk about. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, as well as having a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
If you want to see more about the jackets and shepherds bags that are the subject of this podcast or find out more about John and Maria’s work at Nibthwaite Grange Farm, with the knitting yarn, the fabric, the soap, the meat, or the holiday accommodation then the links are https://dodgsonwood.co.uk/about/ and https://nibthwaitegrangefarm.com/about/ You can see the full drama of this year’s lambing on Maria’s Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/levenknitandsew/
World of Wool can be found at www.worldofwool.co.uk
Sam Goates and Woven in the Bone are at http://www.woveninthebone.com/ or https://www.instagram.com/woveninthebone/
Karyna Sukha, whose London tailoring shop makes the jackets are at https://fabrika.london
Sally Cowell of Leven Knit and Sew – who makes the Shepherd’s Bags can be found on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/levenknitandsew/
And the poet Donald S Murray can be found at http://www.donaldsmurray.co.uk/
A Feeling of Resilience
On the face of it repairing and reinforcing textiles simply prolongs the life of our clothes and helps minimize textile waste, things worth having – but for many, it also delivers much more than that. The French sculptor, Louise Bourgeois said: ‘The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair’, it helps to centre us, and tells us stories about ourselves and the resilience of our families and communities.
This episode looks at the case for mending and thinks about how different cultures approach this, from the wool-rich districts of Yorkshire with their darning to the rural areas of Japan with Sashiko and Boro textiles, and onto Indian traditions of telling stories in Kantha cloth and making something completely new out of something old.
Thanks to Claire Wellesley Smith, who is a community worker in Bradford, West Yorkshire, Hikaru Noguchi who lives in Tokyo and is an expert darner now writing a new book about Sashiko, and Ekta Kaul, who tells stories of place, history, and belonging through thread and fabric.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast and pictures of some of the fabrics and techniques we talk about. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, as well as having a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
If you want to see more of Claire Wellesley Smith’s work you can find it on her website: http://www.clairewellesleysmith.co.uk/ or on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/cwellesleysmith/
Her new book: Resilient Stitch: Wellbeing and Connection in Textile Art is published by Batsford and can be ordered from independent booksellers at https://uk.bookshop.org/a/260/9781849946070
Hikaru Noguchi’s website is at http://hikarunoguchi.bigcartel.com/, and she on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/hikaru_noguchi_design/
Her book called Darning: Repair, Make, Mend can be found at https://uk.bookshop.org/books/darning-repair-make-mend/9781912480159. Her new book on Sashiko is due to be published next year.
Ekta Kaul’s work can be seen on her website at https://www.ektakaul.com/. She is on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/ekta_kaul/. Ekta is running virtual courses on Kantha stitching and a variety of other classes over the next few months – you can find details at: https://www.ektakaul.com/product-category/embroidery-masterclasses/
A Feeling of Transformation - Preparation
Is costume design magic or camouflage? The second part of A Feeling of Transformation, looks at the enormous heart and skill that goes into getting costumes right for screen and stage. Find out how costume designers look at textiles and fabric with a different eye: they think how this will tone in overall and how will it read on camera? A talented, young costume designer, Sinead Kidao, who has worked on films like Beauty and The Beast, Little Women, and The Dark Knight Rises talks about how she uses textiles and the role the deep hand-skills of embroidery, weaving, knitting, and tatting play in creating authentic costumes. Sinead has created the first Costume Directory to help other designers use sustainable textile makers who pay a living wage.
We hear from the Breakdown Artist, Jo Weaving, whose job it is to make costumes look lived in, from ballgowns to battle dress. She specialises in wear and tear, from blood to bird poo.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast, pictures and links. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your in-box, as well as having a chance to win some of the textile related gifts I give away with each episode.
Thanks to Sinead Kidao and Jo Weaving for sharing the way they approach fabric and cloth, and what they do to it to make it look believable. If you want to see more of Sinead’s work you can find it at https://www.sineadkidao.com/. Her Costume Directory is a treasure trove of interesting and sustainable suppliers: it is free to download. And you can follow the Directory and Sinead on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thecostumedirectory/
Jo Weaving can be found at email@example.com. She has just moved into her new studio in Hastings, but she is planning to run some breakdown classes at the studio in future. E-mail her if you would like to go on the mailing list to stay in touch and find out what she’s up to.
A Feeling of Transformation - Performance
Do clothes conceal us or reveal us? Listen to how actors use clothes to make stories believable. Alessandro Nivola and Emily Mortimer, who have played a huge variety of roles between them, from mobsters to Tudor ladies in waiting, from regency bucks to flower sellers, talk about why costume is so important to them.
Mark Twain once wrote: “without his clothes a man would be nothing at all; that the clothes do not merely make the man, the clothes are the man; that without them he is a cipher, a vacancy, a nobody, a nothing… there is no power without clothes.”
Clothes cover us and warm us, but at the same time, they reveal what we want to say about ourselves as well as the gap between how we’d like to be seen and how people actually perceive us. This matters to actors and this episode looks at how actors study the tiny details of clothes and costume to help them deliver great performances. Alessandro and Emily share the secrets of the work and thought that goes into their performances.
If you go to Haptic and Hue’s website at www.hapticandhue.com/listen, you will find a full transcript of this podcast, pictures, and links. You can also sign up there to get these podcasts directly in your inbox, as well as having a chance to win some of the textile-related gifts I give away with each episode.
What a delight!
Found this podcast yesterday, and started listening while preparing fabrics for a small quilt for a new baby. It was lovely to hear the stories of cherishing and repurposing fabrics while sorting through my past life, and that of my Mum, my Granny, my Stepson, my Granddaughter - all of which will form part of this quilt.
Thank you for the fascinating stories and history. Love the music and the poems too…😊
Haptic and Hue
I stumbled across these podcasts on a recommendation from The Makers Atelier and I have found them a delightful and thoughtful listen. I’m not usually one for podcasts but the subjects and guests provide a fascinating narrative into the world of textiles. Jo’s delivery is so calm and peaceful it’s like slipping into a comfy chair. Give yourself a good couple of hours to listen to each episode as you’ll want to hop onto the website to find out even more.
One of the Best
The Haptic and Hue series 1 and 2 are so good that I have listened to every episode several times and every time I learn something new. Well researched, thoughtfully edited and with delightful music there is nothing jarring or irritating about Jo’s delivery. I listen to many podcasts and this is one of the best.