Thursday, 17 March 2016

Oh what beautiful mourning

Nine times a year, East Anglian Stitch Textiles (E.A.S.T) meet at Braintree Museum in Essex.  It seems an appropriate home for a textile group because of the strong textile links that exist with the town's heritage.  One of the major technical processes that made Samuel and George Coutauld so successful was it's production of mourning crepe.  The museum has a really fascinating display in their permanent collection on the connection between Coutauld's and mourning costume.  It includes rollers (see above) used to create what is an absolutely beautiful type of cloth, were it not for its sombre use. 

The commercial success of mourning crepe was made even more lucrative because it was believed unlucky to keep the fabric in the home.  So for each new bereavement, new clothes had to be made, and new fabric purchased.

On Sunday 15th May 2016, E.A.S.T will be at the Braintree Textile Fair, which is spread over three sites - the museum itself, the town hall and the Warner Textile Archive.  The mourning crepe was the inspiration behind one of the pieces in the Threads of Time collection, which will be the subject of the group's talk at 2pm.  

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