Every fabric tells a story of some sort, and part of the fun is to detect it. Many printed or woven designs include symbols taken and adapted from a particular community or locality– and we find it’s often the motifs that we have known for a lifetime and take for granted that are imbued with deep meaning. A stylised berry or leaf, spirals, interlocking circles, a rope pattern, the boteh, and even certain colours were originally designed or stitched as symbols of worship or well wishing.

A textile’s functional purpose tells another story, whether it be a swaddling cloth, a marriage shawl or a shroud, a baby’s quilt, a farming smock, a ball gown or a degree cloak, silk or stuff, a fisherman’s jumper, a coolie or a shopping basket, swim suit or hair band… All textile is made for particular reason, each has its own story of inception, production, purchase and wear; and if created by a top couturier, worn by a famous person, or for a special occasion, a particular provenance attaches itself to the fabric and its design.


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