Headed off to Manchester today to visit the Manchester Antique Textile Fair organised by the Textile Society. I’d never been to anything like this before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was quite a strange experience, with some stands piled high with scraps and oddments jostling for space with expensive antique dresses, embroideries and hangings. At times the event felt like a rummage sale, with people frantically sorting through boxes of lace and baskets of handbags gradually shedding beads, and you HAD to use your elbows if you wanted a really good look at something. Some stalls didn’t interest me at all, but this was a large and varied enough event that I easily found lots of things to ooh and aah over. There was some stunning beadwork, with pieces from all over the world, and I was very tempted by some bead-knitted purses, many beautiful bags and purses with cut steel beads (so tiny!), and a belt with a very intriguing construction, but in the end I had to admit my bank account couldn’t take the strain.
I did give in and buy myself a few bits though. I got a small stilleto with a mother-of-pearl handle, some beautiful filigree hairpins, a piece of batik fabric from Textile Techniques and this lovely piece (I’m not sure, but I think it was from Jenpatola)
It’s a patchwork piece made using embroidered sections from old Kashmir jackets, and I fell in love as soon as I saw it.
I can’t quite get the colours right in these pictures (they’re very rich, with the red roses really singing out), but you can see how dense the embroidery is. I’ve now got it laid out on my table (where I think it’s going to live) and I’m enjoying a good gloat at all my goodies 🙂