Contemporary textile makers use an increasingly broad range of materials to make work mixing fabrics with paper and all kinds of sculptural materials and found objects.
The practice of making textiles encompasses a wide range of techniques which can be used individually or in combination. These include weaving, stitching by hand or machine, printing, felting, applique and collage.
Image: Debbie Hepplestone
Caroline Broadhead: conceptual textiles
Lucy Brown; weaving
Dawn Dupree: screen printed textiles
Alice Kettle; stitched textiles
Shane Waltener; experimental textiles and installations
Alison Willoughby: constructed textiles and fashion
Links to makers in action.
Alice Kettle talks to Helen Felcey about their collaboration 'Clay and Thread'
Shane Walterner's installation with Craftspace at the Knitting and Stitching Show
Common Textile Terms Explained
Applique: needlework technique used to attach fabric, embroidery or other materials to cloth to create images or designs. Used in quilting and banner making.
Block printing: creating text or images using inked blocks ( usually wooden, carved in relief).
Crochet: creating a fabric or a structure from yarn, thread or other materials using a single crochet hook ( can be made from wood, metal or plastic).
Collage/mixed media: combining textiles with paper, print, dye and stitch to build up layers and textures.
Constructed: sculpture or 3D structures created with any of the above techniques, often using a combination of natural and synthetic/man-made materials.
Knitting: turning thread or yarn into cloth or fabric by using needles to pass loops in patterns ( by hand or machine). Importantly knitted fabric has more elasticity than woven fabric.
Screen Printing: creating an image using inks or dyes pressed through a mesh, often with stencils created photographically or with paper and resists.
Stitching/Embroidery:decorating fabric with needle and thread or yarn, using a range of distinct stitches by hand or machine.
Weaving: making a fabric, cloth or structure by interlacing warp threads ( vertical) with weft threads (horizontal) fixed to a loom or frame.
Textile Material Suppliers
George Weil, Guildford georgeweil.com
Specialist Crafts specialistcrafts.co.uk/Fabrics
Whaleys Ltd Bradford whaleys-bradford.ltd.uk
Brodie and Middleton, London brodies.net/
Also try charity shops and recycling centres for second hand and recycled fabrics.
Fabric Printing materials
Quality Colours, dyes, binders and pigments
George Weil, dyes and squeegees
Screen Colour Systems, screens and other products
John Purcell Papers 020 7737 5199
Overview of contemporary textiles
Cole, Drusilla (2008) Textiles Now, Laurence King
Braddock, Sarah E and O'Mahoney Marie (2007) Techno Textiles: revolutionary Fabrics for fashion and Design Thames and Hudson.
Scott, Jac (2003) Textile perspectives in Mixed Media Sculpture. Crowood Press
Nauman, Rose and Hull, Raymond (1974) The off-loom weaving book, Pitman
Russel, Carol K (1991) The Tapestry handbook, A&C Publishing
Bawden, Juliet (1991) The Art and Craft of Appliqué, Mitchell Beazley
Fashion and textiles
Willoughby, Alison (2008) 491/2 skirts A&C Black
Udale, Jenny (2008) Textiles and Fashion AVA publishing
Collage and mixed media
Holmes, Cas (2010) The found object in Textile Art
Pearce, Amanda (1997) The Art and Craft of Collage, Mitchell Beazley
Bawden, Juliet (1990) The Art and Craft of Fabric Decoration, Mitchell Beazley
Specialist textiles websites
The Textile Society: information on museum and gallery textile collections and exhibitions, study days and events across the UK and abroad.
The 62 Group features the work and profiles of many UK contemporary textile makers working across the field of textiles, with links to makers' websites, exhibitions and workshops.
Embroiderers Guild, exhibitions and events, appointments to see the collection.
Textile Collections in Museums and Galleries
The Fashion and Textiles Museum, London.
Whitworth Gallery, Manchester.
Victoria and Albert Museum, permanent displays, special exhibitions, textile archive and study collection.
Fashion Museum, Bath.
Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston: a Costume & Textile Collection which includes over 6,000 items of historic and contemporary clothing, textiles and fashion plates.
Horniman Museum: textiles from Africa, Asia, North America, the Pacific and the largest European folk art collection in the UK.