On the first day of December, it was wet and windy outside, but inside a Grade I listed building in Bloomsbury, London, the Crea team were fortunate enough to be sampling the magic of the Selvedge Winter Fair. In textile and craft terms, it felt like Cinderella arriving at the ball – and here are some reasons why…
Selvedge magazine is renowned for its dedication to the world of fabric and its sharing of all things beautifully made, ethically sourced and carefully curated – and this spirit permeated all the exhibitor stands. The woven, knitted, stitched, embroidered, dyed, hand-printed, and otherwise lovingly created pieces were often the handiwork of women in remote parts of the world – as well as right here in the UK, from Cornwall to Scotland. Each range was distinct, but all worked so well together.
There were sturdy cylindrical bags made from wool or fibre, dyed and then woven in geometric designs by Arhuaco women in the mountains of north Columbia. ‘Treasures from the Silk Road’ was a mini Aladdin’s cave of antique textiles and rugs, bags and jewellery from central Asia and Turkey. On another antique note, Onakimono displayed their – yes, you guessed – glorious vintage kimonos, as well as bags and accessories. And merchants from Experience Ukraine explained how their beautifully embroidered shepherd’s smocks followed traditional designs.
Even pottery found its way into the show, with Wimbledon-based Sarah Grove’s delightful white pots and vases inspired by textiles, with button handles and all-over patterning that mimicked quilted and stitched fabric.
We lingered especially over Nimuri’s beautiful embroidered quilts and patchwork cushions from Pakistan, and Jenpatola’s throws and vintage textiles from Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal. The Crea team left after several mesmerising hours, the richer for two such throws in gorgeous Indian prints, and floating on a cloud of inspiration. Seems next year’s show is already in the diary!