On Sunday 11th May Braintree was host to an exciting event – the Warner Textile Archive’s fourth annual Textile Fair. Activities took place across three historic venues, the Warner Textile Archive, Braintree Town Hall and Braintree District Museum.

Visitors started their day at Braintree Town Hall, which was packed out with stall holders and the fair’s Vintage Tea Room, always a popular place for rest and re-engergising, before heading out to the Archive and Museum. The Archive was host to exciting quilting, embroidery and spinning demonstrations, and also offered ‘Behind the Scenes’ tours of their store led by a former Warner & Sons employee. There was also a special exhibition at the Archive ‘Art Deco: Spirit of the Age’ displaying pieces from CAMAC’s Student Textile Design Gallery.

Here at Braintree District Museum we were really pleased to welcome over 350 visitors to our site. We hosted the fair’s exciting talk programme, with topics ranging from fashion in World War I to textile conservation.


Katy Conover’s talk ‘WWI: Fashion in Conflict’


Entry to all the museum’s galleries and exhibitions was included in the ticket price, with a particular focus on our ‘FreeSpirit’ exhibition created by Fashion and Textiles Diploma students from The College at Braintree, inspired by Warner’s designer Eddie Squires. (For more information visit http://btreemuseum.wpengine.com/whatson/exhibitions/ .) Our permanent exhibitions on the textile firms of Warner & Sons and Courtauld silk manufacturers also proved of particular interest to visitors. Finally, the museum hosted its first ever T-Shirt desgining workshop which proved very popular with visitors. Participants were given a free Textile Fair T-Shirt (kindly donated to the museum by Yum Design) and provided with a range of fabric paints, stencils and pens to create their own personalised design with. We were very impressed with the level of creativity shown and participants were pleased to be able to take away their personalised memento of the day. Below are some photographs of the great designs (and the designers hard at work having fun)!

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Jennifer Brown