Obituary: Julius Schofield

Tribute to Julius Schofield MBE
With the passing earlier this month of Julius Schofield MBE, the textile design world has lost one of its greatest champions.

The narrow, uneven staircase up to the offices of Indesign, the recruitment agency he started with his partner Joanna Neicho in 1968, were the first unlikely steps for many young designers into a career in the international world of fashion and textiles, a world that Julius knew so well.

He had a passion for textiles in particular, and saw it as the Cinderella of the fashion industry working unacknowledged behind the scenes to create glorious materials; he understood that without fabrics there is no fashion.  He was indefatigable in reaching out to UK textile design colleges, appreciating their importance in nurturing and teaching the next generation of talent so vital for innovation in the industry.

It was therefore a natural fit when, in 2004, Julius became Chairman of Texprint, later TexSelect, the charity that selected, mentored and promoted the best textile design talent graduating from UK institutions each year.  This is where his knowledge of the global industry and network of connections was invaluable in securing world-class designer names as sponsors and, often, involving the designers themselves in Texprint events.  He linked UK colleges to the Italian silk industry with the Como Scarf Competition which ran for 3 years, and established major Italian silk mills as long-term supporters of Texprint.

While at Texprint he set up the Chairman’s Prize which he personally sponsored, with judges such as Christopher Bailey and Sir Stuart Rose. He brought a professionalism to the Texprint London exhibition, which became a vital practice ground for the main event at Premiere Vision in Paris each September, where he secured eminent luminaries including Sir Paul Smith, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Diane von Furstenberg and Alber Elbaz as prize presenters.

Always immaculately dressed, no matter the temperature, Julius cut an instantly recognisable figure at British fashion and textile industry events over many, many years.  Dedicated to his work and so knowledgeable and respected throughout the industry internationally, his passion to nurture and promote young textile design talent was very special.  Julius was instrumental in connecting Texprint with world-class designer names, and his personal generosity made the Private Views one of the highlights of the year.

His wealth of knowledge, built up over decades, of an ever-evolving and complex industry, and the individuals involved in it, can never be replaced.  He retired as Chairman of Texprint in 2011, but continued to take an active interest for many years afterwards – TexSelect closed in 2019.

Exhibition: Pushing The Limits | A Virtual Shaft Weaving Art Exhibition

Pushing the Limits is a virtual shaft weaving artwork exhibition curated by former European Textile Network ETN president -and always a weaver- Lala de Dios (Spain) and textile artist Olivier Masson (France) who has also engineered the exhibition.

Weaving is one of oldest human industries -if not the oldest- and many kinds of looms or weaving devices have been accompanying humankind since the beginning of times. From the backstrap to dobby looms, the history of weaving has been an uninterrupted succession of technological inventions until the arrival of the first Jacquard hand looms in 18th century France.  The rest is history. Today we are living the digital Jacquard loom era. Contemporary textile artists use this tool which allows for an -almost- unlimited freedom to weavers.

This should not hide the fact that many of today’s artists and designers are happily enjoying weaving in shaft looms as weavers have been doing for hundreds of years. Not only to weave the functional textiles so often associated with the machine, but also works of art ; from Anni Albers’ pictorial weavings to Peter Collingwood`s macrogauzes to quote only two well-known examples from the last century.

The exhibition aims to highlight the incredible possibilities of that supposedly limited “machine” to create textile pieces that are works of art in their own right. Continue reading →

Happy New Year from The Weave Shed

Awards: QEST Scholarships

The Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) awards scholarship and apprenticeship funding of up to £18,000 to talented and aspiring craftspeople working in a broad range of skills, from farriery and cheese maturing to jewellery design, silversmithing, dry stone walling, glassblowing, textiles and sculpture. Our next application round is open 11 January – 15 February 2021

QEST celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2020 and since 1990 has awarded nearly £5million to 600 individuals working in over 130 different crafts. We define craft broadly and welcome applications from all areas including rural skills, contemporary craft, conservation, luthiery and much more. A directory of all our alumni can be seen on our website, along with more details on how to apply. There are two application rounds each year – in January and July.

Job: Humphries Weaving | Account Manager

Humphries Weaving is a renowned British fabric manufacturer that has earnt an international reputation for designing and weaving fine furnishings. Being a project/account manager at Humphries Weaving incorporates research, design and sales in both historic and contemporary arenas. Humphries put customer relationships and service at the forefront of everything they do and they are hiring for this exciting role.

The ideal candidate will have experience working in textile manufacturing or a customer facing role in luxury furnishings or an associated field.

Humphries are looking for an excellent communicator with confidence in both face to face and digital sales. Highly organised with the ability to prioritise workloads and manage multiple projects, working in sync with both internal and external teams. You should be self-driven and motivated to achieve team goals, have strategic thinking as second nature and a demonstrable capability to identify and develop new business, working within agreed timelines and budgets. Continue reading →

Woven Textile Designer: Milou Voorwinden

Milou Voorwinden is a woven textile designer based in the Netherlands. She graduated from the product design department of ArtEZ University of Arts in Arnhem in 2016.

Voorwinden currently runs her own textile design and research studio and works as a jacquard designer and product developer at EE Exclusives.

She specialises in weaving three-dimensional structures and one-piece woven products on the loom. Voorwinden is inspired by traditional weaving techniques and aims to rediscover, renew and apply the techniques in an innovative way using contemporary digital tools.

The Space Between
The Space Between explores the creation and application of knitted and woven spacer fabrics. The project is a collaboration between Milou Voorwinden, Suzanne Oude Hengel and  the Functional Textiles Unit at Eurecat in Spain. By working alongside the machines and closely with the technicians Francesc Mañosa and Francesc Pera of Eurecat, Oude Hengel and Voorwinden are able to engineer each step of the process, allowing for functionalities to be built directly into the fabric Continue reading →

Social Enterprise: AMMA Natural Textiles | Sri Lanka

AMMA Natural Textiles, is a social enterprise championing the tradition of hand weaving in Nuwara Eliya, a tea estate region in Sri Lanka. AMMA was founded by Josie Mackenzie who was curious to explore the role natural dyes play in the Sri Lankan textile industry and how, when used in combination with handloom could contribute to providing livelihood creation for women living rurally.

This innovative business empowers marginalised women by employing them to make handwoven zero waste garments and accessories. AMMA’s current Kickstarter Campaign is raising money through maker made rewards so that they can continue to keep their workshop doors open and their artisans employed on full salaries. Continue reading →

Exhibition: Blanket Coverage

Celebrating the Heritage and Diversity of Weaving
Textile Designer & Artist Laura Thomas curates a long-awaited exhibition platforming contemporary woven design.

Blanket Coverage opens at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran, south Wales, on 28th November  – 30th January 2021, in a much needed review of how contemporary weavers continue to challenge the notions of this exciting and tactile art form.

The exhibition features 12 designers and businesses, from the very established to emerging names. Margo Selby, Wallace Sewell, Beatrice Larkin and Eleanor Pritchard are all handweavers who work closely with British mills to faithfully interpret their hand-rendered or handwoven designs into production. Catarina Riccabona and Maria Sigma are passionate advocates for sustainability through their handwoven practice, both producing blankets of true character without design compromise. Llio James and Sioni Rhys Handweavers, are Welsh handweavers of blankets cleverly combining colour and weave structure to create captivating patterns. Continue reading →

Opportunity: The Society of Designer Craftsmen

The Society of Designer Craftsmen was founded by Walter Crane and William Morris and is proud to have some of the most innovative, talented and skilled craftspeople in the country as members. They promote and support the work of designer-makers working across craft disciplines including Ceramics, Wood, Metal, Glass and Textiles, through exhibitions, workshops and mentoring.

A registered charity, the SDC is run by a dedicated Council of craft professionals – all volunteers. Their President is Sir Christopher Frayling.

Their objectives are to:
• Foster public understanding of craft by encouragement and promotion of design excellence and fine craftsmanship
• Maintain and enhance high standards of design and craftsmanship
• Encourage training and education of new and young Designer Craftspeople

The SDC are looking for some truly great people to strengthen their presence and raise awareness of their work. They are urgently seeking outstanding individuals for the following volunteer roles who enjoy making a worthwhile contribution.

A natural motivator to lead and direct the Council of Trustees and be an ambassador for the Society in the wider circles of the designer maker and craft community. They will lead the Society in its exciting and ambitious growth and development plan while ensuring the organisation complies with its governing document, charity law, company law etc.

Anticipated commitment: minimum 3-7 days/month Continue reading →

Cockpit Arts: Clothworker Awards | Weavers

The successful recipients of Cockpit Arts: The ClothWorkers Awards for 2020 are Alicia Rowbotham, Millie Thomas and Francesca Miotti.

Millie Thomas
After graduating from Central St Martins in 2018, Millie has worked within the woven textiles industry  in Italy, designing for an Italian Weaving Mill and  in London for a heritage woven textiles company.

Millie’s work takes a biomimetic approach, taking inspiration from nature to explore and often replicate its principles through design. Her approach is process led, looking at the inner workings of the
natural world, from the grooves in beetle shells to the structural pleats in dragonfly wings to design from. She uses this inspiration to create bold patterns, 3D textures and elegant structures.

Continue reading →