Textiles study visit in Manchester | The Open College of the Arts
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Textiles study visit in Manchester

There will be a textiles study visit to the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester on 14 April starting at 11 am.
Textiles have formed part of the Whitworth’s collection since the gallery opened in 1890. Objects in the collection date from the 3rd century AD to the present day and reflect the social function of textiles within many different world cultures.
The collection of world textiles was established at the Whitworth to serve as a source of inspiration to local designers and manufacturers. It continues to be used in this way by art and design students but is a resource available to everyone interested in textiles. The main focus of collecting today is on the 20th and 21st century furnishing textiles and contemporary art textiles.
The textiles study visit will be based around the four themes of the Whitworth’s permanent textile collection:

  • Making Patterns with textiles
  • Textile Journeys
  • What do textiles say?
  • Colour and cloth

Prior to the visit, you will be asked to select one theme to research in more detail. You will be sent a reading list for each of the four themes so that you can do some advance preparation before your visit. During the morning of the visit, after a briefing and an initial tour of the textile gallery, you will have the opportunity to explore the theme of your choice through the textiles on display in the gallery, associated supporting information packs available in the gallery, and access to the Whitworth’s online collection. There are also selected works by contemporary textile artists on view.
Over lunch, there will be the opportunity to share your observations and research with other OCA students.
The afternoon session will give you time to look more closely at the textiles on display and to make notes, and sketches in your log book and sketchbook for futureinspiration. You will also have an opportunity to view anew exhibition which opens at the Whitworth on 11th February, entitled: Cotton: Global Threads.
Although just about everyone on the planet wears an article of cotton each day, the story of cotton is far from every day. It spans centuries and continents, was the catalyst for some of the most important moments in modern history and exposes a multitude of ethical sins. A new exhibition,COTTON: Global Threads will tell this story, giving a global history of the production, consumption and trade in cotton.
To book your free place on the study visit please email OCA at enquiries@oca-uk.com. There are only 15 places and its first come first serve, so book up now!
Liz Smith
OCA Textiles Tutor


Posted by author: Jane Parry
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5 thoughts on “Textiles study visit in Manchester

  • It’s a shame that this is yet another study day which is based too far from where I live for it to be practical/affordable for me to attend. :o(

  • This sounds amazing! What an opportunity to see this collection. I just wish I had heard about it some time ago as I understand it is now fully booked? Is this collection open to the public I wonder? Maybe it is worth a trip to Manchester just to see this.

  • Hi Diana – the exhibition Cotton: Global Threads is still open to the public. Some beautiful pieces of historical and contemporary work, but I felt that it was a missed opportunity in terms of interpretation. Still worth a visit though, definitely.
    When this exhibition isn’t on, there is normally a selection of the collection on display. And I understand it is possible for anyone to apply to the curator for a private study of work held in store, although as you can imagine it needs to be booked in advance and they like an idea of what you would like to see.

  • Thank you Julie, that is really good to know. I wonder if there is an on-line catalogue if I were to book some private study in advance? I will investigate further.
    I am going to ask Liz Smith if I can do the advanced research piece in any case, as there is clearly a lot of on-line resources, and it would be a valuable exercise in it’s on right.

  • This was an excellent exhibition which raised questions around the cotton industry historically; culturally and ethically and which taught us to look at the work of the artists from these different viewpoints as well as sharing our own emotional responses to the work with the other students. It was a delight to meet up with everyone; not only have I now learnt how to conduct my own research, I also look forward to the next textile study day!

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