How it all began
Put a handful of dedicated world textile experts and traders together in the bar at the Knitting and Stitching Show and what do you get?
Answer: World Textile Day!
That’s exactly what happened when Magie Relph and Bob Irwin (aka The African Fabric Shop) sat down over a beer with Diane and Jim Gaffney (aka Textile Traders).
‘Know what we need,’ asked Jim.
Then he answered his own question: ‘A World Textile Day in… let me see… how about Wales?’
‘Why not,’ we all said. We had no idea how popular our modest little proposal would turn out.
A few months later in March 2009, when we opened the doors at the Minerva Arts Centre, home of the Quilt Association, the gallery was empty except for our carefully selected displays of world textiles and the empty chairs in the lecture area waiting for bums.
By 11am the gallery was packed, we had to find more chairs for the talk and the Quilt Association tea ladies were struggling to keep up with thirsty demand.
People came from far and wide: Wales, Shropshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Bristol. One enthusiast drove all the way from Lincoln! When we closed the doors at 5pm, we were all exhausted from the general buzz of enthusiasm.
‘Should we do it again,’ asked Jim.
‘No brainer,’ we chorused.
World Textile Day was well and truly born. Today we hold eight World Textile Days around the UK, plus a World Textiles Market in Chipping Norton. Find a World Textile Day at a venue near you!