I am asked on a daily basis to describe who I am: one day I am an academic, another a researcher, and then a textiles practitioner. My name is Rose Sinclair and I am all of the aforementioned, but it is my researcher role that brings me to the archive, to seek out fabrics in a place perhaps often perceived from the outside as being full of paper.
Beyond the façade of bricks and mortar is another world and space in which I become so engaged time drifts away. If I could relocate my studio practice with all its ‘stuff’ for a month to just start to examine the designs, understand the prints, weaves, embroideries, in context, location iconography, one word… wow. I would be in design heaven.
Using my academic perspective I see the benefits of students seeing, handling, understanding the evolution of design, thinking against a backdrop of cultural evolution extending the reach of the archive into teaching and learning into creative practice with students, who on a daily basis curate and archive their own lives in digital spaces. 1 As a researcher I am interested in the ‘before and after‘, the stories and the memories, times before and times after. Textiles from an archive can be one vehicle that can tell those stories.
‘…but in archives, though the bundles may be mountainous, there is not very much there (…) the archive is made from selected and consciously chosen documentation from the past and also from the mad fragmentation that no one intended to preserve and just ended up there.’ 2
As a researcher, my first entry into the archives was one of awe and thinking, ‘wait a minute: how on earth will I be able to locate what I need, and how can paper lead me to textiles?’ Continue reading »