The Weavers’ Company textile awards
Evidence of how industry can work with higher education for everyone’s benefit was displayed at the presentation of the annual textile awards by The Worshipful Company of Weavers , which is the oldest recorded Livery Company in the City of London, with records going back to 1130.
The hall of the Saddlers’ Livery Company was the venue for the lunch – or the Court Breakfast, to use its correct title – at which academics, textile industry leaders and supporters, and weaving students came together to celebrate excellence and to reflect in the belief that UK textile weaving has a robust future.
The Weavers’ Livery Company supports courses at six colleges – Manchester, Loughborough, Derby, Huddersfield, Central St Martins and the Royal College of Art – and outstanding students were lauded at the ceremony. The students’ top accolade, the Stuart Hollander Award, went to Calum Clarke of Central St Martins. All this year’s scholarships were awarded to female students: Stephanie Rolph (Central St Martins); Jennifer Green (RCA); Josie Bineham (RCA); Lindsay Taylor (Huddersfield University); Rachael Wallis (Loughborough University); and Ellis Dillnutt (Derby University). They are seen here with (centre) Jolyon Tibbitts, Upper Bailiff of the Weavers, and (third from left) Linda Birkbeck, who presented the prizes.
This year’s Silver Medal winner for exceptional service to the textile industry went to Donald John Mackay, who has racked up 40 years of weaving Harris Tweed with his Luskentyre Harris Tweed Company on the Isle of Harris. The company comprises Donald John and his wife Maureen, who made the very long journey from the Outer Hebrides to the vicinity of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Among the luminaries at the event were Stephen Rendle of Lovat Mill in Hawick, Linda Birkbeck, managing director of the amazing House of Bruar retail business in Perthshire, and James Sugden, director of Johnstons of Elgin and one of the prime movers in The Weavers’ Company.
I was lucky enough to sit between Jan Shenton, the programme leader for the woven textiles course at Loughborough and, pictured here with me, Sue Prichard, curator of contemporary textiles at the Victoria and Albert Museum. As it was a sunny but cool day, I wore my velvet suit and waistcoat from Favourbrook with a shirt from Hilditch & Key and the tie of my Livery Company, the Pattenmakers.
I was particularly taken by the seal of the Saddlers Company: Hold Fast. Sit Sure. is good advice for anyone in these challenging times. Well done to The Worshipful Company of weavers for organising another fine event.
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