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Detectives learn new skills

26 December 2009


Research Associate Dr Philip Sykas, from Manchester Metropolitan University, ran a two day workshop at The Minerva Arts Centre in early October 2009. The event was part of the lottery-funded Quilt Detectives project, in which volunteers research individual quilts from the Association’s collection. The workshop – “Identifying prints in patchwork quilts”, covered an introduction to 19th century calico printing techniques, thread counts, dyes and colourants, and practical workshop sessions studying fabrics in the quilts themselves.

Philip, author of The Secret Life of Textiles, has worked at MMU for over 20 years studying antique textiles, particularly those in pattern book archives. Using cutting edge technology such as a digital microscope, he was able to show Association volunteers how to spot the difference between early 19th century printing techniques and later imitations. This training will be invaluable as the volunteers continue to work on documenting and researching quilts in the collection.