Commemorative textiles are a wonderful expression of our world history that should never be forgotten. Celebrating the past with wonderful cloth designs is a visually impactful and creative way of keeping the memories of our ancestors alive. It also allows us to appreciate and learn from the past so we can understand our current world.
Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere
We were extremely proud to be involved in creating a limited-edition embroidered handkerchief by Gillian Wearing in collaboration with Plinth. The beautiful handkerchief marks a century of women’s suffrage in the UK and is inspired by Millicent Fawcett’s powerful message ‘Courage Calls to Courage Everywhere’. This compelling message can be seen on Gillian Wearing’s statue of Millicent Fawcett which has become the first statue of a woman to proudly stand in London’s Parliament Square. The statue was erected in the square after thousands signed a petition to see her stand in the historic tourist attraction. Here, her message of strength and determination can be embraced, while her activism and fight for women’s rights can be remembered and shared with visitors from all over the world.
In celebration of the statue being recently unveiled, the limited-edition handkerchief was redesigned from the original handkerchief the suffragettes embroidered their signatures into whilst in Holloway Prison, here in London. This beautiful design is delicate with striking pops of colourful embroidery that reflects the powerful message behind the statue and the women who fought for our rights today. The handkerchief has become part of a range of merchandise inspired by Millicent Fawcett’s message of women empowerment and equality. Part of the proceeds from the sale of the range are donated to the Fawcett Society, who continue to fight for the rights of women and carry on the amazing work their founder achieved before them.
The process of creating the handkerchief
We then received the artwork for the suffragette handkerchief and began prototyping, selecting a linen cotton base cloth to give it a napkin feel and strength. It is an intricate piece with a great deal of detail. Our passion is bringing heritage textiles back to life to share the incredible history of the people and places we so richly can be proud of in Britain. But more over joining this with the global connections, traditions and skills that can help us recreate this skilled artistry. In this instance, this took me on a journey to India and Kashmir to find the factory with the skills, ethics and materials that would do this beautiful workmanship justice.
We then approved colours and signatures to check they were correct. There were some colour and artwork corrections needed, and the embroidery required several rounds of tweaks which were achieved by working with our partners to adjust machine settings.
As this is a very detailed textile, our job was to make it as luxurious and high quality as possible. This was achieved through producing multiple samples, which is a common practice and requirement on most complex pieces.
Finally, we had a pre-production sample made which was then approved and went into bulk production; this takes 4 to 6 months. The development of the handkerchief was an exciting project for everyone at the Bespoke Textiles HQ, partly because we are all women who wouldn’t have this right to make an impact with our work without the suffragette movement. We worked closely with our client through every stage of the production process, from artwork to sampling alongside liaising with the factory to clearly communicate amends and produce the final high-quality product that you see on the Plinth website today!
We take pride in producing high quality textile products that stand out and get your brand noticed. We can help you source, develop and deliver your unique textile products from factory to market. Discover more about our service today!
Looking forward to sharing our new commemorative textile projects coming up.