In the West of England lies an old house that is a quiet treasure chest of textiles. The man who has built up this astonishing United Nations of cloth is using them to change the way all of us value and understand textiles.
Over many years Karun Thakar has created a collection of handmade textiles from Africa, Asia, and Europe. Some of these fabrics would have been the height of fashion in their day, destined for trade, but others are humble domestic miracles telling tales of hardship and struggle, often outlining the difficult lives of the women who made and repaired them.
Karun Thakar believes that every fabric in his collection has a story to tell us about the eye for design and colour of the people who made them and the way they lived their lives. His brilliant appreciation of textiles means that he was collecting Kantha cloth, Japanese boro garments, Ottoman and French embroidery, English smocks, Tibetan aprons, Indian phulkari and more before most of us knew what they were. Now he lends and donates his pieces to museums around the world hoping the deepen the understanding of what they mean and the cultures they belong to.
Listen to him talk about why he collects and what he’s trying to achieve in this week’s episode, the United Nations of Cloth, of Haptic & Hue’s Tales of Textiles.
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