Placement Student Clemency Dyer talks about her time volunteering at the Warner Textile Archive in January 2022

In the Warner Textile Archive there is a large twentieth-century Jacobean style powerwoven collection. Over the past month I was tasked with looking through this section of the archive to audit and identify any gaps in the knowledge of it. Labelling pieces that were previously unidentified, updating the digital database and photographing the fabrics to match.

As a woven textile student this was an exciting and engrossing project. I am on a placement year in the middle of my degree and I have a keen interest in historical textiles and their conservation. At the Warner Textile Archive I was able to combine this passion with my in-depth knowledge of weaving, meaning I could identify woven structures and techniques used in textiles from the archive. This was a great help when I was updating the archive records and inputting more data.

Alongside the tangible work with the fabrics, I was working to research the designers who created them. This led me to discover a lot about the history of Warner & Sons and the practices of the early-twentieth century textile industry in the UK.

Whilst on site I also had the opportunity to help with the installation of the new exhibition; The Art of Friendship at Braintree Museum. This experience was eye opening to the realities of the inner workings of a museum. A lot of what I read at home I was then able to match up to the practices in person.

In the coming months I am going to be working at a textile mill in Barcelona where I will be weaving and learning about the practices of a modern day mill, I also hope to work with their archive. My experience at the Warner Textile Archive has been really interesting and enjoyable and I can’t wait to see where it will lead me in the future.

Clemency conservation vacuuming a new donation of textile samples at the Warner Textile Archive