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Weaving links span continents

Vankar Murji, Jeni Allison, Lindsay Roberts and Swati Unakar at Borders Textiles Towerhouse.

Vankar Murji, Jeni Allison, Lindsay Roberts and Swati Unakar at Borders Textiles Towerhouse.

TEXTILE experts from India and Scotland have been sharing ideas during exchange visits involving the Galashiels campus of Heriot-Watt University.

Designers Swati Unakar, from Bangalore, and Murji Vankar, from the country’s north-west, were hosted by 
the university’s School of Textiles and Design (SoTD) at Netherdale.

It follows a visit to India by designers Lindsay Roberts and Jeni Allison, as well as SoTD’s Dr Britta Kalkreuter, Louise Butler, a freelance curator from Ancrum, and Scottish Borders Council’s Shona Sinclair.

The Indian designers and their Scottish counterparts met pupils at Galashiels Academy and Jedburgh Grammar and attended craft evenings at the Textiles Towerhouse in Hawick.

Dr Kalkreuter said: “While the heavy embroideries and vibrant colours of India are outwardly quite different from the more sombre cloth which Scotland is famed for, we discovered a shared enthusiasm for craft skills and narratives.

“What struck us most, perhaps, was the community spirit which is still central to the production of textiles in Gujarat, and we hope that students and designers in the Borders might have experienced this spirit in a small way at least during our project.”

Swati, a university lecturer, said: “The Borders, like India, has a rich textile heritage. This visit was an ideal opportunity to build on these ties and also see where we might collaborate further to develop innovative research.”

The visit was funded by Creative Scotland and the council as part of an exchange programme which was launched by Holyrood minister Fiona Hyslop in Galashiels last September.

 

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