I was in Sudbury yesterday to deliver my membership form for The Print Workshop at Gainsborough's House. As well as allowing me to use the beautiful old printing presses and other printmaking facilities, I will have a free pass for the house and exhibitions. In my post about Salford Black runner beans I mentioned the Lancashire mill towns - nothing could look further from the smoky, dirty image of an industrial scene than this view across the Stour valley on the outskirts of Sudbury, but this is the home of the British silk weaving industry.
Just behind the walled garden at Gainsborough's House is the back of one of the existing silk mills, I decided to walk around the corner to the factory shop. Vanners have been weaving sumptious silks since the early 18th century, now they produce lustrous jacquard weave silks for ties, scarves and curtains. In the small shop I spotted two tea-chests full of remnants of jacquard silk, a sign next to a pile of large carrier bags said '£5 per bag' - so I just had to rummage and to fill a bag. These are the silk fabrics I came home with - now I'll have to create something gorgeous with them!