• Lecture 2: Wool

    Editor’s note The numbers in square brackets indicate where the photos from Karen’s original lecture should go. We hope to add these photos to this post at the soonest available opportunity. Part 1: History Sheep [1] were among the first animals to be domesticated. Primitive sheepskins were hairy, probably like…

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  • Heald and reed making

    As important as healds and reeds are to the weaving process, little has been documented about their history or production. Alfred Barlow cursorily encapsulated the developments in heald making: ‘Healds were formerly made by hand by means of a reel, &c., and many are still formed so. […] Heald-making machines…

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  • Lecture 1: Introductory Lecture

    The first lecture will introduce you to the structure of the course and to what we hope to achieve, and give a brief history of textile conservation with its particular ethics and the principles to which we work. The First Year or Basic Course is designed to provide the key…

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  • Some early images of funeral garlands

    The folk custom of hanging funeral garlands in churches was one of many topics that would have been raised in the wide-ranging discussions that generally followed Karen Finch’s weekly lectures to first year students on the Textile Conservation course in 1980/81. Customs involving textile objects that connect our lives to…

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  • FAIC Oral History Interview: Session 1

    Well, this is day one of our sessions for the AIC oral history file. And the obvious thing to start with is where and when you were born. On a farm in Northern Jutland in Denmark. And do you want my birthday too? Well, it would be helpful. On the…

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  • FAIC Oral History Interview: Session 2

    Well, this is day two, it’s July 17th, 1985, and this is an interview with Karen Finch. Actually, I wanted to pick up on what we were talking about yesterday, and the Royal School of Needlework. I was wondering if the people like yourself were considered apprentices, or were you…

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  • FAIC Oral History Interview: Session 3

    Where did we get to yesterday? Well, yesterday we got to when the committee was set up to get the palace. No, the committee was set up to get charitable status for a National Institute for Textile Conservation. That’s right, excuse me. Yes, and the offers of space came from…

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  • FAIC Oral History Interview: Session 4

    Well, this is our last session, and I’m going to change the subject from last week’s adventure on the roads, to the Centre’s moderate position on the use of adhesives. I was wondering how you felt, because in conferences, the Centre does put across this moderate view that they will…

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  • Tribute to Karen Finch from Philip Sykas

    An enormous curiosity about textiles led Karen Finch, who died this year aged 96, on an unusual life journey as a weaver, textile conservator and educator. Born the eldest daughter in a Danish farming family, her presumed fate was marriage, bringing with it land and children, but she was determined…

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  • The history and the techniques of the spinning of gold thread

    Abstracted in free translation by Karen Finch (1998) from: Sofus Larsen. (1939) Nordisk Guldspinding og Guldbroderi i den tidlige Middelalder. København: Ejnar Munksgaard. Note on the translation: I wish to stress that the information abstracted relates mainly to the practical aspects of making gold thread for weaving and embroidery. Sofus…

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