5th May 2021 at 11:41 pm #5925Kirstie Buckland
I think I first met Karen Finch in 1975 when she invited the Costume Society into Hampton Palace to her recently moved Textile Conservation Centre.
She was conserving a Grenadier cap and I was the only member who recognised what it was. We struck up a friendship, it was so easy with Karen as we shared a practical interest in spinning, weaving, wool and knitting, a neglected subject.
I remember her beautiful house in Ealing, draped with perfectly woven rugs and hangings, and I was lucky to drive her to relevant meetings and exhibitions of textile interest, notably a journey to Reading for a day of dyes and the V&A’s exhibition displaying Tipu’s Sultan’s tent – there was so much to learn, compare and amuse us on these journeys. She was helpful with advice when I tackled the lengthy problem of conserving and researching the pre-Reformation vestment hanging in our village church (‘The Skenfrith Cope and its companions’ ).
In 1993 we were both present as the inaugural meeting of The Early Knitting History Group (EKHG) when a few enthusiasts agreed to pursue research in the origins of European knitting. When the EKHG evolved into the Knitting History Forum in 2008, I immediately proposed her as Honorary President and was delighted that she was elected unanimously and filled the position for twelve years.
Birthday parties followed and happy visits to her family home in Walthamstow where her achievements are still celebrated.
Photo of Karen’s handwritten translations which I corrected and typed for her. The addition of her handwritten transcriptions and postcards reminded me of why I spent so much time with her. I have so many of them!
Kirstie in Tipu’s tent, exhibited in 2015 at the V&A11th May 2021 at 10:49 am #6060Katrina FinchModerator
Thank you very much Kirstie for those memories. No doubt that Karen considered you to be a friend and a very loyal one, as well as an esteemed colleague.
We are very grateful too for the tribute to Karen which appears on the Knitting History Forum, we have included the link to it here
Katrina and Alan