Reviving Norwich's Textile Industry

4 08 2009

I know I’ve taken this blog in an entirely different direction than I origianlly intended. This is probably because what you really want to do WILL surface, if you let it. Close just doesn’t really count, no matter how “unrealistic” what you really want to do is.

I want to establish a contemporary kind of high-tech cottage textile industry, in Norwich, because Norwich should really have one. Schools and universities in the Norwich area graduate large numbers of folks with textile qualifications. Norwich University College of the Arts is even planning a fashion program. Many of those students would like to remain in Norfolk. In fact, they do, doing jobs they aren’t nearly as interested in as they are interested in textiles, and doing or selling a bit of what they would truly love to be doing on the side. I think that’s a real pity.

Wool and alpaca and a natural dye company are all present within the county. (I hear that farmers are burning the wool or giving it away to whoever will pay for the sheering, another real pity.) Linen and silk is produced in the EU, and if Turkey joins it, cotton will be too. High quality cotton.

The technology for taking fiber to  products has been automated and has shrunk to the point that all the equipment needed could fit into a room not much bigger than the average living room. And there is no need for the work to be near as punishing to the human body.

I envision a new kind of high-tech cottage textile industry.