ULITA – an Archive of International Textiles


Yoruba Textiles

Date: 5 September 201215 March 2013

The Yoruba of south western Nigeria are amongst the most prolific art making people of Africa. A major aspect of their creative culture is the design, production and use of textiles. Yoruba textile creativity has developed through a number of different technical processes and shows remarkable adaptability through time. Prolific weaving traditions are complemented by innovative dyeing and printing conventions. Through time these traditions have developed to incorporate modern materials such as Lurex, and today narrow strip loom cloth remains the material of Yoruba prestige clothing in Nigeria and its diaspora. Read more »


Date: 1 June 201220 July 2012

‘Transformation’, an exhibition by Rudranil Das and Briony Thomas, explores a range of concepts underlying structure and form in the decorative arts and design. The interrelated theories of proportion, symmetry, tessellation, fractals and visual perception are considered through the creation of geometric forms. Techniques of textile wrapping, laser cutting and etching have been used in the construction of the two- and three- dimensional works on display. Read more »

Dress Rehearsal II

Date: 20 April 201225 May 2012

Based in the School of Design and underpinned by research excellence in textiles at the University of Leeds, the Yorkshire Fashion Archive is a new, publically accessible collection of haute couture, fashion garments and everyday clothing. It provides a unique historical and cultural record of Yorkshire life and documents clothing produced, purchased and worn by Yorkshire folk throughout the 20th Century. Read more »
Shawl Detail

Sadler and the Shawls

Date: 13 September 201130 March 2012

The origins, fashion, construction and designs of the Kashmir Shawl, and the origins of how a collection of over thirty shawls and hundreds of fragments came to be held in the ULITA! Both themes will be explored in ULITA’s exhibition of its Collection of Kashmir and Paisley shawls, many of which were donated soon after the 1st World War by then Vice-Chancellor, Sir Michael Sadler on his return from carrying out educational research in India. Read more »

A Catalogue of World Textiles

Date: 5 October 201027 May 2011

Fine embroidery from India and the Mediterranean; delicate Japanese stencils; rare Egyptian costume; bold Pakistani prints; sumptuous Kashmiri shawls; fascinating pattern books, zebra and armadillo fibres, and how to make fibreglass curtains! With generous funding from the Clothworkers’ Company, staff at ULITA have, since 2008, undertaken the task of documenting and conserving seven major international collections. This has culminated in a database of over three thousand records, many of which are now available to view online. Read more »

My Mill - My Heritage

Date: 8 June 201013 August 2010

This exhibition will showcase wall hangings and video diaries of local schools and community groups following visits to Bradford Industrial Museum, Armley Mills, Thwaites Mill and Hainsworth Mill in Stanningley (a working mill). The work will depict textiles mills and their machinery, using the craft of collage and stitching, and supplemented by other handcraft techniques. This Heritage Lottery funded project and exhibition is running in partnership with the South Leeds City Learning Centre. Read more »

The Yarns of a Travelling Professor

Date: 2 March 201014 May 2010

Calling himself a ‘typical product of the Clothworkers’ Department of the University of Leeds’, Professor Aldred F Barker rose through the ranks to become its third Chair of the Department of Textile Industries, from 1914 to 1933. He published many texts and reports, predominantly on the international wool industry, drawing on visits to Europe, the Americas, South Africa, India and the Far East. Barker was a longstanding supporter of the Clothworkers' Museum(now ULITA). Read more »

A History of the World: The Qing Dragon Robe

Date: 1 January 201014 May 2010

This highly embroidered silk dragon robe was made according to the imperial clothing regulations of the Qing dynasty, where civilian and military officials were required to wear cloth rank badges to denote their social class. This robe is part of a collection of Chinese textiles given to the University of Leeds in the 1930s by Professor Aldred Farrer Barker, the then recently retired Professor of Textile Industries. Barker’s profession allowed him to travel widely, being invited to report on textiles production and manufacture in Australia, Peru, Canada, Japan and China, where he advised on the development of textiles education in Shanghai. He was also a supporter of the Clothworkers' Museum which was created in the department in the 1890s. We hope to exhibit Barker's publications and papers in March. Read more »

75 Years of Stitching in Yorkshire

Date: 6 October 200926 February 2010

The Embroiderers’ Guild was formed in London in 1906 and members travelled from all over the country to the meetings. In 1934, a group of ladies established the Yorkshire Branch, only the second branch outside London and now the longest serving branch, celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2009. The first president of the Embroiderers’ Guild was Louisa Pesel, a teacher and expert in embroidery who had travelled worldwide collecting samples of embroidery. Her life’s collection and notebooks are held at ULITA. This exhibition presents samples from the Branch archive and work of present members, including the results of a competition this year based on the theme of Natural Fibres to complement the current exhibition at ULITA. Read more »

Natural Fibres: A World Heritage

Date: 6 October 200914 May 2010

Natural fibres include those fibres of plant or animal origin, which can be spun into yarn, thread or rope. Woven, knitted, matted or bonded, they form fabrics that are essential to society. To celebrate the International Year of Natural Fibres and in association with the recent 2009 Ars Textrina International Textiles Conference, ULITA is highlighting the use of natural fibres in textiles from across the globe. Selections from ULITA’s constituent collections include silks from Qing Dynasty China, shawls of cashmere, Mediterranean embroideries of linen and silk, Javanese batik cottons, an embroidered ship cloth from Sumatra, ikats from Indonesia, crafted items from New Zealand, West Africa, Malaysia and Turkey, and various twentieth century textiles. Read more »

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