I'm working on finding out more about my family and the Irish Linen industry. I've stretched my poor mum's memory to breaking point in my search for information. She can recall that her mother was chosen to weave parachute fabric during the war, which has got me really intrigued. I've googled every permutation I can think of, but I can't get any information on this. Undeterred I have emailed the Linen Hall Library in Belfast, and the Imperial War Museum. Hopefully one of them will get back to me with more details. My mum can also remember that her uncle, James "Jimmy" Baird, started out in a room in the factory that was really wet, and the men worked in bare feet with their trouser legs rolled up. I'm guessing it was the room where the linen was washed and stretched??? Again, I need more details. Uncle Jimmy went on to work in the print room, and he manually screen printed the tea towels until the process was mechanised. He continued in the print room until he retired. Sadly both he and my grandmother, his sister, died decades ago, so I have no one I can ask my questions to.
Fortunately my aunt has managed to find 5 vintage Samuel Lamont and Sons tea towels, including the famous "Amazing Grace" one. They are being posted to me, and I will photograph them to use in my Textile Stories workshop at the weekend. I've got a pack of Crafter's Images Photo Fabric to print my pictures on to, to stitch into my altered wearable art garment. I bought an Irish linen blouse from eBay to use as my base garment.
I strongly suspect that I won't be able to tell the whole story I have in mind in this single project, so there are lots of ideas pinging around in my head. I really want to create something for future generations of the family to appreciate what their ancestors did.