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Festival pays homage to Sudbury's rich silk weaving heritage




A celebration of Sudbury’s rich silk-weaving heritage drew visitors to an inaugural festival held on Saturday.

Organiser Ruth Philo said the hope is for the event to be held annually, with a development grant sought to continue the initiative.

“People came from big distances and they really enjoyed the walks and talks, the exhibition stands and especially the Vivienne Westwood exhibition,” she said.

“We had a really positive response and I think it will really put Sudbury on the map.”

Sudbury Silk Festival held at St Peters Church, Sudbury - Georgia Cooke demostrates silk weaving..Pic - Richard Marsham. (16248638)
Sudbury Silk Festival held at St Peters Church, Sudbury - Georgia Cooke demostrates silk weaving..Pic - Richard Marsham. (16248638)

She said the town is unique in Europe in having five silk-weaving companies importing more than110 tonnes of Chinese silk thread.

“More than 300 highly-skilled people work in the silk mills, producing cloth for stately homes, fashion houses and high-profile customers,” she said. “The Queen’s coronation robes were woven in Sudbury, as was Lady Diana’s wedding dress.

“Who can forget Michelle Obama’s fantastic blue silk dress she wore on a state visit, or the Adele’s wonderful green dress that she wore at the Oscars – all made from Sudbury silk.”

Sudbury Silk Festival held at St Peters Church, Sudbury - Sarah Sherry with some David Williams Silk..Pic - Richard Marsham. (16248641)
Sudbury Silk Festival held at St Peters Church, Sudbury - Sarah Sherry with some David Williams Silk..Pic - Richard Marsham. (16248641)

She said the town’s Weavers’ Piece public garden had been restored to show off the plants used to provide the natural dyes.

Sudbury Silk Festival held at St Peters Church, Sudbury - some of the silk work on display..Pic - Richard Marsham. (16248644)
Sudbury Silk Festival held at St Peters Church, Sudbury - some of the silk work on display..Pic - Richard Marsham. (16248644)

As well as the main festival in St Peter’s, there were silk-related talks in the town hall and historical walks around the town, with silk mill shops open for the event.

There was a print workshop for children to have a go at silk screening, while Gainsborough’s House showcased the Vivienne Westwood exhibition.


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