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"Reaching Out"

The Guilds of Region C welcomed all Guild members to the 12th biennial Conference which was be held at Chancellors Hotel, Manchester from 25th - 27th April, 2014.

The AGM took place on Saturday 26 April, from 11 am - 4 pm.

Reserved exclusively for Guild members during the duration of the Conference, Chancellors Hotel is a Grade II listed mansion located in Fallowfield, Manchester, and is surrounded by five acres of beautiful, well-maintained gardens, providing a relaxed, scenic and picturesque setting. A 3 star rated hotel, Chancellors offers spacious and comfortable accommodation, including ensuite bedrooms complete with flat screen television,free high speed broadband, hair dryer, telephone, and complimentary tea and coffee. Situated a mile to the south of Manchester City Centre, it enjoys excellent transport links to all key Manchester shops, attractions, amenities and places of interest. It has free onsite parking and is also convenient for both Manchester Piccadilly Train Station and several major bus routes, in and out of the city.

The theme for this years Conference - Reaching Out, was inspired by Manchester’s close association with textiles. From the very beginning, it "reached out", and continues to reach out across the world, to embrace the new technologies of the day and drew workers from their homes to work in the wide array of purpose built mills surrounding the city. In turn, it built not only a world class airport but an inland port and waterway, to reach out to the four corners of the globe, for both skills and resources to service its growing textile industry. Forever seeking new markets for its finished goods, Manchester is continuing to reach out across the world, with high level talks currently underway between Government and the manufacturing sector, to revive its textile industry to compete on both quality and price, with overseas manufacturers.

Nestling as it is, in the heart of Britain, Manchester lies within easy access of North Wales, Merseyside, Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Yorkshire, and Derbyshire - the home of Sir Richard Arkwright's Cromford Mill - the world's first successful water powered cotton spinning mill. Excellent road and rail links allow visitors to the Conference, the opportunity to reach out and explore the North West and its surrounding regions.

Through a programme of inspirational speakers, the 2014 Conference aimed to ‘reach out’ to all Guild attendees and encouraged them further their own horizons, be it developing new skills or expanding awareness of our crafts.

The Speakers

The Conference opened on Friday evening with a warm welcome being extended by the Association to the new president, Dr Jenny Balfour - Paul, who will deliver the opening lecture. Dr Balfour-Paul has for two decades worked extensively in the field of indigo dying and is an Honorary Research Fellow at Exeter University.

The second of our guest speakers, Emma Sheldon gave the first lecture on Saturday morning, prior to the AGM. Emma is a research based textile designer who is this year's winner of both the NEWH (Network of Executive Women in Hospitality) Award and The Textile Society Postgraduate Bursary Award. Having worked closely with Audi on a number of exhibitions, she has a highly analytical approach to fabric choice.

Sunday opened with Mr Paul Crookes, founder and owner of the Halifax Spinning Company. Paul is a passionate exponent of British wool and has tailored his business to meet the needs of individual, small scale operators rather than that of large commercial companies.

Following refreshments, the fourth of our chosen speakers Jan Garside, delivered the closing lecture. Jan is a renowned weaver and selected member of Design Nation and the Design Factory. Jan likes the idea of making something original, starting with just one thread and watching it grow into the visual expression of an idea. Often incorporating vintage yarns into her pieces, she gives them a contemporary twist by combining them with modern synthetic yarns.

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