Gina Pierce, textile designer and lecturer, gave the first of this year’s Frederick Parker Lectures in March entitled ‘The Archive is Alive’.

The event, which is usually held at Furniture Makers’ Hall but took place via Zoom because of COVID-19 restrictions, took place on Thursday 25 March, with around 200 people in attendance.

The lecture demonstrated what an inspiring and valuable resource the Parker Knoll Archive is. Gina explained how she used a variety of details from the archive, ranging from fabric samples, handwritten accounts through to cutting patterns, to create textile designs which explore how digital processes can be combined with hand-production techniques.

Among the examples she illustrated was a length of cloth she had designed and screen printed that was then handed over to challenge the creativity of students and friends. Interestingly this revealed that ‘the young’ were generally less capable of doing something decorative or creative with a length of fabric than older people, raising the question of whether this signalled a generational loss of practicality.

Another major project she had undertaken was the Big Blanket for the homeless charity Crisis, in order to raise awareness of homelessness in London through a community art project. Inspired again by a Parker Knoll fabric, a pixel pattern unified fifty blankets that were made by 200 people. Each blanket consisted of 24 squares, knitted or embroidered, so that when laid out together one huge pattern was formed that measured 10 metres by 7.5 metres. The blankets were then distributed to homeless people.

To sign up for access to the second Frederick Parker Lecture, “A Royal Seat – the story of British Coronation Furniture” to be given by Luke Honey at 6.00pm on Thursday 1 April 2021, go to

To find out more about the Frederick Parker Collection and how to support its work by becoming a Friend go to

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