Carole Douglas began collecting textile treasures when she was six years old and a great aunt let her loose amongst her trunks of old clothing. She arrived home with a crystal encrusted ‘flapper’ dress and a heavily embroidered Spanish shawl. Carole grew up surrounded by cloth, yarn and projects in various stages of completion; her family on both sides sewed, knitted, darned, crocheted, tatted and embroidered and her grandfather made covered buttons in a converted railway carriage in the backyard. Her earliest textile memory is of sorting out her grandmother’s darning basket so it comes as no surprise to find a collection of antique sewing aids from a bygone era on display in her studio/gallery/showroom.
Carole’s early travels are marked by the textiles she collected along the way; a Mola reverse applique from Panama, backstrap weaving from Guatemala and sarapes from Mexico when she travelled overland from Panama to Canada; Pacific adventures yielded tapa from Tonga, Tivaevae from the Cook Islands and pandanus baskets from Samoa; travels in Malaysia and Indonesia reinforced her love of batik and weaving; Papua New Guinea added billums and baskets and then along came India …
Since her first foray into Gujarat in 1996 Carole has collected rare and fine examples of the traditional textile arts of Kutch in particular. Her collection covers the major traditions of Ajrakh printing, bandhani, weaving and embroidery for which Kutch is world renowned, and the lesser known traditions of Rogan painting, batik, beadwork and namda. Each piece in her collection is a testament to community, history, ethnic diversity, belief system, skill and technique and each contains its own narrative. Through these examples Carole shares her knowledge and her admiration for the artisans of Kutch and wider Gujarat. She also travels to other parts of India and her collection grows accordingly.