Textiles have an incredible power to talk to us, if we can hear them. They comfort and console us, create memories, define who we are and what we might believe in. They are a detective story that we can hold. Haptic and Hue’s Tales of Textiles, hosted by handweaver, Jo Andrews, are an invitation to explore a world of colour and touch and listen to the chatter of cloth.


The second series of Haptic and Hue’s Tales of Textiles is currently being uploaded every fortnight on Thursdays.  If you would like to sign up for news and links to the podcasts as they are released, please use the form at the bottom of this page. If you are interested in the books that relate to each episode, or just the best books about textiles, you can find them on our new Haptic and Hue reading list, which is hosted by Elementum – a small independent bookshop and journal in Dorset.

Episode #13: A Feeling of  Warmth

Jo Andrews


Unravelling the journey that fleece takes from the fells to fabric. This episode tracks how greasy wool bred in the wind and rain of a Lake District Farm becomes a smartly tailored jacket, a beautifully knitted pullover or a lace weight shawl, fine enough to pull through a wedding ring.

Episode #12: A Feeling of  Resilience

Jo Andrews

Repairing Cloth and Mending Souls. On the face of it repairing and reinforcing textiles simply prolongs the life of our clothes and helps minimise textile waste, things worth having – but for many, it also delivers much more than that. The French sculptor, Louise Bourgeois said: ‘The act of sewing is a process of emotional repair’, it helps to centre us, and tells us stories about ourselves and the resilience of our families and communities.

Episode #11: A Feeling of Transformation: Part 2 – Preparation

Jo Andrews

Is costume design magic or camouflage? The second part of A Feeling of Transformation looks at the enormous heart and skill that goes into getting costumes right for screen and stage. Find out how costume designers look at textiles and fabric with a different eye.

Episode #10: A Feeling of Transformation: Part 1 – Performance

Jo Andrews

Do clothes conceal us or reveal us? Listen to how actors use clothes to make stories believable. Alessandro Nivola and Emily Mortimer, who have played a huge variety of roles between them, from mobsters to Tudor ladies in waiting, from Regency bucks to flower sellers, talk about why costume is so important to them.

Episode #9: A Feeling of Comfort

Jo Andrews

There is nowhere in the world quite like Gee’s Bend, Alabama with the story of how its quilt-makers were acclaimed as artists, and their work bought by galleries and museums around the world. Necessity is the mother of invention and this is particularly true in this small community, where for generations women have created quilts to keep out the cold and provide comfort for their families.

Episode #8: Introduction to Series 2

Jo Andrews

The new season of Haptic and Hue’s Tales of Textiles explores the way in which we use textiles to express our feelings. Each episode will focus on a different feeling from Comfort to Sorrow, Pain to Joy. Come armchair travelling with Haptic and Hue and unravel new stories about the central role cloth of all kinds plays in our lives.

Episode #7: Majesty and Mannequins

Jo Andrews

Catch her out of the corner of your eye as she skitters across the stage of history. She has seen revolutions, war, disaster, pandemics, peace and joy, and survived it all. She is probably 3,500 years old, maybe more. She is called Pandora.


This episode looks at the unseen role miniature mannequins, or Pandora figures, have played in diplomacy, war, royalty, communications, and marketing, down the centuries from the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, through the Second World War, until today. Not bad to have been in fashion for several thousand years.

Episode #6: Making Men

Jo Andrews

Sewing, mending, knitting and all the fibre skills are seen as ‘Women’s Work’ in Western cultures. Why is this? We hear from men who were taught to sew and knit in wartime, in prison or in isolation, and we talk to men who freely choose to stitch, knit and spin as a hobby. What are the barriers men face if they take up these skills and what does the world lose if they don’t? This episode looks not just at the gender divide of the West but also thinks about the fabric traditions of Africa where men are deeply involved in textile production.

Episode #5: Yarn Yarn Yarn

Jo Andrews

This episode tells the story of the top designer of fabrics to the French fashion industry. It looks at the way in which a modern supplier, competing in a global market, still uses ancient weaving technology with handweavers working on table looms to produce thousands of fresh designs every year.

Episode #4: Stitches in Time

Jo Andrews

The Haute Couture embroiderers of Paris are amongst Europe’s most celebrated and skilled needlewomen. This episode looks at the artisans who sit behind the seams of the garments we see on the catwalks and in the fashion magazines. It tracks the history of haute couture and thinks about how it is changing in response to modern tastes and trends.

Episode #3: A Weaver’s Tale

Jo Andrews

What does it mean to earn your living as a maker? Can you feed yourself? This episode looks at the renowned hand-weaver, Janet Phillips, who has done just that for more than 50 years. It celebrates her half-century at the loom and asks what it takes to achieve this.

Episode #2: Material Women

Jo Andrews


The story of the elegant, crisp and artistic textile designs that burst upon the world in the 1950s. It looks at the women who created the Mid-Century Modern fabrics and in doing so became part of the first cohort of women to dominate any field of design. It thinks about how these fabrics transcended their function and became symbols of peace and better times.


Episode #1: Colour is Mine

Jo Andrews


Britain’s first black designer of international standing was a magician of colour. The Queen wore her dress fabrics, cruise liners sailed with her murals on their walls and millions of homes used her designs, but few can remember her name. Find out who she was and why she matters.

Episode #0: Introduction to Series One

Jo Andrews


History is full of the sound of spindles, the clatter of mills and the reek of dye baths as the knowledge of how to make beautiful fabrics has been gathered around the world. This episode introduces Haptic and Hue’s first series of podcasts and starts to uncover some of the buried tales of textiles.

Images from Haptic and Hue’s first podcast series – Tales of Textiles


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