One woman’s passion helps families preserve their most important keepsakes.
Written by Hayleigh Worgan
Ashley Webb, owner of Bustle Textiles, has been fascinated with textiles and fabrics since childhood. A 6th grade trip to the historic Maymont Museum in Richmond, Virginia sparked her interest. As she began to plan out her career, her enthusiasm for textiles led her to pursue internships with museums as a college student. She later received her Masters of Arts in Museum Studies from Bournemouth University, and has over ten years of experience as a Museum Collections Specialist. Currently, she works as the Curator of Collections and Exhibitions for the Historical Society of Western Virginia.
“They have a massive and fantastic collection,” she says of the Historical Society, “including a wedding dress from the 1870s. The waist was 21 inches! Making a mannequin for that dress was really difficult.”
Of course, there is a bit of magic in the challenge for Webb. Thus, her love of preservation and sharing meaningful pieces with the community has gradually translated into something larger.
Within the past year, she has started taking clients for her own business, Bustle Textiles. Described as a “museum quality preservation” service, she works with everything from wedding dresses and costumes to ephemera. She hopes that, with her museum background, she can help customers take better care of their items and preserve them properly for generations to come.
Webb’s preservation techniques include acid-free, museum quality materials. She does not use cardboard or plastic, and the items are not sealed. Her barrier board-free boxes allow the textiles to breathe, and provide access so customers can view the items when they choose. She knows that even something as simple as accessibility, when overlooked, can have disastrous repercussions down the road.
“A customer’s daughter was getting married earlier this year, so she pulled her dress out from storage for her daughter to try on,” she recalls. “It had been boxed for 25 years, so she didn’t think anything of it when she didn’t recognize any of the details, but after her daughter put it on, she realized that it wasn’t her dress! The dry cleaner that had cleaned and preserved it after she got married switched her dress with another bride’s and never knew the difference.”
At Bustle, attention to detail is part of the process from beginning to end. A personalized dust cover, which can be monogrammed, is provided to each customer in the color of their choosing. Customers receive white gloves to handle their dress and a Mylar sleeve to include a photograph of their wedding or newspaper clipping.
Webb is currently taking clients by appointment only. You can find out more about Bustle Textiles and how to make an appoint
Hayleigh is a freelance writer, independent author, and writing consultant. In 2017, she published her first novel, The Huntsman: A modern retelling of Red Riding Hood. She spends a lot of time traveling and exploring new regions for inspiration, but Roanoke will always be her home. www.hayleighworgan.com