Friday 18 January 2013

Spinning Yarns

I love old industrial buildings and am always vastly cheered to see these great old spaces get a new lease of life, I love a good yarn, a tall tale and am very partial to rust and peeling layers of paint or wall paper. I am also trying to follow Kate Lynch's mending example and am trying to use or reuse work that has served it's original purpose. So I was delighted to receive the open call from artist Nita Nathwani to add a piece of work to the show she is creating / curating at the LBC Depot in response to a former hosiery factory in Charnwood. On her posterous page she writes:-

"Doors that locked forever on a section of Leicester's hosiery and knitwear industry will open up to welcome new creativity in its cultural quarter.  The old Charnwood building is soon to breathe new life after being cobwebbed since the 1990's.  'Makers' Yard is the oldest surviving hosiery factory in the East Midlands that's currently being restored into a dynamic and inspiring workspace for creative entrepreneurs, opening late January 2013. In a lead to this opening, I will be curating an exhibition and showing my work, helped with collaboration with other makers, at the nearby LCB Depot gallery" 

It was an intriguing brief with a tight deadline but in the spirit of the new year I decided I would try and make something for the show. Nita provided an inspiring range of source images and I began by manipulating some, adding them to some of my own images of cobwebs and stocking prints, with the notion of printing them on to fabric and working from there. However the bad weather set in and I was forced to use what ever was to hand.

I think I'll be going back to work on the digital images at a later stage 

however the other images can be viewed here

Part of the Coombe Abbey Park Tea Towel Installation

Some of the textile inks failed

and many images ran in the rain

but I do find it difficult to throw good materials away. I have also been given quite a stash of strange and interesting fabrics over the years which I like to think of as the Dorothy Jones, Joan Dyer and Sheila Rastall Archive of Tailoring and Dress Making. I raided the loft and the shed/studio undeterred by the freezing conditions in both places and emerged with supplies!

I decided to make a pair of soft sculpture jugs from up-cycled hand printed tea towels and vintage woollen fabrics which answered part of Nita's brief "Your version of a jug in your material. It does not have to have a functional use."

The jugs have sheep, wool, knitting, stockings, boots, shoes and corsets over-printed on them and are constructed with both machine and hand stitching. 

Having formed part of an outdoor installation they have been aged by wind and weather.

The jugs tie together thoughts I have had about the corset industry in Market Harborough, the boot and shoe industry of Northamptonshire, the knitting industry of Leicestershire and the former importance of wool as a raw material for many garments and industries, this once precious commodity is now often seen as a waste product. 

The pieces have raw and unfinished edges, when I thought about the jug shape I wanted to make I had an image of wool sacks in my mind. The jugs have a soft, collapsing shape, reminiscent of and empty sock or stocking' I'm calling the pair Collapsing Histories, I think they are strangely touching and quite tactile.

The Spinning Yarns Makers Showcase can be seen at the LBC Depot and features a selection of work from artists and designer-makers in the East Midlands, to coincide with the launch of the new Makers’ Yard studio space in the Grade II-listed former hosiery factory at 82-86 Rutland Street, Leicester

The exhibition includes work by Nita Nathwani, Lisa Godrich, Tracie Murchisson, Carole Miles, Melanie King, Claire Newberry, Minnie Techman, and Sophie Cullinan. 

January 22nd - 7th Feb 2013
9.00am - 5.00pm
Monday to Friday

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