So, my exhibition was finally looming which is always a great motivator to get things done.
In fact there was a high level of panic (as always) which did produce results but, on reflection, I would now do it all very differently.
Ironically, having now completed my residency I feel all the ideas are suddenly rushing in and there are many things I have left undone which, without the deadline, I can ponder and complete at my own pace. So I will keep this blog open for the time being with space to add new stuff as it emerges. “Stuff” in this instance is not slang but a generative term to cover a range of outputs!
The exhibition was a joint venture of four of us, all producing work in response to the Mill and Mill Archive. Between us we produced very diverse, and personal responses to the site and whilst most of them were textile based, this is where the similarity ended. Setting up the exhibition therefore commanded a joint and co-ordinated approach of co-operation to produce a cohesive curated whole. This took longer than we thought but was worth the effort and I feel the overall result was a space which drew the viewer in and encouraged exploration rather than simple viewing. This was backed up by feedback from the gallery staff who reported that visitors were staying much longer to look at the work.
Despite reservations about my own work, I have to say that the overall exhibition was a delight to see and one of the best I have been lucky enough to be involved with. Thank you everyone!
Below are a few photos of the exhibition and my work. I hope you enjoy viewing them.
Robot Wallpaper Great fun to make and reminds me of 1970’s kids wallpapers….or maybe some sort of futuristic tartan!!
Objects of Desire
Casts made from some of the many objects found in and around the Mill.
Looms in the weaving shed have been great inspiration for colour as well as form.
The Finishing Shed – to be demolished shortly. Nothing lasts forever….
Barrows – one of the stitched pieces for the exhibition
Random Composition – Digital print on cotton canvas with additional infill embroidery. Textile Mill, Textile Response!
Colour is a major preoccupation for me so I’ve been using my photography to focus on areas of colour around the Mill that might inform a palette that I want to work with. When I usually work out colour, its quite an organic, intuitive process and whilst this is still an important part of the way I work, I thought a more systematic colour investigation could make for an interesting experiment to see if there are any common colour relationships throughout the mill spaces. And there are…..
There are blue and orange complimentaries everywhere throughout the mill and in particular with the industrial blue painted on the walls. There is also the engineered green of the machines and then so much rust, but this is tempered by small elements of pink. The deep oily blue-blacks are really striking and I really want to use this as an anchor point for my colours.
Walking through the derelict Mill buildings, I have come across so many strange objects which I tend to see as remnant sculptures, left behind as the industrial function departed. I don’t have the technical knowledge or language to name these objects for their function, and so, to me they become the contents of some big industrial cabinet of curiosites, and I have to resist the temptation to collect them for my own personal cabinet! These objects had purpose and utility but divested of their function and “abstracted from any practical context they take on a strictly subjective status” (Cultures of Collecting, Elsner and Cardinal (Eds) 1997), so I have have been deliberately trying to avoid naming them in order to analyse them purely for their shape, colour, texture …..and even smell!!
Some of these objects could easily be identified as tools of some sort, but others are far more weird, wonderful and positively Heath Robinson..esque! Some people viewing this blog may well be able to identify the contraption below…please do not contact me with a name or description of its purpose. I suspect my imagined purpose is far more outlandish than the reality and I want to keep it that way!
A lot of my work revolves around documenting through photography (though I am not a photographer!) and I now have a huge collection of photographs from around the Mill complex. I will be using these to develop some of my pieces for the exhibition in October but I have also found many of these objects quite intriguing, and simple recording them is not quite enough.
So, I have been borrowing a few from site and have taken casts of them to make new objects. So far I have only made three casts and this process is new to me so I am on a bit of a learning curve. But it has thrown up some interesting questions (well for me anyway!) which are about …..well you will have to judge for yourself if you come to see the exhibition. But in the meantime here are a few examples of my experiments so far….