Saltaire Arts Trail 2016 - Each year at the Arts Trail there are one or two specially commissioned pieces or installations. Salts Mill, of course, owes its existence to the textile industry and this 'performance work', called Lasting Impressions, pays homage to that heritage, to the story of cloth and clothing. Artists Hannah Lamb and Claire Wellesley-Smith were inviting visitors to allow them to emboss a small porcelain tile with something from their clothing - the edge of a hem, a button, a zip, a piece of lace, a texture. Each tile when finished will be archived with a label sharing a personal narrative from the owner - how long they have had the item of clothing, its story, how they feel about it. In return, the visitor was invited to receive a little gold stitch in their clothing.
The Arts Trail is one of the few times in the year when the attic at Salts Mill is opened up. It used to be a spinning shed full of huge machines and is a vast and light-filled space, a work of art in its own right. During the Arts Trail it also housed the annual exhibition of Leeds Photographic Society, so it was well worth the long climb up the stairs for this visitor.
Whilst I was up there I was struck again by the patina of age in the spinning shed. It is one of the few areas of the Mill open to the public that has not been cleaned up and painted. The walls have traces of old paint and odd nooks and crannies that hark back to its working life. An apron hanging on a rusty hook may or may not have been linked to the art installation but it seemed rather poignant.
Another 'message' scrawled on the stone flagged floor references times past too, though I am not sure whether it relates to the opera stage sets designed by the artist David Hockney that were at one time displayed in Salts Mill, or to a performance of music from the Mozart opera that took place here. Lasting impressions...