Saltaire Arts Trail 2017
For the origins of the 'performative and participative artwork' that took place in the spinning room on the top floor of Salts Mill during the Arts Trail, you have to go back a year. Last year, the artists Hannah Lamb and Claire Wellesley-Smith invited people to let them emboss a small piece of their clothing - a button, a seam, a zip, some lace - on a porcelain tile and asked them to write a label giving some facts and feelings about the item of clothing thus immortalised. (See here). This year, they were asking people to weave the labels into new work, using a variety of different types of warp threads.
It is a way of connecting the heritage of the textile mill with our everyday experience and the clothes we wear from day to day. Perhaps it sounds a bit daft, but it was quite moving for me to see thread and weaving in the breathtaking space that is the relatively untouched top floor of Salts Mill, a space that somehow echoes with the history it holds. Interesting too, to be able to touch, feel and experience the differences, in both their raw and spun states, between the various natural and synthetic threads we use.