‘The First Day in the Mill’ is a piece that harks back to my Lancashire roots and the stories I heard as a child. It’s exhibiting in the Quilt Creations category at The Festival of Quilts 2019. It features 61 elongated hexagons – or cloth ‘weaving shuttles’ – each embroidered with a job in the cotton mill. The central panel features a poem by Louisa Bearman, written in Lancashire Dialect, about her First Day in the Mill when she was thirteen.
The cloth is a mixture of modern, preloved and vintage cotton – some from the Arnold’s Attic Collection – and some have been naturally dyed to create a soft mix of textures and tones throughout the piece. The centre of the work features a Lancashire Rose and a vintage weaving shuttle, given to me by my father.
This is a very personal piece. It shares some of the thoughts and emotions that my own family experienced in years gone by. My Grandad Nixon was twelve and his mother was ten on their first day in the mill.
It’s entirely handmade and hand embroidered.