Fremantle Biennale 2023

Fremantle Biennale 2024

In August of 2023 I received an email from an Australia based sound artist called Rebecca Riggs-Bennett asking for assistance on a project she was working on with her mum Rachel Riggs for the Fremantle Biennale 2023.

Both Rebecca and Rachel are Lancashire born and bred and moved to Western Australia in 2010. Rachel had completed her masters in fine art at UCLan, predominantly focusing on research into Horrockses textile industry and cotton mills. Their new project together planned to look at another part of Lancashire’s history – the Lancashire Cotton Famine and the deportation of Lancashire women to Walyalup (Fremantle), Australia in 1863.

They’d seen a video I’d created about Helmshore cotton mill in Lancashire and asked if I could assist them with some original recordings of the sounds of the machines. It was an honour to assist them and these sounds are now layered into an audio visual artwork they created for the Fremantle Biennale 2023 called ‘So Once You Were Here They Had You’ .

Fremantle Biennale 2024
Fremantle Biennale 2024

‘SO ONCE YOU WERE HERE THEY HAD YOU’

The beautifully produced project can be viewed here on YouTube.

Close to the submerged remnants of the Fremantle Long Jetty, an immersive re-telling of arrival and separation will unfold.

‘So once you were here they had you’ is an experiential audio-visual poem to the 50 young cotton-weaver women who arrived on the shores of Walyalup, journeying by ship from Lancashire over 110 days and nights in 1863. Created by electronic music composer Rebecca Riggs-Bennett and video artist Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson, this work takes place across Bathers Beach, re-tracing the steps of the women and the many others of the “Bride Ship” era.

So once you were here they had you is a reflective honouring of the time swept experiences of these women. Cross with us into an immersive, at times ghostly, real and imagined narrative of migration, loss and departure. – R. Riggs.

A promotional image for 'So Once You Were Here They Had You' // credit Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson
A promotional image for ‘So Once You Were Here They Had You’ // credit Elham Eshraghian-Haakansson

Original research, dramaturgy & collaboration: Rachel Riggs
Animator: Jarrad Russell
Dramaturgy & Co-Designer: Rachel Riggs
Narration: Angeliki Georga & Phoebe Georga
Featuring poetry of the Lancashire cotton famine (1861-1865) by University of Exeter and audio recordings by Catherine Hill and Helmshore Mill.

For further information on the project please visit Rebecca’s website.

Heritage of Lancashire Exhibition

A little textile inspiration from my YouTube Collection. Today it features some contemporary & traditional embroiderers from the English county of Lancashire in an exhibition celebrating the heritage of Lancashire.

The ‘Colours, Textures & Heritage of Lancashire’ group exhibition brings together work from  members of the Ribble Creative Stitchers and Bolton Stitch & Textile Groups.

Textile artist Susan Fielding guides us through the exhibition.

Artwork in the Heritage of Lancashire Exhibition
Artwork in the Heritage of Lancashire Exhibition

“The exhibition was inspired by the people and places of our home county. For some of us the rural landscapes of hills, moors and coastal areas, and the habitat they provide for native animals and birds were a major source of creativity. For others, the architecture of some of our historic buildings and the urban landscapes of the mill towns acted as a stimulus.”  

Members used a combination of both traditional and contemporary textile practices, coupled with mixed-media techniques, to produce creative and inspiring textile art.

Lancashire cotton mill workers wrapped in tweed shawls
Lancashire cotton mill workers wrapped in tweed shawls

The stunning venue – the Coach House Gallery at the 400 year old Astley Hall in Chorley, England – is a perfect setting for the work.

Filmed in September 2022. 

Linen Works Exhibition

A little textile inspiration from my YouTube Collection. Today it features stunning Modern Quilts from the Linen Works Exhibition by Sarah Hibbert.

Sarah combines hand stitching with linen textural fabric to create her modern artworks. Sarah’s gallery includes a selection of her recent work featured in her book From Collage to Quilt

Join author and modern quilter Sarah Hibbert  as she guides you through the colourful modern quilts in her Exhibition.  

Sarah Hibbert: https://www.sarahhibbertquilts.com/ 

Quilt from the Exhibition
Quilt from the Exhibition
Quilt from the Linen Works Exhibition
Quilt from the Linen Works Exhibition

Filmed at the Festival of Quilts 2022.