Colour Exhibition – Swiss Fibre Art

I’m pleased to announce that Worker Bees and Sound of the Mill #1 & #2 are part of the Colour Exhibition curated by Swiss Fibre Art. The textile exhibition takes place at Galerie Kalina, Am Plat71 1, D-94209 Regen, Germany 2nd-30th July 2022.

Given that ‘Black, Grey & Yellow’ is the exhibition’s colour theme, the first thing that popped into my head was a Manchester worker bee, and because I wanted a slightly industrial and aged look to the work, I chose to stitch into eco printed cloth.

Colour Exhibition - Worker Bees -hand embroidered in vintage threads in yellow and slate grey
Colour Exhibition: Worker Bees – hand embroidered in vintage threads in yellow and slate grey.

I usually stitch in red thread, so this was a challenge for me. I liked the result so much that I created two companion pieces called Sound of the Mill #1 & #2. Each piece features Lancashire dialect poetry from ‘The Cotton Mill’ poem first published in The Bolton Chronicle in 1864.

Colour Exhibition: Sound of the Mill #1
Sound of the Mill #1
Sound of the Mill #2
Sound of the Mill #2

Following this exhibition, the artworks are travelling to a gallery in Switzerland.

Sound of the Mill

Hand Embroidered Sound of the Mill

Sound of the Mill #1 & #2 – created as companion pieces for ‘Worker Bees’ – feature Lancashire Dialect poetry from The Cotton Mill poem, first published in The Bolton Chronicle in 1864.

Sound of the Mill #1
Sound of the Mill #1

The growth of cotton manufacturing during the industrial revolution changed the landscape of Northern towns forever. Workers lived in rows of terraced homes within earshot of the Mill they worked in, each long day of work starting with the call of the factory bell. By 1860 there were 2650 cotton mills in Lancashire, employing more than 440 000 people and producing half of the World’s cotton.

This extraordinary poem, by an anonymous machine operator, with its onomatopoeic effects and rhythms echoed from heavy industry captures concisely the atmosphere of the working mill. It moves from the sounds of the machines to the behaviour of the human operators.

Sound of the Mill #2
Sound of the Mill #2

Size: each panel 13 x 9 cm. Hand embroidered and hand stitched using vintage Sylko threads onto cotton cloth which has been eco rust printed.

These pieces were created as a nod to James and Jane Nixon, my ancestors who worked as weavers in the Mills in Blackburn at the time this poem was written.

Sound of the Mill and Worker Bees
Sound of the Mill #1 & #2 and Worker Bees

I was delighted to share them in an exhibition of my hand embroidered work at the Saltaire Arts Trail 2022, Salts Mill, Bradford.

recent exhibition of work at Saltaire Arts Trail 2022, Salts Mill, Bradford
A recent exhibition of work at Saltaire Arts Trail 2022, Salts Mill, Bradford

These pieces form part of a body of work on Lancashire dialect poetry from the Lancashire Cotton Famine 1861-1865.