As part of the first British Textile Biennial in October this year I am developing a new piece of work, Mr Gatty’s Experiment Shed. This project is supported by Arts Council England and I am grateful to Hannah Lamb and Chris Squires for their additional curatorial, installation and technical support and to Community Solutions North West who are hosting the work.
Mr Gatty’s Experiment Shed explores the layered histories of a former industrial site in Accrington, East Lancashire, the purpose built ‘experiment shed’ of F.A Gatty, 19th century textile industrialist and dye innovator. In the bicentenary year of Gatty’s birth this new interdisciplinary work, created through an authentic engagement and co-production process with local residents will produce an installation in this unique space. It will allow a reimagining of the physical ephemera of the industry and the raw materials that drove it. A focus on the heritage of the madder plant, slow growing, entangled and embedded in the place will add to this sensory experience. On October 25th and 26th there will be an opportunity to visit the installation and view work co-curated with the local community. Also on the 25th October I will be delivering a practical workshop about the madder plant using materials grown on site. Madder was a significant dye in this part of Pennine Lancashire from the late 18th century and used in Turkey red dyeing and printing.
I have been engaged as Artist in Residence in this area of Pennine Lancashire since 2016, commissioned by Super Slow Way. This is an arts programme shaped by local communities working alongside a wide range of artists and organisations. I work with local participants at Community Solutions North West a social enterprise based at Elmfield Hall, near Accrington. I have written more about the ‘Local Colour’ residency in the September issue of Embroidery magazine. The British Textile Biennial programme will shortly be available here with full details of this event and many others across Pennine Lancashire between 3rd October and 3rd November 2019.