An international exploration of Cloth and Memory [2] at Salts Mill in Yorkshire

By Sarah Jackson | 15 August 2013

Exhibition Preview: Cloth and Memory {2}, Salts Mill, August 18 – November 3 2013

Yoriko Yoneyama, 'Rice Dreams' 2.
Yoriko Yoneyama, 'Rice Dreams' 2© Yoriko Yoneyama
Fabric is everywhere in our daily lives. We wear it constantly against our skin, so it’s no wonder that the feel of a particular cloth or the sight of a certain pattern has the potential to trigger a powerful memory.

The intersection between cloth and memory is explored in a new exhibition at Salts Mill in West Yorkshire. Cloth and Memory {2} examines both personal memory and the memories stored within the building itself.

Bringing together 23 international artists working in textiles the exhibition explores personal memories and responds to some of the hidden histories that live on in the mill. The range of materials and techniques used is wide, bringing together archival material and new technologies.

Photography, found objects, poetry and performance also help to narrate the relationship between cloth, memory and Salts Mill itself.

Built in 1953, Salts Mill and the model industrial village of Saltaire were created by Sir Titus Salt as a positive alternative to the squalid conditions of industrial Victorian England. At the time, the mill was the most modernl in Europe, its Spinning Room believed to be the largest industrial room in the world, measuring 168 by 16 metres. Today the arts complex is home to cafes, shops and permanent exhibtions that include several works by David Hockney.

Apart from a new roof, the Spinning Room has not been restored or refurbished and is not normally open to the public. Now the space has been transformed into a gallery as it hosts a variety of exciting works from artists from across the globe.

Yoriko Yoneyama’s 'Rice Dreams' 2, a large-scale installation piece made from thousands of translucent grains of rice and the remnants of silk worm cocoons aims to evoke a feeling of falling raindrops.

Caren Garfen celebrates the unknown women who worked in the mill. Using details gathered from the 1891 census, Garfen has embroidered white plaques onto vintage wooden mills to commemorate their lives.

Jeanette Appleton’s response to the building and its past comes in the form of felt books mimicking the all-important ledgers that once recorded the activity within the factory. These books line the wall cavities, absorbing the sound of the Spinning Room.

The opening night will see dancer Helen Cerina inviting people to bring jumpers of any colour, shape or size to create a Spontaneous Act of Happiness. The jumpers will be sewn together to create twisted dancing garments for people to wear during street dances.

  • Open Monday-Friday 10am-5.30pm (10am-6pm Saturday and Sunday). Admission free. Follow the venue on Twitter @SaltsMill.

More pictures:

Kari Steihaug
Kari Steihaug© Kari Steihaug
Machiko Agano
© Machiko Agano
Koji Takaki, Work in progress
Koji Takaki, Work in progress© Koji Takaki
Jeanette Appleton, Work in progress
Jeanette Appleton, Work in progress© Jeanette Appleton
Caren Garfen, Reel Lives (Detail)
Caren Garfen, Reel Lives (Detail)© Caren Garfen
Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.
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