Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Passing the half-way mark

Stitched wool effect
I know it's a cliche but I really can't believe how fast the time is going at Farfield Mill. I am now more than half way through the residency but I'm happy with the amount of work I'm managing to get done. I mentioned the lovely rough grey and brown wool I found in the mill shop a day or so ago. I used them in samples based on studies of the cracks in the floorboards at the mill. When I had a bit of a crawl around and a good look I realised that they were full of wool fibres from all the years of spinning and weaving plus lots of wood splinters from the pine floorboards, no doubt scuffed up by all the millworkers' clogs. A fascinating and almost invisible record of the mill's past to add to my studies of the oil patches left by the long gone looms. I think I now have enough sample work for the work I am going to produce inspired by the mill so I spent most of today working up samples based on the designs I came up with yesterday inspired by the brass runners and their shiny screwheads in R F G Hollett & Son's bookshop. After a couple of goes I hit upon the idea of using a gold chiffon circle stitched to the hessian then padded with sheep fleece for the screwhead shapes, a couched black black wool yarn for the slots then a really dense black velvet hooked around it for the waxy black residue left after years of polishing the floor. I was pleased with the results but now need to do more work deciding what the final form of the textile piece will be.


Design work for Hollett's bookshop
Sample based on designs for Hollett's bookshop


  1. How lovely! Love the idea of scratching around for centuries old threads stuck in the floorboards and then stitching them into your work. From someone who has to touch walls in old buildings to feel the stories they hold this is enchanting stuff.

  2. Pa! Sarah has beaten me to it. I also love your forensic trail. I visualise you with a monster brass-bound magnifying glass, scouring the grooves, crannies and pointings of the mill's fabric, for tangible inspiration.

  3. Lovely comments guys! What I'd really like is a proper microscope. I used to use my father's wonderful old brass one in its wooden box. No idea what happened to it unfortunately. Do hope you'll both be able to visit the mill in the autumn to see The Read Threads exhibition - starts 24 Sept 2011.