Sunday, 8 May 2011

The start of week two at Farfield Mill

Stella Adams-Schofield, The Read Threads Residency May 2011 from Karen Griffiths on Vimeo.
Stella and I were both in the top floor studio at Farfield Mill today and got lots of work done along with lots of chatting over the project in general and our collaborative pieces in particular. All in all it felt like a proper Dent 'sitting' with plenty of gossip, stories and laughter alongside lots of serious textile production.

Stella will post about what she was making, tomorrow, so here I'll just talk about my day. I actually spent most of it cracking on with a ragwork sample from my study of the oil stained boards at the mill. I hunted out some wonderful imagery last night of the great black clouds of oily smoke produced by burning oil refineries. I want to try and capture some of the malevolent energy of these roiling boiling hot clouds. I also wanted to try and achieve the dense blackness of Richard Wilson's amazing 20:50, a huge steel tank full of viscous black used sump oil on permanent display at the Saatchi Gallery. I managed to finish the sample by the end of the day and was happy with the effect. 
Study for sample

I now have to decide how large I want the finished piece to be and whether I can collect enough black 'rags' together to complete it or whether I want to make it entirely from hand-dyed woollen blanket which was my initial plan. I'm not entirely convinced I can get the dyebath 'black' enough. More experimenting required clearly! I was also not very happy with the silvery nail head effect I got by using silver acrylic paint. Too matte and blurry where it needs to be smooth and very bright.

Finished ragwork sample
Tomorrow I am off into Sedbergh to meet up with the first of the businesses I plan to work with, the good folks at The Chair Workshop. I can't wait to explore their workspace, I'm sure it will be as full of inspiration as the mill.

Karen Griffiths


  1. I see those oily floorboards as overlayed recordings of industrial endeavour. The ragworks are sumptuous* larger than life reincarnations.

    * Oilman's term.