Tuesday 6 June 2017

Lasting Impressions: Cloth Taxonomies at Salts Mill, Saltaire

You may remember that last year on a trip to the Saltaire Arts Trail, I took part in textile artists, Hannah Lamb & Claire Wellesley-Smith's Lasting Impressions project which you can read about here. To put you in the picture, we were asked to leave imprints of our clothing on small porcelain tiles and in doing so, to consider the value of cloth and clothing and to complete an information tag about the garment.  One year on, the artists were back in the Spinning Room at Salt's Mill, so I went to see how the project was developing.

The Lasting Impressions project laid out

The imprinted tiles had all been fired... 

Imprinted fired tiles

My tile, 234, bearing an imprint of my cardigan, was there too...

My tile is no. 234

The garment information collected on the tags last year, was being used to create a series of weavings.

Finished woven strips

The fibres identifed as making up the garments were selected and woven into fabric strips incorporating the information tag.
Table showing various fibres


Fibres on cones to be selected for weaving

I worked on no. 27 and was given the tile and the tag in a cardboard box.  I had to weave a section of the fabric strip using the information on the tag.  It said that garment was made of viscose and polyester.  From the cones hanging above one of the tables I chose two strands of fibre - one viscose, one polyester, each about 2 metres long.  Next I threaded the tag onto the fibres so that it was in the middle of the length of fibres.

Tag 27

Table loom

Under instruction, I operated the table loom so the fibres and tag were incorporated into the woven strip of fabric.  A piece of red thread identified the start and end of my weaving.  Once my weaving was completed, the associated tile was stored away such that the tiles moved from drawers at one end of the display to the other end as their information was catalogued through the weaving process.  The loom was now ready for sometime to carry on and catalogue no. 28.

My completed weaving for garment no. 27 lies between the two lines of red thread

It was interesting to see the project develop and to be involved in this new stage.  Fibre content was the aspect Clare and Hannah had concentrated on, and the chosen method of development leant itself well to audience participation, also to exploring what the different textile fibres look and feel like and how woven fabric is made.  

What might be next?  They could explore the garments' country of origin, age or what people like about them.  Or perhaps they could scan the tiles and print out the textures on fabric and make some composite textural piece or country of origin based piece?  Who knows, we'll have to wait and see.


  1. Wow that sounds such an interesting exhibition and concept, wish I had been near enough to visit, I love the work of both these artists.

  2. Fantastic project! So many possibilities.