Here we see multi-media weaver Alastair Duncan completing the setup of Interconnection, one of his famous 'sound weavings'. It's worth reading the artist's catalogue entry in full:
"This is an audio-interactive tapestry with sensors embedded in the weave which, when triggered by proximity of a viewer's hand, will play sound clips additional to the background looping 50 min soundscape. The design for Interconnection suggests a confusion of natural and urban or industrial “jungle” and the audio links to this with different natural and man-made sounds. The design and weaving of the tapestry plus the audio production, electronics and computer coding took over two years to complete."
Quite amazing... If you can't afford to buy the work (£20,000, since you ask) you can at least learn something about the artist's techniques in a series of online sessions (£15 for three one-hour workshops). See ZOOM! above.
[Post edited 14 October after feedback from the artist: the work is no longer activated by touch but by proximity. The complications of Covid...]
Visitors to Fabric of the North may be puzzled by this little figure - unless they're from North Shields, that is.
The North Shields Dolly is a wooden statue, displayed in the Tyneside shipping town of that name. The first-generation Dolly was a ship's figurehead, put up in 1814. Sailors would cut a chip off her to take to sea for good luck. Not surprisingly she didn't last long, and a second-generation Dolly followed, then a third... And the current one is Number Six.
Local weaver Jean Hall took up tapestry weaving just three years ago, at the Darlington Weaving Rooms, at the sprightly age of 82. This little tapestry is her recollection of Dolly Number Five, modelled on a fishwife with her creel full of fish, on the way to market.
Every piece has its story.
This is the amazing sight that greeted volunteers at Kirkleatham Museum as they carefully uncrated Margaret Crowther's superb tapestry, Low Tide, North Yorks. Isn't that going to look amazing when hung on the wall? You can almost smell the brine.
Dewsbury-based Shirley Ross studied at the Royal College of Art. In 2005 she was one of five Yorkshire weavers who came together in Heptonstall to discuss how British tapestry weaving could be rescued from its then state of decline. The outcome was the formation of the British Tapestry Group, now with hundreds of members, not only in the UK but around the world.
Shirley is exhibiting her monumental work On the Shoulders of Giants at Fabric of the North; here you can see it in the process of being hung. This is just one of the many superb tapestries which will fill Kirkleatham Museum until the end of January.
Many of the participating artists in Fabric of the North are helping set up the displays of their own and other weavers' work. Here we see Leeds-based new-materials artist Jane Walkley setting up her work entitled Sunny Bank Mills; site interaction 2.
Most of the tapestries on display will be wall-hung, but some of the less traditional works will be displayed in showcases.
...comes this spectacular mural, which will greet visitors to Fabric of the North in the entrance area of Kirkleatham Museum:
The mural was commissioned by the Whitworth Gallery to accompany the Gallery's Tapestries exhibition last year. The textile artist Ibukun Baldwin was briefed to illustrate tapestry-weaving terms and processes. The mural was overpainted at the end of the Manchester exhibition, but the artist made a record of it and has allowed us to re-use it for Fabric of the North. Here you see it being installed. It will be accompanied by a number of displays of tapestry-weaving process, and by live artist-in-residence sessions (socially distanced, of course!)
There's a great clattering and banging and scraping of ladders, a smell of sawdust and paint, a sense of excitement in the air as strangely shaped boxes and tubes are unpacked and the tissue linings carefully unfolded... The display rooms are being prepared, the tapestries are coming in, and Fabric of the North exhibition designer Jane Riley is putting in 25-hour days.
Not long now!
If you're a practising weaver, and can't come to Fabric of the North, think about joining a Zoom workshop. There are still a few places left - click ZOOM! above.