Jane Walkley

Guard Book Study II – IX

There are more than 300 guard books in Sunny Bank Mills’ Archive, containing every cloth sample woven over the Mill’s 180 years of cloth production.  Larger samples, called feelers, are cloth swatches that allow the tailor to touch the fabric and get a physical understanding of how the fabric drapes and behaves in a large piece.

Jane Walkley has focused on feelers woven in 1895, a pivotal point in the Mills’ history when there was a shift to embrace worsted spinning and weaving under the ownership of Edwin Woodhouse, giving the Sunny Bank it’s renowned reputation for producing fine worsted cloth for the tailors of Saville Row.

The guard book feelers exhibited here are woven on an upright loom with a cotton warp, and a weft combining worsted wool and cast artefacts that are selected with tangible meaning for the mill’s former workers.  The finished work takes on a tactile and sculptural quality that maintains a physical and visual connection to Yorkshire’s heritage, linking place, memory, and materiality.