David Fox – Textile Design students placement at Sunny Bank Mills Archive

November 9th, 2022

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Hello, I’m David currently on a placement at Sunny Bank mills within the Archive working on a research project based in the 1900s. The archive is a hugely diverse collection containing many historical objects and findings. I’ve been researching the contents of the archive from firstly working on a flower box, brushing the contents which are cut-offs and samples of cloth to then working on a Guard Book.

I have been cleaning the pages of a Guard book, looking at the information stored within them from workers’ identities to design drafts and cloth samples, on top of that treating the leather of the Guard book. So far I’ve been inspired by all of this, yet focusing on the identity of the workers that would have got lost when the cloth was shipped around the world, as well as there handmade tools they would have used within the weaving process. In my design process, I have thought about weaving the names of past workers into the cloth combining structures that would have been woven at the time. The warper’s handmade tools are beautiful and are such a skill in itself, to weaving them as structures is another idea. Another inspiration is the oral histories that have been recorded learning about mill life, and finding out details of their lives at the mill. From holidays they took to tools, and details on the processes of the area they worked on. Overall learning that whatever opinions they had what an integral part of their lives it was. Yet their identities were lost within the cloth eventhough they were the hands that created the worsted cloth. Whilst I have been researching, I have been setting up a dobby loom, tinkering around the mechanics and shafts making the warp, and threading it up. Now the loom is ready for action, so within the next couple of months I’ll be weaving away taking all the research I have gathered onto the loom and designs I shall be creating.

You can keep up to date with my progress monthly as well as my going’s on Instagram @foxonthesley.

David Fox Textile Design BA student University of Leeds

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Arts & Culture General Museum & Archive