Update from David Fox – student placement weaver at Sunny Bank Mills Archive

June 26th, 2023

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David’s update: Threads 2023 is now done and dusted! Thank you to everyone that came and saw the commissioned pieces, ‘Coded Pegs’ and ‘Within the Archive’ as well as my stall. It was an amazing weekend and I loved chatting to everyone. After Threads it has been non-stop working on sampling for the end of placement exhibition which will be up for Heritage Open Days from the 8th– 10th September 2023. The theme for the Heritage Open Days is ‘Creativity Unwrapped’, woven samples are being created using various paper yarns to develop sculptural pieces in the form of books. This idea stems from the cash and guard books housed in the Archive as well as the various use of paper in the collection.  Research has focused on the Archive books. The idea of the woven book came from ‘Coded Pegs’ and its woven pleats and creating ideas about objects’ confined space. The structures I’m looking at now relate to the lined and squared paper and the challenge of how to replicate this within a woven cloth. Woven structures within a cloth are a language, and to someone who understands them, the face of a cloth can tell you a story or a message. If you missed Threads here are photos of the two pieces and a description each of them below, they will also hang up along with the rest of exhibition, which will take place around the mill in the cabinets outside the Gallery and the Archive. Look forward to keeping you up to date with the progress of the exhibition and weaving. See you in the next blog.



Coded Pegs:

This piece is a direct response from the peg plans and structures woven when the Mill was still producing cloth before closing in 2008.  The designs have been altered with a different threading plan then woven into the structures as Morse code, dots, and lines. This a colour and line code displaying the number of the three woven peg plans. Coded Pegs is created as a section of double cloth to create pleats showing off the cloth’s pattern breaking up the Morse code and adding a three-dimensional structure to a flat cloth.

Within the Archive:

This piece tells the visual story of how objects can be taken and woven into the cloth. This is inspired by a delightful box of warp twister’s handmade tools, from an apron to threading hooks.

The marbling of the cash books within the Archive inspired the choice of yarn and movement within the structures. Other pieces that inspired the piece were paper clips, heddles, weighing scales and the way books have been bound through the mill’s history. ‘Within the Archive’ as a structure plays with light through cramming and pacing to sit as a sheer piece drawing the eye to structures inspired by the objects.


Both the pieces’ colours have been drawn from the mill site itself from red brick and objects, as well as cloth and colours of yarns within the Archive.


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