A collection of sundries picked up on recent travels…
I found something like 24 working mills and suppliers around Huddersfield, via the Huddersfield Textile Society members page. Out of these I picked the ones that, to me, summed up the prowess of town’s textile industry in its modern form: Taylor and Lodge (Lockwood), Bower Roebuck (New Mill), Camira Fabrics (Meltham), C & J Antich (Bradley) and the Textile Centre of Excellence (Leeds Rd).
I was working on the vague concept of a trail or psychogeographic map of the town’s textile companies, similar to Black Dog’s Tower Walks Florence tour around Leeds, which drew parallels between Florence Bell towers and Leeds mill chimneys, and Guy Debord’s Naked City psychogeographic map.
Why these five sites? Taylor and Lodge has made fabric for, among others, Prince William and Kate Middleton no less. Bower Roebuck incorporated gold, diamond chip and lapis lazuli into special edition fabrics, so they had to be included. C & J Antich has supplied companies like Prada and Armani. The Textile Centre of Excellence pioneers 3D weaving, plant DNA for anti-counterfeiting (SigNature DNA) and waterproofing wool (MLSE), as featured on Nick Crane’s BBC series Our Town. Camira makes the seats for the new London buses, which, while we’re at it, is an outright triumphal blend of traditional and contemporary Britain. The asymmetry gives it quite a quirky face.
Just bear in mind I was going for colours and nothing else with these pics, which is why they’re not very remarkable.
Why does the pic below at remind me of Kraftwerk?
I must admit I was disappointed by the C & J Antich site. I was expecting an old mill, as quite a few textile companies can be found in. Not quite:
Totally perplexed, I went on Google Street View to take a second look. If I’d have approached it from the Halifax side, my impression would’ve been very different. Here you pass the pleasance of the River Calder, familiar Victorian terraces and a chippy.
From the Huddersfield side, you pass an alienating, impersonal landscape of car dealerships and trading estates. Another consolation was that there’s a hillside that had sheep grazing on it, overlooking Antich’s site - a nice juxtaposition. In any event, I saw the home of Ferrari on Top Gear and, funnily enough, it was just a big trading estate too, so we won’t read anything into it.
This’ll form the basis for a textile industry-themed bunch of abstract pieces.
Thinking about it, the textile industry is a defining feature of Huddersfield’s identity. The only other things are Rugby Union and Huddersfield Town. The textile industry was a defining part of the West Yorkshire’s identity but it hasn’t really survived in say, Batley or Leeds, so is more heritage. In Huddersfield it survives.
Bearing that in mind, it’d make sense to feature the textile industry quite heavily in my psychogeographic pieces. Inspired by Molly Dilworth’s Ghost Acre and Lodge 441, I had a go at abstracting the houndstooth pattern. As textiles is part of the fabric of Huddersfield, it made sense to approach it from a fabric perspective, looking at the individual threads. The bottom left is the final one for the time being.
I was thinking about visual weight which Brent Hardy Smith talked about in a lecture, so the ‘stand’ is thin and lightly coloured and the form looks too heavy on the left. The colours will change when I get colour specimen photos of Hudds.
(pic from Wiki)
Patterns seem the way forward for my abstract work. The textile industry defines Huddersfield, as well as my own village. I’ve already talked about the survival of Huddersfield’s industry but in terms of my village, it had a working textile mill up until around 7 years ago as well as the pre-industrial textile side of things.
I was looking back at Molly Dilworth’s Lodge 441 and Ghost Acre, some of my favourite pieces at the moment, and Googled modernist patterns, finding a bunch of interesting pieces on http://www.presentandcorrect.com/blog/category/graphics – lots of interesting patterns, ones somewhat unexpected.
Andre Durenceau was creating these in the 1920s. They don’t look nearly 100 years old to me. They look similar to the contemporary artists I’ve been looking at recently like Dilworth and Hayuk.
A light bulb went on above my head when I saw the pic below by the Stockholm Design Lab – it looks just like a Jacquard loom card, I remembered a pic from Taylor and Lodge’s website. And they do still actually use Victorian machinery I saw it on the BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys when they went through Huddersfield:
Sylvain Willenz’s Folk Rugs series are quite good, using simplified folk patterns, though what culture’s isn’t stated:
Joao Vilanova Artigas:
I think quite a few modern buildings could do with a lick of paint, maybe even a Dilworth-style pattern. Imagine one on the Creative Arts Building at Hudds Uni. That’d look fantastic (esp. since its never looks as pristine as it does below):
I’ve been in the CAD room at uni recently. They don’t have CorelDraw they’ve got Illustrator so I’ve been getting to grips with that. It’s pretty similar to CorelDraw though some stuff, like adding colours, is quite different. Working at home is ok but I can occasionally get distracted. One minute I’m doing my work, the next I’m on Allmusic.com looking for similar artists to the Stone Roses. At the end of the day I’m paying for the course so might as well use the university’s facilities. Plus they have – joy of joys – a laserjet printer. At home I have a 30 quid inkjet which isn’t good enough for uni work. The CAD room’s print a3, too.
Graphic design/art is something that generally I like. I wouldn’t rule it out as a future job – I was going to say career but careers don’t exist for most people nowadays, really. Probably a good thing. I get stale and too comfortable if stuck in one place. That’s partly why I’ve started working somewhere else. How about some graphics work experience James? Indeed. Anyway, I suspect most graphics work is done on Adobe programmes. When I did work experience at high school the graphic design agency used Adobe.
They also have those digital sketchbook things – I don’t know what they’re called, they’re like a mini smart board – which might be a good idea to know how to use. I would’ve thought they’re used by most graphic design/art practitioners.
Been working on this over the last few days.
First, the rough shape I wanted it (click for better pic):
I chose to feature the triangle as the most distilled version of the recycling symbol. Fair do’s it’s reusing and upcycling not recycling but it’s all the same general thing you fussy so-and-so.
I haven’t included pics in between as it just didn’t look right up until just after tea when I did some tweaks.
Rough draft (click to zoom in it looks shite from far away):