The Bainside Studio on Level 4 of the Mill is our dedicated residency space, thanks to a grant by The Bainside Trust. Past residencies have included textile artists Lynne Stein and Jeanette Appleton, and printmaker Nicholette Goff. If you are interested in a residency at Farfield Mill or in hiring The Bainside Studio for a short period, please contact Sara Last.
Alison Scott - Residency
A Week in Farfield Mill
What do you do in a residency? Get into the vibe somehow and make pictures of it I guess - but how and where do you start? I wandered through the mill looking for subjects.
I stared at people. Pretty soon I began to feel empathy with the customers who slowly drifted through the third floor gallery studying, gently touching and carefully scrutinising, recognising that familiar contradiction – the impulse to buy something bright and tactile and the lack of any item of clothing that might match it. Never mind – wear it anyway – who cares?
I lurked in the café. Then I homed in on the people who make things: Dimitris presses tiny stones into little silver cups with huge strong hands, occasionally turning them in the light to demonstrate the qualities that make them special to him and his customers; Sharon the cook delightedly claims her roly-poly is fat free as she squashes in a thick layer of cream with the jam. They make cakes to diet for here!
Juliette, who studied textiles at the University of the Highlands in Shetland, operates a loom as if she is pulling strings in a puppet show. Carole, one of the volunteers, weaves by moving and swaying on the stool as if she were playing a concerto. She lights up if she finds a dye mark – evidence of the branding of the sheep and a memory of its life on the farm.
Then there is Angela, busy at her knitting machine, buried in magenta, ochre and cobalt that she furiously spins into hats and gloves and scarves in all manner of combinations. The lace-makers cheerily chat away about families and dinners, traditions and dogs whilst twisting their fingers through a nightmare of tiny pins and twisted bobbins. And they do this for relaxation?
I went upstairs to learn about sheep. There is a newspaper cutting about an Australian Merino sheep called Chris who escaped from the farm only to return 5 years later with a fleece of 40kg (89lbs) enough to make 30 jumpers. What kind of pampered animal is this that can only exist if there are hairdressers? Very unlike the mighty Herdwick which has more or less fended for itself for hundreds of years – proper hard sheep.
Downstairs there is a history section with lovely archive photographs of the mill workers and the endless terrible singing of the terrible knitter in the video. Amanda, who works in in the café, explained the significance of the 1842 Factory Act. It took 10 years to get the act through parliament – the first time that government intervened on behalf of workers. Even then, there were only 4 inspectors for the whole country and small woollen mills such as Farfield were among the last to be included. And meanwhile Will Stainton, aged 8, toiled on from 6.30 to 8.00 at night 6 days a week. . . .
Finally to SheepFest. The people of Sedbergh had made and dressed 72 sheep representing characters from literature so that members of the public could come out on Saturday and search the streets and shops to find and identify each one in a competition accompanied by bands playing and flags flying.
Not only are these people talented at making things, they somehow indulge the feeling and enjoy it in a way that I think we all once felt at primary school. How I wished I had spent a month making a secret sheep in my garage. This is the way to feel 6 years old again. That’s the vibe.
Mandy Pattullo, a textile artist from the North East, works with old and found textiles which she treasures for their domestic resonance and intimacy.
She unpicks, patchworks and stitches them into textile collages.
During the week Mandy is at Farfield Mill she will be working within a limited palette using only Turkey Red as a colour and exploring the possibilities of this traditional colour within her own work.
She will be using a variety of techniques and materials including embroidery, patchwork, quilting, applique and collage to produce a one off piece of work within the week she is working in The Bainside on Level 4.
Mandy will be happy to show visitors her portfolio and talk about her working processes. about her work.
Lynn Setterington is an internationally recognised artist working in the textiles arena, most notably quilts and hand stitched cloths. Over the last decade she has worked on a number of large public engagement projects and collaborations with diverse groups. She is best known for her work related to Kantha quilts of Bengal.
Pieces often possess a strong autobiographical content, juxtaposed with a constant celebration of the ordinary and overlooked in society. She has undertaken a number of residencies and commissions including work at Belsay Hall in Northumberland, the Harris Museum Preston, Hastings Museum and Art Gallery and recently a quilt with the people of Blackpool for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Lynn was born in Yorkshire and trained at York College of Arts and Technology and Goldsmiths College London. She has been a Senior Lecturer at Manchester Metropolitan University in the School of Art since 1992 and in 2009 was awarded a Public Engagement Fellowship. She is an Associate Fellow of the International Quilt Study Center in the US and in 2010 received their visiting Fellowship. She is a member of the 62 Group of textile artists and has exhibited internationally from the US to New Zealand, the Netherlands and Italy. Her work is held in many major public and private collections.
Our relationship with textile artist Alice Fox started when she supported Nigel Morgan during his Artist's Residency in 2009. At this time, she produced a number of textile pieces inspired by Nigel’s artistic journey into incorporating musical composition and weaving. We’d always hoped she might return to Farfield Mill to develop her own work themes at some point. So we are delighted she has decided to do a week’s residency at the Mill this summer and look forward to the outcomes.
Alice has an intense interest in the natural world and in the detail of organic things. She has a fascination with the interplay of order and randomness that is found where man and nature collide. Her acutely observed work brings together the textural qualities of textile processes, explorations into embossing and collagraph printmaking, and digital manipulation.
Jamie works as a freelance curator throughout Cumbria. He has always been keen on drawing and after many years working with artists in art galleries, he started to develop his own line drawing style during a tour of Italy in 2007 when he started to keep a sketchbook. While working as the Curator of Keswick Museum & Art Gallery he took an evening class in Printmaking at Carlisle Art College, where he became fascinated by the aquatint etching technique.
Since then he has branched out into other printmaking techniques including drypoint engraving and trace monoprinting. Jamie's work is principally concerned with buildings. He is particularly inspired by the Fellside area of Kendal where he lives – the style of the houses and the way they are stacked up the hill.
He also produces artwork from his imagination, again inspired by Fellside, hill villages, Cumbrian castles or by the idea of city skylines transferred into the countryside.
Stella Adams-Schofield & Karen Griffiths, Read Threads - May 2011
Who Are The Read Threads? We are two MA graduate applied artists, Karen Griffiths and Stella Adams-Schofield who combine craft practice with research in applied arts. Our work whilst having its roots within traditional craft textiles, now blurs the boundaries between fine and applied art. We aim to exhibit regularly together as well as pursuing our individual careers as artists and research. Visit our website for more information.
Along with memories and traditions, the final thread joining these two artists is that of stories. Stella prefers to look at the long story of the interdependence of humans and textiles and Karen sees in each item of clothing she recycles into her work the story of the person who wore and loved it.
The two postgraduates involved in this residency work in very different textile media but have common threads running through their practice. The strongest hinges upon the way in which textiles have human memories woven through to their core, both during their manufacture and during their use. Stella has explored the forensic implications, the DNA contained in the skin and sweat of the maker and user which collects in the cloth; Karen has looked at the way individual items of clothing crease and mark uniquely through their lifetimes. Both of these approaches leads to the recognition that fabrics carry something of the spirit of their makers and users within their fibres. Karen has developed this line of research into an examination of the talismanic use of textiles to protect households.
Each artist also values the wealth of human experience and tradition that lies behind their current practice. Karen is inspired by traditional ways of recycling clothing in Victorian working class families while Stella looks much further back to the earliest makers of thread and woven textile, seeing also the indelible mark that hundreds of years of making, handling and wearing cloth have left on all humans.
Artist-in-Residence, August 2010
Jeanette was in residence in the Bainside Studio from 8 to 22 August, during which time she ran two, 2-day workshops for adults, Colour in Felt Making (for relative beginners) and Lines and Layers in Felt Making (for advanced practitioners). Work produced during the residency, plus other work produced in her studio in Spain and during her residency at Farfield Mill in 2008, was then displayed in the Loft Gallery from 25 August to 10 October in an exhibition called Travelling Lines.
Artist-in-Residence, March 2010
Coinciding with her exhibition, Land Marks, in the Dover Gallery, textile artist Lynne Stein was in residence from 13 to 17 March.
During that time, Lynne ran a two-day adult workshop, Rag-Rugs: A Contemporary Approach and four workshops for local primary and junior schools.
Artist-in-Residence, August 2009
Composer and weaver Nigel Morgan was at Farfield Mill for a fortnight working on a commissioned score for the Italian quartet, Gatto Marte. He wove an experimental piece on one of the Mill's floor looms and gave two afternoon concerts including the première of a new composition in collaboration with textile artist Alice Fox (one of her stitched textiles is shown below right).
Here is Nigel's blog which he wrote during the time of his residency: www.nigel-morgan.co.uk/files/Nigel_Morgan-Farfield_Diary.pdf
Artist-in-Residence, August 2008
Jeanette Appleton is an internationally-renowned textile artist working mainly in felt. Her exhibition Sow:Sew was in the Howgill Gallery at Farfield Mill during August 2008 and she was in residency here for most of that month, too. During her residency, Jeanette ran adult workshops, all of them selling out. Two of those workshops (‘Felting with Jeanette Appleton’ and ‘Development & Ideas with Jeanette Appleton’) were open to the public, while a third workshop focused on mentoring Farfield Resident Artists.
The work produced as a result of Jeanette's residency and workshops came together as a new exhibition, Collaborations, in the Howgill Gallery during September 2008.
Artist-in-Residence, October 2008
Nicholette Goff is a nationally-recognised artist working in sculpture, installation and print-making. More recently, she has developed a process of direct printing from the trees and plants in her immediate environment, which meant her residency at Farfield Mill (coinciding with her exhibition, Plant
Nicholette led a 2-day adult workshop and also spent a day showing children from the two local primary schools, Dent and Sedbergh, how to print from natural items found in and around Farfield Mill’s grounds.