It’s apt and exciting that the wonderful Heart Gallery in Hebden Bridge is launching FIBRE, a selling exhibition of textile art. The town has a rich textile heritage and there’s a fustian cutter’s knife in St George’s Square as a tribute to this history.
Heart Gallery owner Alison Bartram says: “The fast flowing, soft water in the Pennine streams was ideal for the production of fustian, which is a hard-wearing cloth. As late as 1970, the town still boasted four weaving sheds, three dye houses and over 25 separate manufactures. Today there is one.” While it’s sad that large-scale cloth manufacturing has declined dramatically in Britain, there is a cause for celebration. Textile art is on the rise thanks to an abundance of makers who have embraced the medium.
FIBRE, which runs from Sunday, May 26, to August 18 2019, celebrates some of the best textile art from British makers with a healthy contingent from Yorkshire.
“You can study the relationship between textiles and form as the artists aim to build awareness of fibres through stitch and art. There is also a sense of
commitment to create something beautiful that’s not just an aesthetic piece but is functional too,” says Alison.
One local artist, Vanessa Kay, has created project bags and pouches with photographic images, inspired by the Yorkshire landscape described by Ted Hughes in his magnificent poems. They are digitally printed onto cotton linen and are combined with wool fabrics woven in the Calder Valley and her own embroidery.
Ted Hughes wife, the author and poet Sylvia Plath, also inspired a joint work by etched glass artist Andy Poplar and textile artist Marna Lunt.