Your chance to create artwork to decorate the new Dewsbury Market

A free creative workshop will be held in Dewsbury next week to celebrate the past, present and future of the textile industry.

By Jessica Barton
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 7:00 am
The artwork will celebrate the past, present and future of the textile industry
The artwork will celebrate the past, present and future of the textile industry

Artist Kerry Lemon has been commissioned by Kirklees Council and Beam to create permanent community artwork for the paving of the new Dewsbury Market, following its multi-million pound revamp.

Kerry’s aim is to create work inspired by both the community and Dewsbury’s textile history.

She said: “It’s such an honour making permanent artwork for a community, so it is really important for me to spend time in the community and with the people who live there.”

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The event will run from January 27-29

The event is taking place between January 27-29 and will involve individuals within the community bringing along their favourite piece of textile to the event. This can be anything from a piece of clothing to a cushion cover, anything that has meaning to them. These fabrics will then be photocopied and turned into a huge community paper quilt.

Kerry said: "The textiles will be photocopied very gently to avoid any damage. Everyone will then be given a stack of their photocopied textile and we will come together to weave the photocopies together.

“At the end they can cut out a tiny bit of the quilt which will be turned into a badge, they can take this home and keep a piece of the quilt forever.

“The rest of the tile will stay with us at the college, it will be laminated and stitched together to create a huge community quilt which will be on show throughout February.”

An illustration of the creative process

This project is part of the Dewsbury Creative Town Programme, a £200,000 initiative funded by Kirklees Council as part of its Blueprint plans to revitalise the town centre.

The arts programme includes a range of permanent and temporary public art interventions at various sites across Dewsbury.

It also aims to provide residents, businesses and community groups with an array of opportunities to engage with art and get involved in the commissioning process.

Kerry said: “Everyone is welcome. It’s a chance to learn about the history of the area, celebrate the new commission, meet people and be creative.”

Cathryn Pike, cultural engagement officer at Kirklees Museums and Galleries, said: “Having spoken to Kerry Lemon about her Shoddy machine project, I decided to look into the shoddy and mungo industry, which I was aware of but didn’t know much about.

"It seems that innovative textile upcycling began in 1813 with the invention of the shoddy grinding machine by Benjamin Law of Batley.

"The word shoddy has come to mean something of poor quality, or cobbled together, but the shoddy and mungo industry involving the re-processing of wool waste material mixed with virgin wool was a game changer and a vital innovation that meant that Dewsbury and Batley maintained their place in an extremely competitive textiles market .

"Not enough is known about the history of this industry, it is something that we should be proud of, particularly as it is still relevant today. In fact the recycling of textiles is still a very significant industry of the area.

"Kerry’s project is about having conversations around textiles and reusing them to make something new for Dewsbury.

"Kirklees Museums are excited to be involved in the project and will share objects and photographs of the history of the local textile industry.”

The Shoddy Factory event will take place in the cafe area at Pioneer House, Kirklees College, Halifax Road, Dewsbury.

You can sign up to the event at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-dewsbury-shoddy-factory-tickets-224534226917

Anyone who cannot attend the event but still wants to be involved can email a picture of their favourite textile to Kerry at [email protected]

The image must be high-res and include a short explanation of what textile it is and why it is important to you.