Cloth and Memory {2} – Seminar

I attended a seminar at Salts Mill as part of the Cloth and Memory {2} exhibition curated by Lesley Millar today. The exhibition, which I am going to visit properly tomorrow, is an exploration of memory contained in cloth and textiles, how an essence of time passing can remain within cloth and using touch amongst other senses we can conjure memories of our own past.

Having visited the ‘Lost in Lace’ exhibition in Birmingham also curated by Lesley Millar I was excited to hear her talk at this seminar. She was joined by one of the artists from the exhibition Celia Pym whose work explores the passing of time by using darning to keep garments alive and allow further memories to develop.


Celia Pym discussed her work past and current and I was struck by a piece she created whist travelling around Japan. Obtaining only blue yarn in each of the towns and cities she visited, she knitted each ball or skein and would only allow herself to continue on her journey when each had been completely knitted.


During the seminar the ability of cloth to hold memories was considered, how touch can inspire our memories but how the life of cloth can be seen through imperfections, stains, rips, repairs. The history of the exhibition space was also considered, how it had inspired the 23 artists in so many different ways. Each had been moved by very different aspects of the space either in it’s physical presence or with the essence of memory left.

Towards the end each delegate was given a cloth sample to feel and explore. We were asked to think about the samples and consider any memories that came to us in relation to it. Surprising memories were developed in some people memories that had long been forgotten.

The afternoon was a fascinating insight into the work within the exhibition, as well as a great opportunity to meet Lesley Millar and Celia Pym. I am very pleased to have come all this way and I can’t wait until tomorrow when I will be attending a curators tour of the exhibition. I will write a post about the exhibition itself later.