Textile archive inspires printmakers in unique project

Bradford Technical College textile book 1895 - 6

Articles from centuries of Bradford’s fascinating textile industry history will provide the inspiration for a unique collaboration between a Yorkshire printmaking group and Bradford College.

The ‘Inkerwoven’ project, a partnership between Inkers and the Bradford School of Art, is to be officially launched at the Dye House Gallery at the college’s Lister Building, where the Textile Archive is based, on Saturday 11 January 2020.

The launch event will give visitors the chance to meet the printmakers from Inkers and see the Textile Archive, as well as try their hand at embossing and drypoint etching.

Inkerwoven is a year-long creative response to the Bradford College Textile Archive collections. The group will spend almost a year researching the treasures of the Textile Archive and creating new works of contemporary art, as well as providing artist-led workshops and activities for all ages. The artwork will appear at a major exhibition at the college’s Dye House Gallery in 2020-21, and will involve audiences in creative experiences along the way.

The project was made possible after Inkers was granted £10,000 from Arts Council England to support its members in the year-long collaboration with Bradford School of Art, which is based at the college.
Inkers member June Russell said: “We’re delighted to have been granted Arts Council funding. The Textile Archive really is a hidden gem, and we were so inspired that we were determined to go ahead with the exhibition on a shoestring, but this will make our project truly special. We’ll be able to properly showcase the treasures of Bradford’s creative and industrial history that the Archive holds, and involve the public in our creative journey as we do.”

The Textile Archive houses fabrics designed and woven in the city, with some pieces dating from the 18th century. The archive has pieces designed for world-famous names such as Liberty of London, and by renowned artists such as Salvador Dali.

Helen Farrar, Curator of Textiles at the college, said: “The sensational Bradford College Textile Archive collections hold student workbooks dating from 1893 and early pattern books from industry dating from 1773. It’s so exciting to see these local historic documents inspire today’s local talented artists and we look forward to celebrating our heritage through an exhibition of thought-provoking artworks in the Dye House Gallery.”

Inkers is a group of independent contemporary printmakers based in West Yorkshire, who have been working and exhibiting together since 2000. The group currently has an exhibition celebrating its 20th year at Dean Clough Galleries in Halifax. Members frequently create work in response to gallery and museum collections, and there have been two popular exhibitions of this work in Bradford; at the Industrial Museum in 2016 and at Cliffe Castle in 2017.

The exhibition at Dye House Gallery will run from October 2020 to March 2021.

The full programme of events will be available at the project launch and online via the Inkers website. You can find out more at www.inkers-printmakers.co.uk