Cloth holds the memory of our time and connects us with the memories of other times and other places…

Cloth and Memory {2} is a site-specific exhibition located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site: Salts Mill, Saltaire Yorkshire UK, which is also an anchor point in the European Route of Industrial Heritage. The exhibition features 23 artists drawn from a UK and international cohort and runs from August 18th to November 3rd 2013.

Cloth and Memory 2 builds on knowledge gained in our first exhibition, however it is a very different experience. It takes place in the original Spinning Room (known as The Lobby), which at 168m x 16m, when first built was thought to be the largest industrial room in the world. Apart from a new roof, it has not been restored or refurbished, and is not normally open to the public. The extraordinary internal architecture with its peeling walls and floors still retain the marks and smells of its original use.

An international group of artists were invited to visit Salts in order to propose work as a response to the site. From these proposals 23 artists were selected: 14 from the UK, 7 from Japan, 1 from Germany, 1 from Norway, representing emerging, early career and established artists. All the work engages with the palpable history of place that is evident at Salts Mill and The Lobby in particular, and range from large scale interventions in space to highly intimate placings within the fabric of the building.

Cloth and Memory {2} exhibition

Cloth and Memory {2} uses that universal familiarity with cloth to connect audience, place and artist within this heritage building in the heart of an area central to textile production during the industrial revolution and, by so doing, extend contemporary practice in the field.

LESLEY MILLAR: Cloth & Memory Creative Director
Professor of Textile Culture, University for the Creative Arts


Participating Artists

UK:   Jeanette Appleton  -  Caroline Bartlett  -  Hilary Bower  -  Maxine Bristow  -  Reece Clements  -
Caren Garfen  -  Rachel Gray  -  Annie Harrison  -  Diana Harrison  -  Peta Jacobs  -  Philippa Lawrence  -  Hannah Leighton-Boyce  -  Celia Pym  -  Karina Thompson

Japan:   Machiko Agano  -  Masae Bamba  -  Yasuko Fujino - Yoriko Murayama  -  Koji Takaki –  Katsura Takasuka – Yoriko Yoneyama

Germany:   Katharine Hinsberg

Norway:   Kari Steihaug

The Cloth and Memory team are: Professor Lesley Millar UCA (Curator), June Hill (Project Co-ordinator), Jennifer Hallam (Project Advisor), Keiko Kawashima (Co-ordinator Japan)


June Hill, Keiko-Kawashima and Jennifer-Hallam




Cloth, in its intimate relationship with our body bears the marks of our being, both on the surface and embedded within the structure. The strains, stresses, stains and smells we impress upon this second skin form an archive of our most intimate life. At the same time, cloth is also the membrane through which we establish our sense of ‘becoming’, and formalise our relationship with the external world, while the fabric remorselessly records the evidence of those interactions. Cloth holds the memory of our time and connects us with memories of other times and other places.

The three artists in this exhibition have developed these ideas around cloth and memory through their own concerns and media. All visited Salts Mill and Saltaire and have created their work as a response to the history of the place: the memory of cloth and the making of cloth that has seeped into the fabric of the building.  Their works reference the importance of cloth as the accompanying witness to our life and the lives of others.

Beverly-Ayling Smith is using cloth – its wear, tear and embellishment – as a metaphor for the stages of mourning we may encounter as we move from loss to acceptance. Carol Quarini’s installation transforms the domestic net curtain from witness to complicit malefactor in the hidden lives of others no longer present. Bob White is making paintings of cloth and clothing as a carrier of discovered memory that becomes embedded within the cloth of the painting itself.

The narrative contained within the work of all three artists is engaging and ambiguous, inviting us to bring our own stories to the table, our own memories activated by their attentiveness to the surface, structure, fold and crease of the cloth.

LESLEY MILLAR: Cloth & Memory Creative Director
Professor of Textile Culture, University for the Creative Arts

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thanks to Maggie Silver for her generosity in giving us the opportunity to hold this exhibition in the wonderfully inspiring Salts Mill, for her insightful introduction to the catalogue and for all the myriad kindnesses shown to us along the way. Thanks also to Zoë Silver for her support and enthusiastic input to our discussions, to Linda Wilkinson for all her help and patiently answering all our questions, and to all the support staff at Salts Mill. Thank you to the University for the Creative Arts for their support for Professor Lesley Millar, and to the Arts Council England for their support of the exhibition. Thank you, as ever, to Gerry Diebel and his team at Direct Design for the advice and input which has resulted in yet another beautiful catalogue and this website. Grateful thanks to the specialised technical helpers Louise Anderson and Gail Baxter. Thank you to Lutz Becker and Marek Budzynski for the video interviews; and to Richard Brayshaw and Steve Smith for their photographic help for Beverly Ayling-Smith and Carol Quarini respectively. And most especially thank you to the artists Beverly Ayling-Smith, Carol Quarini and Bob White for their remarkable responses to Salts Mill.