Kerry Lemon, commissioned by Kirklees Council and Beam, organized the Shoddy Factory event and invited local residents to bring their favorite fabrics to be photographed, photocopied and woven into a huge community paper quilt.
Kerry said, “It was really awesome! I was excited because I didn’t know what people would bring.
“One thing I asked mentee Harriet was to pick up various textiles from a charity shop, just in case people showed up and forgot to bring something, but everyone bought something and the stories behind those things were amazing.
“What I loved was that people are clearly spending a lot of time trying to choose what they want to bring to better reflect them.
“It was lovely that we captured all of these stories and alongside the photo of the textile they purchased, I also got their paper trail of what it is and why it matters to them, which goes help inspire my artwork for the market.
“As part of the project, we hung up the textiles that people were buying to photograph and photocopy them.
“This boy bought this huge panda and he was so excited that he had pegs on his ears, but he kept checking that he wasn’t hurting the panda, so we took it all very slowly. showed how valuable these items are to people.
“Every day I didn’t know what I was going to get next, it just got better and better.
“Having people buy these textiles and share them with me meant a lot and means that moving forward I can create something permanent for Dewsbury Market that is about the people and the place.”
The Shoddy Factory included museum exhibits from the Kirklees Museum and Iinouiio. Two of the factory sessions were co-taught by representatives of the Kirklees Museum, where they shared the history of textiles in Dewsbury and surrounding towns.
Cathryn Pike, Cultural Engagement Manager at Kirklees Museums and Galleries, said: “We really enjoyed being part of the Shoddy Factory workshops and meeting local people, many of whom have strong ties to the textile industry.
“It was also great to see young people discovering more about their local heritage.
“The activities Kerry designed were fun and inspiring. The paper quilt will be spectacular and we can’t wait to see Kerry’s final work.
The quilt will be on display at Kirklees College throughout February and will then be turned into an artwork that will decorate the new Dewsbury Market.
Kate Watson, Dewsbury Creative Town Program Producer, said: “The Shoddy Factory was so much fun and gave community groups and the general public the perfect opportunity to get involved and celebrate Dewsbury’s textile heritage.
“Kerry and her team performed it brilliantly and everyone who attended really enjoyed the experience, plus they were able to take home a little memento from the sessions.
“Special thanks to Kerry and her team and Kirklees College for being the perfect venue and turning the initial idea into reality. Thanks also to Kirklees Museums and the Dewsbury Photographic Group for their valuable contributions.
“We are all very excited about the Patchwork project and can’t wait to see how it develops in the months to come.”
Councilor Eric Firth, Kirklees Council Cabinet Member for Town Centres, said: ‘There has been great engagement with the patchwork project, capturing memories and documenting them to look back on is just one part of the story. It’s also a matter of people and places, a way of speaking, creating and giving people a voice.
“For some this may be the first step in their textile journey and perhaps those who were involved will now create their own quilts within their small communities.
“We are very proud to have Kerry Lemon as a commissioned artist for the council and part of the Dewsbury Creative City Arts Programme.
“Supporting this program is another way to increase the positive impact on our local communities, making it a go-to destination for arts and culture excellence by linking its cultural activities.”
If you were unable to attend one of the weekend sessions and would still like to participate, email a high resolution photo of your favorite textile to [email protected] along with a paragraph stating what it is about and why it is important to you, before May 1st.
Kerry would like to especially thank everyone who volunteered their time and participated in the event. She would also like to thank Kirklees Council, Beam, Zoe Murphy, Harriet Lawson, Pioneer Higher Skills Centre, Kirklees College, Kirklees Museum Service, Iinouiio, Calder Coaches and Dewsbury Photographic Group.
For more information, visit the Kerry website: https://www.kerrylemon.co.uk/.
Your chance to create artwork to decorate the new Dewsbury Market