In January 2016 we began hosting a Local Colour artist residency in partnership with Super Slow Way. Super Slow Way is an arts commissioning programme in Pennine Lancashire, shaped by local communities, working alongside a wide range of local, national and international artists and producers. Our artist in residence is Claire Wellesley-Smith who specialises in projects about textiles and textile heritage. She is based here on Fridays when she works with our Heritage Art Group who look at the history of our building and the influence of it’s owner, Mr Gatty on the textiles industry. Who better to introduce the project than Claire herself.
The Local Colour project is based at Elmfield Hall and has been exploring the rich history of the building, grounds and the local area. The starting point for the project was the story of Frederick Albert Gatty, who built the hall to live in with his family, his business partner Frederick Steiner and their innovative processes in the local Turkey red calico dyeing and printing industry. Gatty’s ‘experiment shed’ is in the grounds of Gatty Park and it is believed he developed his famous khaki dye recipe there in the 1880s. As part of our creative explorations into this heritage we have developed a dye plant garden in the poly-tunnels behind Elmfield Hall, where we are growing the plants including Madder and Indigo that Gatty and Steiner would have used in their industrial dyeing and printing processes. We use the dye plant harvest to create our own textile dyes and prints and have conversations about the heritage alongside our creative activities. The group has been very keen to develop their own research interests as the project has moved into its second year. These include finding out about the history of Elmfield Hall during the first world war when it was an auxiliary military hospital for recuperating soldiers.
If you would like to find out more about the project or would like to attend our relaxed and friendly Friday morning art sessions, please get in touch with us [email protected] or telephone 01254 460080.