Textures of the River Lea

Bow Arts Raw Materials Textiles Installation View 74When is a ream of rope more than a ream of rope? When it’s an art installation, of course!

Running until 24th June 2018, Raw Materials: Textiles celebrates the historic textile trade that once thrived along the River Lea. Taking place at Bow Arts Nunnery Gallery (Nunnery Gallery, Bow Arts, 181 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ) and supported by The National Lottery with funds awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund, it’s a chance to experience the textures of London’s textile heritage in vivid detail.

It’s also an exceptional opportunity to soak up stories of silk-weaving, calico printing, jute spinning and the invention of dye colours – the jobs that once areas including Hackney Wick, Stratford, West Ham and Walthamstow with activity.

Images, from left printed cotton, Robert Jones & Co, Old Ford, English 1769 cr Victoria and Albert Museum, London, family photograph, courtesy Sam Stockman, Freya Gabie, research experiment for Before, After and Between 2018 cr Freya Gabie

Images, from left printed cotton, Robert Jones & Co, Old Ford, English 1769 cr Victoria and Albert Museum, London, family photograph, courtesy Sam Stockman, Freya Gabie, research experiment for Before, After and Between 2018 cr Freya Gabie

Exhibits include loans of historic fabric produced in the area, such as the Georgian calico from Old Ford courtesy of the V&A, shown above. There’s also a River Lea-inspired design by William Morris.

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The curators say: “Newly commissioned work will also be unveiled from resident artists Freya Gabie,whose conceptual sculpture explores trinitrotoluene, the yellow dye that was later used as an explosive – and Sarah Desmarias, whose textiles use traditional dye and printing methods, including the dye-fast use of the colour madder that was first patented in Hackney Wick.”

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They add: “Working with project partners that include local archives, London College of Fashion, Jewish Museum London and the V&A, much of the exhibition content has been driven by a community steering group, keen to unearth the stories of their local area’s past.”

Alongside the show you can dig into a lively event programme, including walking and boat tours along the River Lea, artist-led workshops and panel discussions.

Find full details here www.bowarts.org/nunnery/raw-materials-textiles.

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