‘Cloth & Memory II’

Commissioned to participate in ‘Cloth & Memory II’, a site-specific exhibition located in the Unesco World Heritage Site: Salts Mill, Saltaire, Yorkshire in 2013. The exhibition featured 23 artists drawn from a UK and international cohort, curated by Lesley Miller Professor of Textile Culture, University for the Creative Arts. The space 168m x 16m was the original Spinning Room, with the unrestored peeling walls and floors still holding the smells and marks of oil and wool.

‘Production Line : Peoples Lives’

Installation. Eight recesses 31cm x 93cm x 28cm with individual works of various sizes from 15cm x 5cm x 12cm to 21cm x 10cm x 20cm.

Technique: Hand felted artist made needle felt and transfer printing.

Materials: Merino wool tops, alpaca and silk fibres and threads. Second hand cloth, transfer ink and stiffening medium.



Felt is a silencing material. It absorbs sound and memory.


The continual line of minature cloth legnths hold motionless memories in the folds. Of the expansive noise and moving threads of the spinning machines within the intimate quiet recesses of the bobbin holders.


Not all detail is revealed, colour and surfaces hide within. As with the original Salts sample books of which only two remain. Specific cultural colours of social history and patterns influenced by colonialism only imerge when unfolding the pages. An inticing suggestion of the secrets glimpsed within are the frayed threads slipping between the paper edges.


The exposed tangeled edge of threads are in contrast to the worn cloth fragments carrying traces of human activities and lives embedded within. A shadow which we have to seek, peer into the folds for the individual.


Marks of hand labour: labelling and classifying, collected and stacked from the ledgers and pattern books from later local mills. Lines of materials ordered and cloth made, the product of dexterity, skills and inventiveness.


Contstructing the minatures evoke childhood reminiscences as thread is unravelled from bobbins saved from a visit to a silk mill where a great uncle worked. Or a mother’s collection of wooden spools of thread; an inheritated line of collections and creativity.


The line of mass production is represented by the use of industrial made needle felt. Created by the artist during a residency at Huddersfield University retaining memories of previous projects and working spaces. Manipulated into folding book forms by hand felting additional fibres and threads, including alpaca, silk and cotton.


The labelled books suggest a souviner, an object which moves history into ones personal space. A commodified memory of a heritage site and a cultural experience. Picking up threads of past lives.


Invited to participate in the exhibition ‘Bite-Size’ of minature work by artists from Japan and UK who have worked with Professor Lesley Miller. Shown at the Daiwa Foundation, London and Gallery Gallery, Kyoto in 2011.


‘Place-Myths’  20 x 20 x 10cm 2011

Technique: Hand felt and transfer print.

Materials: Dyed Merino wool tops, second hand cloth, printing ink, perspex box.

Photographer: howaboutdave and artist in exhibition space.


A souvenir of place: display and packaging of the tourist gaze.  A miniature created by the shrinking effect of hand felting with merino wool. Transforming the practical use cloth to that of an artefact, a displayed souvenir.  Labels suggest layers of locations and archaeological memories of a journey.


‘Through The Surface’

The ‘Through The Surface’ project curated by Professor Lesley Millar was a series of mentoring collaborations between 14 textile artists. Emerging artists worked with established artists from Britain and Japan. Naoko Yoshimoto and Jeanette worked together at the University of Huddersfield, who funded the time and space. A monthly blog for the web site emphasised the importance of the dialogue and an evaluation throughout the process. Individual work and a collaboration piece were produced to exhibit with the other artists in the UK and Japan.

2004 UCA Gallery, Farnham; The Sainsbury Centre, Norwich and Bankfield Museum, Halifax.

2005 National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan.


‘Landline: Double Edged Encounters’ 28.4 x 0.6 x 3 metres 2003

Installation exhibited in the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich 2004.

Photographer: Pete Huggins


 ‘Time really is one big continuous cloth, no? We habitually cut out pieces of time to fit us, so we tend to fool ourselves with thinking that time is our size, but it really goes on and on’. ‘A Wild Sheep Chase’ by Haruki Murakami

The continual length of cloth suggests how a journey has changing passages between the folds of time and memory.


Purchased by the Contemporary Arts Society for Nottingham Castle Museum permanent collection. Featured in ‘Reveal’ a catalogue of the museums contemporary textile collection in 2005.

‘Souvenir Line: Nomadic Memory’.  45 x 90 x 20 cm 2003

Collaboration with Naoko Yoshimoto.

Technique:  Artist made needle felt and deconstructed cloth.

Materials: Wool, various fibres and fabrics, second hand cloth.

Photographer: Pete Huggins

The collaborative work produced at the end of Naoko’s visit portrays their cultural differences but united in the structure. Jeanette discovered in the mentoring process, that she began with fibre to make the cloth whereas Naoko had deconstructed cloth to make fibre.

Recently exhibited at Newstead Abbey ‘The Dreaming House : Art Textiles in Historic Houses’ from the collections of Nottingham Museums in 2015.

                                                                      © Jeanette Appleton 2021