Burnley Cloth Art Project

In a complete change from my usual beauty posts I thought I’d write about a community art project I’ve participated in with artists Lauren Sagar and Sharon Campbell.

Based at Rogue Studios, Manchester, Sagar&Campbell are artists who work in the fields of contemporary visual art and architectural glass design. Their most recent piece of public art is the Chandelier of Lost Earrings, currently on display at Towneley Hall in Burnley.  It is a beautiful and visually stunning artwork comprising of single “lost” earrings that ordinary people sent to the artists for inclusion, many of which have personal stories and memories attached.

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Sharon, Lauren and the Chandelier of Lost Earrings

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My involvement with Lauren and Sharon’s project began few months ago when they approached Burnley Wood Children’s Centre, where I volunteer, with a view to holding workshops with centre users and parents. These workshops would form the starting point of their next major public artwork, which will use cloth and clothing that holds memories for people.

Workshop participants, myself included, duly brought in fabric or items of clothing that were dear to us and discussed them in workshops over a period of about 3 weeks. The piece of fabric I contributed was a lovely skirt that I had torn, only days before our workshops, when I was pruning the roses in my garden. It had been my favourite skirt but, irreparable as the tear was, it was great to know I was giving it a new lease of life by contributing it to the project.

Lauren and Sharon initially took the voice recordings of our stories, put the various phrases together and created a sort of poem from the phrases that had resonated most.

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See if you can pick out my story in the poem above!

From these stories, photos and the poem an initial exhibit was created and unveiled to us on 17th July at Towneley Hall Art Gallery. Our words had been lovingly embroidered across jute bags and the photos we provided had been used in a variety of ways and were printed on the bags.

We were all really happy with how our memories and personal belongings had been shaped into a piece of lasting art. Best of all as a little thank you and momento we got to take home our own bag.

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This initial work will now go on to form the outline of a much larger project which will probably take a further 2 years to complete and involve a lot of people from other community groups. Although the final artwork will look very different to this, through the workshops they’ve already held with us Lauren and Sharon will have an idea of how best to facilitate further workshops.

It’s incredibly satisfying to know that our contribution will help towards the creation of a much larger, more significant piece of art that hopefully, like the Chandelier, will tour various galleries. Additionally I love the idea that my torn skirt – well-loved but sadly no longer of use to me – will get a new lease of life! I’ve really enjoyed working on this project and would love to contribute to something like this in the future.

If you are interested in finding out more about Sagar&Cambell you can visit their website. You can also follow Sharon’s escapades and the journey of the Chandelier in her blog here.

The Chandelier of Lost Earrings has also been shortlisted for a National Lottery Award. Please help the Chandelier win by voting for it here. I’m sure Lauren and Sharon would appreciate your support!

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4 thoughts on “Burnley Cloth Art Project

    • Helen says:

      I’m excited to see what the larger work they create will be, but it will probably take a year or two to complete. The Chandelier of Lost Earrings they did is stunning!

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