Artificial Silk represents resilience and space for the imagination. Through the connections made with people and objects, we find new ways to understand the past and forge cultural superhighways in the present.
New in 2022: exObjects
By looking closely, using our imagination, talking to others, we can find new ways to perceive the people and things loved and lost, but not forgotten.
Take part in exObjects by choosing an object and writing about your connection with it. Contributions are being stitched together as the year rolls on.
Read Shinie Antony’s article about learning to speak the language of grief, published in April 2022.
Read the exObjects so far:
What is artificial silk?
It is a fibre made from wood pulp that is made into threads, or filaments, that can be pigmented in different shades and woven into material.
Artificial silk filaments made in Lancashire from wood shipped from Scandinavia were made into silk parachute canopies, sanitary pads, clothes for M&S and much, much more.
The machines were shipped from Preston to India in 1980, extending their life. Eighty years after that factory opened, the artificial silk made there has not lost its strength, sheen or vibrancy.
Jean Boyle pictured in 1951 doing titrations in the laboratory of Courtaulds factory, Lancashire
Find out more here.
Read Jean Boyle’s Other lives obituary published in The Guardian on 10th February 2021.
Minds Turn to India
Shy to be photographed and shuftied to the front by his camera-less father, who asked us to take the photograph, the boy in the purple waistcoat appeared less comfortable than the girls. The shiny Elvis trousers and waistcoat selected to be grown in to, the big green hair decoration and yellow flip-flops were radiant against the backdrop of the Jaganmohan garden fountain.
A little further down the Mysuru road, the Wellington Building, home for two years (1799-1801) of the future Duke of Wellington, is now run by the Ministry of Culture’s Indira Ghandi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya.
The curators in this heritage centre have sympathetically housed amazing ironwork, terracotta and basketware to celebrate the bold craft and artistry of many tribes across India.
Further east, in Chennai, books are being digitised by the Madras Literary Society. Their display, and call to adopt a book, stood out in the gardens of Chennai’s Literature Festival.
And in Salford a giant window display at the People’s History Museum connects textile shades made in Northern England with Indian factory workers.
Engine Room window at the People’s History Museum,
in the textile exhibition linking India and England
The object below was seen up close in Mysuru’s heritage centre. It will not easily be forgotten.