Artificial Silk creates space for the imagination.
By connecting people, places and objects we find new ways to understand the past and forge cultural superhighways in the present.
Saturday 24th June 2023
Sadabahar: Evergreen Leek
HuG green arts festival
Foxlowe Arts Centre garden, Stockwell Street, Leek
In the festival garden meet young people who have important things to say about pollinating plants and insects and protecting nature.
Say hello to Devasiachan Benny, British Council India eco-tourism scholar, who is travelling to Leek (via Kerala in southern India).
Chat to students from Buxton and Leek College and the Staffordshire schools taking part in climate projects with Moorlands Climate Action.
Meet the new Leek Mayor, Matt Swindlehurst. He’s saying a few words at 2.00pm about the ways Sadabahar: Evergreen Leek is connecting India and Staffordshire.
CIRCLES creative writing
Museum room, Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery, Leek
Bring along your own object related to a circle… patterned fabric, a photo, or any circular object.
We’ll look at each object then write a few facts about it. Then we’ll use our imaginations to write more about the object, and see where it takes us.
Your words and ideas might be published on this website.
Book your FREE place by contacting Tourist Information on 01538 395530 or email email@example.com or exobjects2022@ gmail.com
Limited to 12 creative workshop places.
The Typing Man book was included in the event tickets. Read more about the story and its adaptations here.
Take part in exObjects 2023 online
Choose an object and write about your connection with it. If we look closely and use our imaginations, we can find new and hopeful ways to look at the world. You can create your own exObject by clicking here.
Imagine an Object…
On 27th April, rainy in Leek, the snug surroundings of Spout Brew House helped us explore the fact and fiction behind our objects.
Read some of our exObjects so far:
Small Boat on the Mantlepiece by Alison Nicholls
‘While Losing’ by Areeba Husain
‘Akhil’s BlackBerry, our treasure’ by Uday Vijayan
‘Dancing skirt’ by Mahboobeh Rajabi
‘It’s Another Kind of Love’ by Jayshree Tripathi
‘Exercise Book’ by Dr Ailsa Holland
‘My Home and Garden’ #3 by Devasiachan Benny
‘Lost Garden of a Lost House’ #2 by Devasiachan Benny
‘Keys of a Lost House’ #1 by Devasiachan Benny
‘Pewter-covered Box’ by Dr Ailsa Holland
‘A Brief History of Cars’ by Afreena Islam-Wright
‘Baseball Cap’ by Sandra Mangan
What is artificial silk?
Artificial silk is also a fibre made from wood pulp that is made into threads, or filaments, that can be given different colours and woven into material. Other names for it are rayon or viscose.
Filaments made in Lancashire from wood shipped from Scandinavia were formed into silk parachute canopies, sanitary pads, clothes for M&S and much, much more.
Across four decades these filaments were sold all over the world, from 1939 when the Courtaulds Preston factory opened, to its closure with the loss of 2,600 jobs.
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.
Terry Boyle recorded: Preston’s viscose lab, a story about the titration bench…
Read Jean Boyle’s Other lives obituary published in The Guardian on 10th February 2021.
Minds Turn to India
(terracotta animal, Ministry of Culture, Mysuru, southern 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 be forgotten.
“Finding new ways to understand the past
and forge cultural superhighways in the present.”
Join the conversation
artificialsilkorg @ gmail.com