Events and News

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.

News about the workshops and festivals happening later in 2024 and 2025 will be posted soon.

even longer feathers



Listen to our short story commission about fireflies (jugnus) encountered in Uttar Pradesh, northern India:

Listen to our HuG green arts festival soundscape that melds outdoor sounds recorded in the Western Ghats, southern India (UNESCO world heritage) and in Staffordshire, England:


Email your exObjects writing and image to us: exObjects2022 @ Find out more here

EVEN longer feathers 22.30.26

 Creative Postcards

The Sadabahar postcard shows the Mimusops elengi flower, a common sight in the south of India.
Everyone was invited to write a message on the reverse of the card about what ‘evergreen’ means to them.
reverse of sponsored postcard

The words round the edge of the postcard are associated with evergreen plants across the world.

Karthika Sakthivel Zoomed postcard advice to us from Karnatika in the south of India.

Sauma Afreen posted a personal letter to pupils at Werrington School from Uttar Pradesh in the north of India (via the Leek Town Council offices).

5 Sauma Afreen from India

Messages were shared through Leek Repair Cafe, Moorlands Climate Action and other community groups in Staffordshire.

3 2 1


Shinie Antony, director of Bangalore Literature Festival, Sauma Afreen and Devasiachan Benny took part in the writing workshops in person or by Zoom.


Wherever you live in the world, you can take part.

Join the conversation by messaging us on…




exObjects2022 @

ATBoyleAuthorPhotoA.T. Boyle is writer in residence.
Find out more about her writing and projects.

The Typing Man book was included in the event tickets. Read more about the story and its adaptations here.



Take part in exObjects 2024 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.

even longer feathers

Previous arts events
At the Repair Cafe on Saturday 15th July we made connections between the objects brought for repair and the things we would like to see repaired in the environment.
On Saturday 1st July we ran a free CIRCLES themed creative writing workshop at the Nicholson Museum and Art Gallery.

With the curator Alison Nicholls we explored one of the oldest objects in the museum, a cup and ring marked stone found in a Staffordshire field.

We ran our fingers round the dips and elevations of a plaster model and talked about our ‘circle’ objects that we had found or bought or been given by family and friends, objects that mean something to us.

See some exObjects creative writing here


On Saturday 24th June Sadabahar: Evergreen Leek had an outdoor stall at HuG green arts festival run by Moorlands Climate Action.


In the garden at Foxlowe Arts Centre we had many enriching conversations about what might be written about climate change on a blank blackboard.


We asked everyone a question. Here are some of the things they told us…






The Sadabahar: Evergreen Leek project was part-funded by the UK government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.




Leek Arts Festival

On 23rd May in the gorgeous garden of Silk House Hotel we delved into the ways objects can inspire us.
Participants brought along an object that means something to them. Through conversation and writing we discovered many common – and inspiring – threads.
Silk House Hotel Garden copyr SHH
photo copyright Silk House Hotel


On 27th April, rainy in Leek, the snug surroundings of Spout Brew House helped us explore the fact and fiction behind our objects.

We were joined by Deva Benny, who travelled from London to Leek for the first time (and before that from Kerala in southern India). Shinie Antony joined us digitally.
Spout Brew House by Richard Williams
Spout Brew House venue, photo copyright Richard Williams
Devasiachan Benny, cultural tourism scholar, Goldsmiths University, London, travelled to Leek for the first time and took part in the workshop
Shinie Antony, director of Bangalore Literature Festival and writer, joined the workshops via Zoom










Read some of our exObjects so far:

Old Cloths by Maggie Pollard


Small Boat on the Mantlepiece by Alison Nicholls


‘Sadabahar’ by Sauma Afreen

Sadabahar image Sauma Afreen

‘While Losing’ by Areeba Husain

Earrings IMG-20220704-WA0009

‘Akhil’s BlackBerry, our treasure’ by Uday Vijayan

Akhil's blackberry

‘Dancing skirt’ by Mahboobeh Rajabi

skirt for web

‘It’s Another Kind of Love’ by Jayshree Tripathi

Aaee crop

‘Exercise Book’ by Dr Ailsa Holland


‘My Home and Garden’ #3 by Devasiachan Benny

Flowers - smaller use for Part 3

‘Lost Garden of a Lost House’ #2 by Devasiachan Benny

flowers SMALL on stony ground

‘The Limp’ by Areeba Husain

Smaller shop Areeba Hussain 17.4.22

‘Keys of a Lost House’ #1 by Devasiachan Benny

2 separate keys IMG-20220326-083907

‘Pewter-covered Box’ by Dr Ailsa Holland

Pewter covered wooden box copyright Ailsa Holland

A Brief History of Cars’ by Afreena Islam-Wright


Baseball Cap’ by Sandra Mangan

Crop baseball cap with David

‘Watch’ by Dr Ailsa Holland

Ailsa's rose gold watch 29.1.22


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.

Jean Crossthwaite doing titration analysis in the lab, 1951 WPAcross 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

clay cow smaller(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.

purple waistcoat Mysuru small

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.

Ironwork Wellington Building Mysuru, Directorate of Archaelogy and Museums

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.

Duke of Wellington anthropological museum Mysuru

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.

Madras Literary Society Chennai - Alison Boyle

And in Salford a giant window display at the People’s History Museum connects textile shades made in Northern England with Indian factory workers.

macaroons on windowEngine 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.

seen and not forgotten in Mysuru small“Finding new ways to understand the past
and forge cultural superhighways in the present.”


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