Artists collaborate with manufacturers as part of Art of Manufacturing

Posted on 13 May 2024 by The Manufacturer

Four artists have been commissioned to work with world-leading manufacturers as part of Art in Manufacturing, the headline commissioning programme for the National Festival of Making in Blackburn, Lancashire.

They are:

  • Emerging artist/designer Nehal Aamir, who specialises in the storytelling of rituals and realities of contemporary life through creating intricate, hand-painted tiles, is in residence with architectural ceramic experts Darwen Terracotta and Faience.
  • Horace Lindezey, a studio ceramicist and textile artist with visual arts charity Venture Arts who support learning disabled artists, will design and develop new work with Blackburn’s The Making Rooms.
  • Margo Selby, awarded the 2021 Turner Medal for Britain’s Greatest Colourist, whose eponymous product ranges are available through national retailers including John Lewis, as well as her woven artworks which are collected and exhibited worldwide, is going into residence with textile printing company, Standfast & Barracks in
  • Artist, public art curator and producer Sam Williams, known for her playful and playable installations is working with state-of-the-art packaging plant The Cardboard Box Company,

Since Art in Manufacturing began in 2016, 31 artists have been commissioned to work with 24 artisan makers and manufacturers, often with groundbreaking and diverse results. These distinctive creative partnerships see emerging and established artists develop their practice in residency at an industry workplace, working together with the factories’ highly skilled specialists.

The residencies take place between November and July, culminating in a celebration of new collaborative installations at the National Festival of Making on 6 and 7 July and are a unique opportunity for the manufacturers to reveal the expertise that has led to them being at the forefront of their industries.

Elena Jackson, Curator of the Art in Manufacturing programme and Co-Director of the National Festival of Making, said: “I am always blown away by the standard of proposals that we get from artists to take part in Art in Manufacturing. We know that being able to work in and with the expert teams in each factory is a unique and valuable opportunity for artists, offering them more than just a chance to create new work. By being able to collaborate with a highly skilled manufacturing workforce, there is a mutual sharing of talents, of experience, and of knowledge that results in exciting installations only possible because of these inspirational partnerships that span art and industry. This year’s artists and manufacturers bring their own contrasting specialisms and backgrounds to the programme and we can’t wait to see the results.”

Manchester based Nehal Aamir, a ceramicist fascinated by craft and traditional techniques, has a practice that’s been heavily influenced by her experiences as a Muslim woman. This is the third Art in Manufacturing residency hosted by industry leader Darwen Terracotta which has supplied products to international artists including Grayson Perry and Richard Deacon. Aamir will work with the team at Darwen Terracotta drawing on their expertise in the design and manufacture of architectural terracotta, faience and sculpture to create a work that will be exhibited at Blackburn Museum & Art Gallery and informed by its collection during its 150th year in 2024.

Through his work, Horace Lindezey depicts the world around him, his family and memories of his childhood growing up in Hulme and Moss Side, Manchester. Work created in residence with community-led fab lab The Making Rooms, exploring modern fabrication equipment that combines advanced manufacturing with traditional craft processes, will form the artist’s first solo exhibition. Lindezey is an established studio artist with Venture Arts, a visual arts organisation based in Manchester working with learning disabled artists to deliver placements and exhibitions with artists represented in collections worldwide.

Specialist in woven thread and colour, Whitstable’s Margo Selby is an artist and a commercial textiles designer whose meticulously designed rugs, cushions and fabrics have made her a household name. Renowned for its impressive heritage of textile printing, Standfast & Barracks, part of the international Sanderson Design Group, is hosting an artistic residency for the first time, marking its 100-year anniversary in 2024. Selby’s work is an Art in Manufacturing co-commission between National Festival of Making and British Textile Biennial.

Sam Williams, originally from Tamworth in the West Midlands and now based in Brighton, has produced and delivered public artworks across the UK including at events and festivals, drawing inspiration from her childhood experience growing up in a local theme park, Drayton Manor, where her family (and later she) worked. Her plan is to create a large scale installation, in response to industrial factory environments made reality through a relationship with multi award winning state of the art corrugated sheet plant The Cardboard Box Company. This will be the third Art in Manufacturing residency the manufacturer has embarked on.

The National Festival of Making is an annual free celebration of UK making featuring performances, workshops, talks, exhibitions and markets across Blackburn town centre. The full festival programme will be announced in the coming weeks.

Fore more articles like this, visit our People & Skills channel.