Laura Wilson: Circling

Mon – Tue, 9am – 6pm; Wed, 9am – 5pm; Thu, 10am – 6pm; Fri, 9am – 5pm; Sat, 9am – 4pm

Crown Street Art Gallery

A series of weavings made with linen which explore how memory is created, stored and translated through the body, learning, movement and labour.

Linen is one of the strongest fibres in existence. It resists mildew and bacteria, it is hardwearing and doesn’t easily decompose. People with traditional skills were required to produce it.

Over the last two years artist Laura Wilson has been learning how to weave by hand on a table loom, while researching the social history of the fabric and its manufacture alongside her own family history, which revealed that her ancestors worked in factories in Portadown and Lisburn in Northern Ireland as weavers, warpers and yarn winders. 

Works in this exhibition were developed in parallel with Wilson’s changing pregnant body. The largest, Winding, then Winding (2023) was produced after childbirth and took structure from the cycle of the artist’s caring for her newborn, changing the weaving pattern or weft yarn following nursing or soothing. The linen maps the passage of time as a new parent, growth spurts, cluster feeding and naps: a counterpoint to the increasing pace of mechanical production and often invisible, outsourced labour of today’s new technologies and unsustainable production of fabrics for fast fashion, as well as the relationship between women’s work and labour.

The exhibition title comes from Laura’s newest work presented here for the first time. Circling (2023) is a weaving made with the artist’s mother, who she taught how to weave earlier this year as part of her exhibition at CCA Derry~Londonderry. They wove together on the first day of the exhibition and other weavers from Northern Ireland were invited to contribute to the weaving during the exhibition run. Laura’s mother passed away in Autumn 2023 and Laura has completed the weaving that they started together.

A text by Kerri ní Dochartaigh accompanies the work and is available for visitors to take away or download.

Darlington Library Crown Street Darlington DL1 1ND

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16 December 2023—25 January 2024

  • Mon 9am – 6pm
  • Tue 9am – 6pm
  • Wed 9am – 5pm
  • Thu 10am – 6pm
  • Fri 9am – 5pm
  • Sat 9am – 4pm
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