Colne Valley Museum in Golcar, Huddersfield, marked its reopening this summer with a new exhibition by artist, illustrator and printmaker, Ed Kluz. Featuring a number of new artworks, the exhibition — which runs until 4 October 2021 — celebrates the history of the museum and the skills and techniques it preserves to this day.
Originally the home of independent cloth manufacturers, the Pearsons, the weavers’ cottages became the head office of the Golcar Socialist Club before being donated for use as a museum. Colne Valley Museum’s dedicated team of volunteers has ensured the building, and marker of industrial heritage, is an active museum, keeping alive the working class history of the area. The museum was awarded the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service in 2020 in recognition of the contribution its volunteers make to the local community.
Image: 19th century sampler from the museum collection on display as part of the exhibition
The new exhibition by Ed Kluz, In Praise of Makers, is part of the Arts Council England-funded Meeting Point programme, led by contemporary arts agency Arts&Heritage, that partners leading UK and international artists with six museums in Yorkshire, the North West and the North East to produce new artworks inspired by the museums and their collections. Melanie Williams from Colne Valley Museum, said: “What Ed has done is create a collection of artworks and items that presents Colne Valley Museum in a brand new way.
“Each one tells a piece of our history and champions the traditional skills of the textile industry, which defined this area and became the livelihood of so many people that lived here. We have an important story to tell and we hope this exhibition will help people see why we need to preserve the skills that helped Yorkshire’s textile industry become a global powerhouse.”
Image: ‘IN PRAISE OF MAKERS’ Banner created by Ed using wool cloth woven on the 1840s museum handlooms by Raymond Ellis. The banner was constructed by Lydia Whiting, Natalie Stapleton and Susan Rushworth at McNair Shirts in Slaithwaite.
Ed’s artworks include a large cloth banner, woven at Colne Valley Museum with members of the local community, emblazoned with the words ‘in praise of makers’. The piece includes cloth and cotton sourced from the local area. A number of intricate needleworks will showcase mottos from the early 18th and 19th centuries. These pieces have been made with a local craft and textile group that meet regularly at Colne Valley Museum.
Additional items in Ed’s exhibition include wooden-carved biscuit moulds, ceramics, and items from the Colne Valley Museum collection, which all help tell the rich history of the local area. Artist, Ed Kluz, said: “Colne Valley Museum is a hub of traditional skills, from cloth and clog making to cooking, storytelling and crafts. Thanks to the revival of cottage industries, the talent stored in this building is as relevant today as it was in the heyday of the industrial revolution.
Image: Radical Cabinet, ceramics from the museum collection sit alongside new vessels created by Ed.
“I hope this exhibition helps people remember why we need to preserve and protect Golcar’s textile and manufacturing heritage. With so many independent makers in the area, Colne Valley Museum can become a place of learning and help revive traditional manufacturing techniques that risk being lost and forgotten.”
Meeting Point has gained a reputation for its innovative approach to forging relationships between artists and museums and heritage spaces. The programme is an opportunity for artists to work with unique collections and unlock access to the knowledge of museum curators, whilst supporting small and medium scale museums to develop skills in commissioning new contemporary art for local audiences to experience.
Image: The six embroideries created by Ed and members of the Colne Valley Museum textile group displayed with a 19th century clog makers sign from the museum collection.
Stephanie Allen, Executive Director at Arts&Heritage said: “Ed’s exhibition at Colne Valley Museum includes stories from the local community so visitors gain a deeper understanding about the museum and its role as a family home, an important part of Yorkshire’s textile industry, and as a political meeting place. The work Ed has produced will help visitors experience the museum’s collections in a new way and encourage more people to discover this unique and special venue.”
Ed Kluz’s exhibition at Colne Valley Museum runs until Monday 4 October 2021. For more information visit www.colnevalleymuseum.org.uk.
Lead image credit: Embroidery by Margaret Hizzet, a long-standing member of the Museum community. Her embroidery, designed by Ed, makes use of a typeface derived from the Skelmanthorpe Flag - an early 19th century protest banner in the collection of the Tolson Museum in Huddersfield.