The Nunnery Gallery in east London are now showing a new exhibition, Raw Materials: Textiles, which explores the industrial history of textiles along the River Lea. It traces a rich history that includes silk, calico and jute – including the invention of dye colours and block printing – with historical fabrics (loaned from William Morris and the V&A) together with contemporary interpretation from resident artists Sarah Desmarais and Freya Gabie.
Gabie’s conceptual sculpture explores trinitrotoluene, the yellow dye that was later used as an explosive, and Desmarias uses traditional dye and printing methods, including the dye-fast use of the colour madder that was first patented in Hackney Wick. Working with project partners that include local archives, London College of Fashion, Jewish Museum London and the V&A, much of the exhibition content has been driven by a community steering group, keen to unearth the stories of their local area’s past.
The show is accompanied by a lively event programme with further learning for all ages, including walking and boat tours along the River Lea, artist-led workshops and panel discussions. Visitors can also trace the buildings, businesses and objects found through the project on the Raw Materials interactive map, that now includes points from materials wood and textiles.
Raw Materials, 17 April - 24 June 2018
Nunnery Gallery, 181 Bow Road Bow, London, E3 2SJ