The tension between the industrialisation of cotton manufacturing and traditional cottage industry is the starting point for James Fox’s new work that explores the history of protest and punishment via the Lancashire loombreaker riots of 1826. The installation at Helmshore Mill includes James’ trademark hard-hitting embroideries and prints plus a new film collaboration with Maxine Peake presenting the tragic continuum of women’s experience of the criminal justice system over two centuries.
James is famed for his work which aims to challenge the audience’s expectations regarding important themes such as gender roles, work and culture. Innovative home furnishing and textile manufacturer Alexander Maverick collaborated with the internationally-acclaimed Scottish textile artist for the British Textile Biennial installation this year - which closes on 31 October.
Nick Thomas, Head Designer at Alexander Maverick said, “We were honoured to collaborate with James on this project, and be part of an active collaboration where we could contribute our textile design, colouring and printing experience to achieve a great joint outcome. We really valued the message being delivered by James’s art, with it’s look back at social history as a way of projecting forward what we might need for a better future. At Alexander Maverick we identify with the rich textile history of the North West and saw this project as a way to become involved in providing something innovative and beautiful for the present.”
The installation includes a selection of cushions and printed lengths from Alexander Maverick, to be displayed throughout the textile museum. The pieces were printed with one of James’ designs which was seamlessly repeated using CAD/CAM software and produced in multiple colourways for him to select from. All designs were printed onto a natural linen base cloth.
The exhibition was a co-commission with British Textile Biennial and Mid Pennine Arts as part of their Pendle Radicals programme.
The Biennial programme runs from 1-31 October 2021. Rights, Riots and Routes is open every Friday to Sunday 12pm-4pm at the Helmshore Mills Textile Museum.
Find out more about Alexander Maverick on their website: https://www.alexandermaverick.co.uk/