Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Design



Lecturer Deborah Gardner will be exhibiting her work Interweave at Bradford Industrial Museum from 10th May, as part of the Yorkshire Year of Textiles programme.

The life of the sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe is commemorated at the centre of this Arts Council-funded project, organised through the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds.  Her stone carving Man Made Fibres on display on the university campus depicts two open hands cradling interwoven lines and was commissioned for the old School of Textiles (now Clothworkers Central).

In later life Cunliffe suffered increasingly with arthritis, and the repetitive severity of the working processes she employed to make her sculpture may have exacerbated this condition. In the exhibition Interweave, Deborah reflects, through a body of drawings, on the effects of arthritis on hands.  This exploration ranges from studies of arthritic hands from members of the PPI group at the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit and a recognition of their support for one another and their understanding of their own disease to studies of pigmented bio images of cellular migration and the finger like protrusions of tissue growth where erosion and inflammation occurs.

Underpinning this is a consideration of the increased risk for textile workers to develop arthritis, an examination of weave patterns and their similarities with human anatomical structures and an acknowledgement of the considerable contribution of workers’ hands in the preparation of worsted yarn for weaving at what was Moorside Mills, now Bradford Industrial Museum.

Deborah Gardner is a visual artist who exhibits nationally and internationally in galleries, museums, cemeteries, sculpture parks, industrial regeneration sites and site-responsive projects. Most recently she completed a residency, Conway Actants , at Conway Hall, London, an exhibition Monument at the Musée des Beaux Arts, Calais and is currently in  a two person exhibition, Textures of Place, touring from Poland to the Ukraine, which reflects on the legacy of the textile industry in both Central Europe and Yorkshire.   Deborah is a member of the Royal Society of British Sculpture.

The exhibition will be launched at 12pm on 13th May with an “In Conversation” event between Deborah and Ann Sumner, Strategic Lead for the Yorkshire Year of Textiles programme and Visiting Professor at the School of Fine Art, History of Arts and Cultural Studies. Following this there will be refreshments and a chance to take a look at the exhibition. Free to attend, no booking required.

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