We commissioned Dewsbury-based visual artist Harriet Lawson through the Dewsbury Creative Town arts programme to create a temporary artwork on Union Street.

Harriet’s work explores some of the lesser known stories of the local shoddy industry and formed part of the town celebrations for Heritage Open Days 2022.

Harriet is a graduate from Batley School of Art and now has a studio based in Dewsbury Town Centre, where she specialises in painting, drawing and digital art.

Born and bred in Dewsbury, she is passionate about the town and its heritage and wants the artwork to celebrate the town’s textile history.

Harriet said:

I have been lucky enough to speak to a few people, especially a man called Howard Summers, who has actually passed away whilst I have been in the research stage of this project. He told me about everything he and his brother achieved and I feel I have captured a little bit of history by talking to him. I want the project to be accurate and something that the people in the industry can be proud of. I am now at the stage where I am collecting all these stories and putting them into imagery.

Harriet’s work features a number of elements from her research such as: auctioning the bails of rags, the machinery and tools used, and the pickers who were mainly women.

Tales from t’mill is installed outside the Dewsbury Creative Craft Centre on Union Street.

Harriet would like to thank: interviewees Howard Summer, Tammey Foster, John Clay and John Parkinson; Gaba Berettoni – sound editor; and the Creative Craft Centre.

Photo credit: Lucille Moore.

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