Sunny Bank Mills Archive

Back in December I wrote about my visit to the Archive at Sunny Bank Mills which you can read about here.  On Monday I visited the archive once again to meet with the Curator Rachel and view the Range Books.
Archive shelf with Range Books
Archive shelf with Range Books
 This was my third visit to the archive and I was excited to view some of the books in more detail. My research at Sunny Bank Mills and the Archive is part of a potential exhibition this year working alongside other textile based artists and responding to the theme of weave.
As my practice is embroidery based I tend not to use a large amount of woven fabric so I wanted to explore the weaving patterns created at the mill and see how I could develop them into stitched pieces that I can exhibit.
The first book I looked at was a Piece Delivery Book, this book was re-used by the company to stick peg plans into. I love the juxtaposition of hand written text hiding underneath the blue cardboard peg plans.
Detail of Piece Delivery Book 40000 - 40699
Detail of Piece Delivery Book 40000 – 40699
 I love the detail of this Range Book, it’s well worn and has lots of folded pages which are dogeared from years of use in the mill. The edge of the book with the different layers of paper and card is fascinating and reminds me of the shelves full of fabric samples at the Archive.
Some of the re-purposed books were old account ledgers, the names and wages of some of the mill employees are still visible.
Detail of Spinning Book Number 5
Detail of Spinning Book Number 5
 When I get back into the studio I will start picking out details from the photographs and look at colours, textures and how I can start sampling with stitch.
Visiting the Archive is a great opportunity to learn about textiles and history. If you would like to visit they are open on the first Wednesday of the month from 10am to 12pm. You can also contact Archive Curator Rachel to book an appointment, arrange a tour or become part of the volunteer team, her email address is