A loom developed in Yorkshire – a Yorkshire woollen mill that was once the world’s largest – a renowned Yorkshire textile designer – and British Wool Yorkshire yarn were the ingredients of the micro-manufacturing project launched as part of Yorkshire Wool Week.
In partnership with Armley Mills (Leeds Industrial Museum) and designer Susan Gaunt, a 1921 Hattersley Standard Loom was brought back into service at Armley Mills under Susan Gaunt’s direction.
Producing a luxury, ethical cloth with a heritage pedigree using British wool – developed with Laxton’s Mill – Susan will be using the Hattersley to weave a unique cloth that for this particular project reflects the heritage of Armley Mills.
With the resurgence of interest and appreciation of the provenance of products in the luxury market the scheme will highlight the Yorkshire textile heritage and its place in modern day design. Ultimately the aim is for the cloth to be available on a commercial basis.
It was key to keep the cloth “local” taking inspiration from the “40 mile fleece to fabric” that Susan has developed with Laxton’s. A unique worsted spun British Wool cloth with exceptional handle and lustre (as commissioned by Jaeger). The cloth has all the environmental, ethical credentials that are becoming ever more at the forefront of clients’ purchasing decisions.
The Hattersley Standard Loom, built in Keighley by George Hattersley & Sons Ltd, was a mass seller in its day and was a great success for the company. The company were great innovators having pioneered the dobby head, a component which allowed looms to weave far more intricate patterns in cloth than had previously been possible.
The project will allow traditional weaving skills to be taught to the designers of the future. Textiles students will gain practical experience of the processes of weaving and design, as well as learning the skills and creative processes needed to produce woollen and worsted woven textiles.
Leeds City Councillor, Lucinda Yeadon, executive member for leisure and skills, said:
“I’m looking forward to seeing the first items of cloth featuring materials from local companies in Leeds, that are produced from one of our looms.”
Amy Jenkinson, Assistant Curator of Industrial History, Leeds City Council; Tom Bridges, Chief Economic Development Officer, Leeds City Council; Leeds City Councillor Lucinda Yeadon; Susan Gaunt, Textile Designer and Suzy Shepherd, Yorkshire Textiles.