Verdant Works new exhibition gives a peek inside one of Dundee’s last surviving textile factories.
An art exhibition at Verdant Works invites visitors to peek inside one of Dundee’s last surviving textile factories, the result of a six-month project by artist Nicola Wiltshire.
Each work is painted in oil on waxed cotton and features scenes from inside Halley Stevensons, sharing the people and processes Nicola encountered during her six-month residency at the Dundee factory.
Based at Baltic Works since 1864, Halley Stevensons is the leading manufacturer and innovator in waxed cotton and weatherproofed fabrics, with clients including Barbour, Ralph Lauren, Kerrie Aldo and Nicholas Daley.
Louisa Attaheri, Curator with Dundee Heritage Trust, which runs Verdant Works in Dundee, said:
“Hosting Nicola’s exhibition was a no-brainer for us, as it brings together one of Dundee’s last
surviving textile factories with Verdant Works, one of the nation’s most important textile museums. Baltic Works, with its magnificent chimney, is an iconic part of Dundee’s industrial landscape. We’re willing to bet that few people knew that chimney marks the humble beginnings of Barbour’s waxed jacket though.”
Nicola Wiltshire, described recently by The Guardian as an “artist to watch”, did an MFA at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design. Nicola said:
“The Baltic Works chimney was the first thing I wanted to paint when I moved to Dundee, so I’m very excited that I’ve been painting from a studio inside the factory. Dundee has a rich textiles heritage but I wanted to highlight what is being produced in the city today. It’s been such a unique experience, with the bustling atmosphere of the factory floor really working its way into my paintings.”
The free exhibition The Loom Runs. The Smoke Rises runs from 29th July to 29th October. There will be a meet-the-artist event this Saturday 29th July from 2pm to 4pm.
The exhibition is the latest in a series of events to have taken place during Verdant Works’ 20th birthday year. The Verdant Works buildings date back to the mid-19th century and are now owned by Dundee Heritage Trust, which also operates RRS Discovery. The Trust opened the museum – with the public’s help – in September 1996 and completed the second phase a year later. Most of the items in the museum are donated by residents of Dundee, considered the home of the jute industry in Scotland.
Verdant Works, so-called because when it was built the area around it was green fields, once employed 500 people, making it the 16th biggest employer in Dundee’s jute industry at the time.
This exhibition runs until 29 October 2017.