Lancashire manufacturers commission artists for inspiration

Nehal Aamir

Four artists have been commissioned to work with world-leading manufacturers as part of Art in Manufacturing, a commissioning programme for the National Festival of Making in Blackburn.

They are emerging artist/designer Nehal Aamir, who specialises in the storytelling of rituals and realities of contemporary life through creating intricate, hand-painted tiles, is in residence with architectural ceramic experts Darwen Terracotta and Faience.

Horace Lindezey, a studio ceramicist and textile artist with visual arts charity Venture Arts who support learning disabled artists, will design and develop new work with Blackburn’s The Making Rooms.

Margo Selby, awarded the 2021 Turner Medal for Britain’s Greatest Colourist, whose eponymous product ranges are available through national retailers including John Lewis, as well as her woven artworks which are collected and exhibited worldwide, is going into residence with textile printing company, Standfast & Barracks in Lancaster.

Artist, public art curator and producer Sam Williams, known for her playful and playable installations is working with state-of-the-art packaging plant The Cardboard Box Company, Accrington.

Sam Williams

Since Art in Manufacturing began in 2016, 31 artists have been commissioned to work with 24 artisan makers and manufacturers, often with groundbreaking and diverse results. These distinctive creative partnerships see emerging and established artists develop their practice in residency at an industry workplace, working together with the factories’ highly skilled specialists.

The residencies take place between November and July, culminating in a celebration of new collaborative installations at the National Festival of Making on 6 and 7 July and are a unique opportunity for the manufacturers to reveal the expertise that has led to them being at the forefront of their industries.

Elena Jackson, Curator of the Art in Manufacturing programme and Co-Director of the National Festival of Making, said: “I am always blown away by the standard of proposals that we get from artists to take part in Art in Manufacturing. We know that being able to work in and with the expert teams in each factory is a unique and valuable opportunity for artists, offering them more than just a chance to create new work. By being able to collaborate with a highly skilled manufacturing workforce, there is a mutual sharing of talents, of experience, and of knowledge that results in exciting installations only possible because of these inspirational partnerships that span art and industry. This year’s artists and manufacturers bring their own contrasting specialisms and backgrounds to the programme and we can’t wait to see the results.”

Margo Selby