Textile artist & designer Margo Selby will unveil colourful site-specific sensory installation at National Festival of Making.

British textile artist and designer, Margo Selby, will unveil her newest site-specific artwork this weekend; a large fabric sculpture featuring a colour palette created from the input of over 100 workers at Standfast & Barracks factory in Lancaster.

Winner of the Turner Medal for Britain’s Greatest Colourist, Margo is known for her impactful use of colour and striking geometric designs. Visitors to the National Festival of Making in Blackburn, Lancashire, this Saturday 6 & Sunday 7 July 2024, can experience the designers' latest celebratory textile installation, immersive in colour, form and, even, sound - composed by artist Peter Coyte specifically for the festival.

This work is co-commissioned by the British Textile Biennial, and comprises 100 metres of printed and pleated fabric, marking 100 years of Standfast & Barracks. 160 colours were chosen by the staff, uncovered during interviews, and each hue associated with a personal memory.

Occupying the North Transept of Blackburn Cathedral, the form of the site-specific sculpture evokes the movement of textiles throughout the factory, travelling in waves and folds through the machinery. This journey is also seen in technical drawings found in the archive.

The suspended form initially lies on the cathedral floor, before reaching up to tower 9 metres into the vaulted ceiling, then descending back down. This rise and fall reflects a respiratory waveform, a deep breath in and out again; ‘Breathing Colour’ - the very nature of the workforce at Standfast & Barracks, which aligns so closely with the work of Margo Selby Studio.

The construction of the piece is inspired by lenticular printing, with the cloth stitched into concertinaed ‘gills’ that reveal concealed colours and forms when viewed from different angles or lifted by hand. Viewers are encouraged to engage with the installation. The colour stories collected from the staff are hidden within the pleats of the fabric for the audience to discover.

The arrangement of colour is initially inspired by the methodical organisation of the colour swatches and colour cards found in the Standfast and Barracks archive. Within the work, each of the 160 colours are distributed in scaling stripes, mathematically augmented to transition from one tone to the next to create a vibrant, uplifting optical flow.

Margo has collaborated with composer-artist Peter Coyte to craft a sound piece that enriches the immersive experience of the artwork, capturing sounds from the factory and evoking its history. This includes the rhythms from the machinery, the relationship between the river and the factory, as well as paying homage to the historic Standfast and Barracks brass band.

Viewable from all angles, visitors are invited to put on the headphones provided to navigate around the installation and immerse themselves in the colour and sound.

‘Breathing Colour’ will be exhibited during the National Festival of Making at Blackburn Cathedral 6 +7 July, 2024. For more information and to plan your visit, click here.