Central to the Yorkshire Year of Textiles, led by the Cultural Institute at Leeds University, the life of the sculptor Mitzi Cunliffe is commemorated. Her stone carving Man Made Fibres on display on the university campus depicts two open hands cradling interwoven lines and was commissioned for the old School of Textiles. In later life, Cunliffe sufferred with Rheumatoid Arthritis, impedeing her ability to continue making. Interweave is a body of drawing, which explores the effects of arthritis on hands. The study began through consultation with arthritis sufferers at the Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit and expanded to condsider the higher risk of Rheumatoid Arthritis textile industry workers face. These drawings explore interconnecting areas: biomedical images of the connective tissues of joints, cellular structures and their growth and migration in the body and the interrelation of textile fibrous structures and the anatomical structures of hands.
Underpinning this is a considerable contribution of workers' hands in the preparation of worsted yarn for weaving at what was Moorside Mills, now Bradford Industrial Museum.
This exhibition is part of the Arts Council funded Yorkshire Year of the Textile programme, launched on the 60th anniversary of Man-made Fibres. The project is initiated by the Cultural Institute at the University of Leeds and celebrate's the region's rich textile heritage, focusing on creativity, innovation and new research.
Deborah Gardner is a visual artist who exhibits nationally and internationally in galleries, museums, cemeteries, sculpture parks, industrial regeneration sites and site-responsive projects. Most recently she completed a residency, Conway Actants, at Conway Hall, London, and exhibition Monument at the Musee des Beaux Arts, Calais and is currently in a two person exhibition, Textures of Place, touring from Poland to the Uraine, which reflects on the legacy of the textile industry in both Central Europe and Yorkshire. Deborah is a member of the Royal Society of British Sculpture.