I am currently working with Chard museum in Somerset as part of a Muse: Makers in Museums commission. I have been researching their collections and in particular have been fascinated by the town’s past industrial heritage and links to textiles and clothing over the last century.
I have been especially interested in researching women in industries connected to Chard. I made these discoveries on a research and development visit a couple of weeks ago and I also met some ladies who had grown up in Chard when I was based at the museum over a few days.
They used to work as hairdressers in the town and recalled how on a Friday evening all the factory workers would pile out and want their hair washed and set ready for the weekend. Often their hair was powdered with a graphite substance which would have come from the machinery.
Chard is known for it’s lace industry, it was a machine net that is produced still today and used in netting products.
The museum holds a vast collection of an old lace machine and some of the cogs and parts that would have been used in the production. I am gathering together lots of different sources to help me develop my installation.