A poet is resurrected and printing and papermaking take centre stage in a trio of works that delve into 19th century hardships; an ethereal lightbox, delicately printed tissue paper and a stirring choral performance.
We often view our collective history through the lens of nostalgia, seeking comfort and reassurance from a familiar past. During my residency at Roach Bridge Tissues, I chose instead to seek out the unfamiliar and unexpectedly discovered the poetry of those workers who ushered in the modern world. These poems reveal much that could so easily have become lost to us. These small memories and forgotten moments from our manufacturing heritage; allow us to better remember who we may have been, and better define who we may yet become. My work asks you to remember William Billington, the ‘Blackburn Poet,’ and every hand loom spinner, doffer, engineer, artist, poet or papermaker who helped push “Blackburn to the fore! “
Seemingly simple things had an enormous impact during Jamie’s residency. He recalls hearing an off-the-cuff remark about a store of “old paper” which led him to unearth a treasure-trove of heritage tissue made at Roach Bridge on machines built in 1875; the last paper to be made at the site.
He has illuminated this fragile, antique tissue paper with the words of Blackburn poet William Billington, to be mailed to employees of the firm and Billington’s own descendants. The poet – another discovery of Holman’s – lived during the sometimes devastating industrial revolution. Holman has used his words to hold a dialogue between Blackburn’s industrial past and present, both on the rediscovered tissue and as a stirring choral arrangement, to be performed over the festival weekend by Blackburn People’s Choir.
His trio of reaching works concludes with a gallery installation of light, sound and physical objects that seeks to bridge the the distance between our industrial past and our manufacturing futures.
Jamie Holman studied at Chelsea College of Art and Design and is a contributing editor to The Saatchi Gallery Magazine Art and Music. Jamie works like an archaeologist, digging amongst our forgotten and discarded collective memories, lost words, and undervalued objects, remaking the images we associate with our communities and thriving on the unexpected connections and collisions that emerge.
Built on quality, service and integrity with a heritage in British manufacturing tradition, Roach Bridge tissues is a family owned and run business with over 170 years experience of tissue paper manufacturing. As a specialist flexographic printer, the company produces bespoke designs for retail branded packaging.
“Jamie’s ideas developed quickly when he saw what he could achieve with the material and machines. The whole experience of the Art in Manufacturing Project has been very exciting.
CAMILLA HADCOCK, ROACH BRIDGE TISSUES
Art in Manufacturing is a collaboration that saw manufacturers and workforce communities, often coming from generations that have worked in these industries, very generously impart their knowledge to the resident artists who, in turn, have shone a spotlight of excitement and curiosity onto their formidable skills and dedication.
Remember Me was made by the the artist Jamie Holman and the following collaborators