A co-commission between National Festival of Making and British Textile Biennial, Funufactury immersed audiences in floor-to-ceiling textile sculpture.
The installation was creatively developed by Ibukun Baldwin in-conversation with the factory, and created from denim deadstock saved for the artist at Cookson & Clegg, a manufacturer reshaping traditional systems with their innovative 10-2 Production Line.
At the Funufactury, offcuts from the denim line came to life, taking the form of beings who embodied a manufacturing spirit but with no production quotas to determine their workflow. Their skilled hands made for the joy they find in the act of creating, and they encouraged those who entered the Funufactury to join them in stitching, fixing and patching the enveloping denim environment.
During her residency, the artist worked with local partners at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council and The Calico Group to connect with families who had been evacuated from Afghanistan within the last 12 months. Through the process, Palwasha and Razma were hired as Art Assistants and supported Ibukun Baldwin in creating her installation, taking part in weekly sewing workshops with the artist at Blackburn College.
Funufactury will be re-exhibited during British Textile Biennial in Autumn.
Funufacturing is birthed from the leftovers of the amazing work done at Cookson & Clegg. Imagining a world where the pride, skills and love Cookson & Clegg makers have for their craft has been embedded into the very fabric they use to make clothes. Having the vast resource of fabric available at the factory allowed me to reach a new level of scale and ambition with my textile art that I haven’t yet been able to do before.
Ibukun Baldwin is a multidisciplinary artist and social practitioner specialising in print, illustration and embroidery. Her work has grown out of an awareness of the neglected needs of marginalised communities and the potential role that innovative, contemporary, hand-crafted design can play. Baldwin is also founder of fashion brand Bukky Baldwin Ltd which focuses on the importance of community and providing employment opportunities for marginalised groups. Past commissions include a residency at The Whitworth in Manchester, exploring community grief and healing with Manchester International Festival.
Cookson & Clegg were founded in Blackburn in 1860. By the mid-20th century, they were a major supplier of military outerwear, legwear and other sewn products to the British Army. Today the firm employs those same expert skills essential in the production of military grade clothing and applies them to the manufacturing of jeans, chinos, trousers, and workwear for some of the UK’s finest sustainable clothing brands, including jeans for Patrick Grant’s Community Clothing brand.