Clare Wellesley-Smith

Inspiration and detail of work by Clare Wellesley-Smith based on records held in Bradford College Textile Archive

"I picked one of the many dyer’s notebooks in the Society of Dyers and Colourists’ collection by David Smith, 1819 - 1892: Halifax based dyer and printer, prolific writer and strict Baptist minister.

The notebooks in this collection span a long career, a record of recipes used and samples made but with other curiosities amongst his exacting instructions. His books brought to mind the ‘commonplace books’ of an earlier time, a place to note down important texts, useful reminders, passages from scripture, musical annotations.

Book 41 is specific to the creation of black dyes on cloth. It is a handmade book, full of text, a few sample pieces and some music.

My flyped bundles of local woollen cloth have slowly absorbed a traditional black dye and are saddened using iron. I am using materials to explore the density of processes that now mostly happen out of view, and the arcane textile language that accompanied them."