The Fabric of Oxford

Long-term readers of this blog and followers of my personal blog The Domestic Soundscape will know that one of my long term interests involves exploring the connections between places and textiles through sound.

Previous examples include:

Recording the sounds of Cumbrian shepherds and sheep and the landscape where Herdwick and Rough Fell sheep graze, then playing recordings back through a hand-knitted soundsystem covered in wool from the Lake District. Wonder of Wool exhibition in Rheged, 2012.

speakers covered in hand-knitted Lakeland wool, conveying the sounds of the Cumbrian landscape, shepherds and sheep
speakers covered in hand-knitted Lakeland wool, conveying the sounds of the Cumbrian landscape, shepherds and sheep

Running workshops in Estonia as part of a British-council funded residency in 2012, in which participants investigated links between sound and place through the creation of sound recordings and an “instant clothes museum”.

Kadrianna in her little red jacket on her little red bicycle, attempting to capture or record the sounds of cycling through Tallinn on the cobblestones with which she associates this favourite garment
Kadrianna in her little red jacket on her little red bicycle, attempting to capture or record the sounds of cycling through Tallinn on the cobblestones with which she associates this favourite garment

Creating a knitting pattern for covering a pillow speakers in Shetland wool and an accompanying soundmap detailing the provenance of that yarn in the Shetland landscape, and researching and presenting a performance entitled “Listening to Shetland Wool”. Shetland Wool Week 2013.

Listening to Shetland Wool - an interactive map on which you can click to hear sounds relating to the history and production of Shetland wool textiles
Listening to Shetland Wool – an interactive map on which you can click to hear sounds relating to the history and production of Shetland wool textiles

Growing and recording silkworms to understand the provenance of Richard Tuttle’s silk and viscose textile sculpture for the TATE Modern. Sonic Trail series, 2014.

Self-publishing a knitting book together with a forthcoming album of sounds which draws on the idea that knitting from our everyday environments (and listening to them) can provide an endless source of inspiration and enhance our sense of connection and belonging where we live. Here is one of the swatches from that book which is based on the A4074 road in Oxfordshire – a road about which I also produced a radio feature for the BBC.

The A4074 road on which I commute, as translated into knitted stitches
The A4074 road on which I commute, as translated into knitted stitches

As you can see in my arts practice I regularly explore connections between places and textiles through sound. Therefore I’m thrilled to announce that I have been commissioned by The Museum of Oxford to work on a production entitled The Fabric of Oxford between now and December. The project has been commissioned by the Museum as part of its 40th year anniversary celebrations and is being produced by Oxford Contemporary Music and in it I will be exploring Oxford’s history through the stories of particular textiles. The end result will be some kind of SONIC WARDROBE and a live performance in which I incorporate interviews, textiles, recorded and live sounds. It’s going to be amazing.

As with most of my projects I wish to engage different communities in Oxford in my sonic explorations of everyday textiles; the stories of other comrades in the city of Oxford will form the foundation for this work. The Fabric of Oxford is about the significance of textiles in our experiences of Oxford… and about documenting and exploring that significance through creative play and (in particular) sound-recording activities. In short, I need your help!

You can help by sharing your memories of textiles with me and by permitting me to make a good quality recordings. I am especially interested in

• Memories of significant outfits bought, made or worn in Oxford
• Information about where textiles were bought, made and sold in the city
• Aspects of dress particular to Oxford
• Anything about the history of wool farming in Oxford (for example wool markets)
• Industrial textile production in Oxford
• Memories of everyday work wear for different professions and work in Oxford
• Other aspects of Oxford’s textile history

If you have relevant memories which you would like to contribute to this project, please get in touch with my by emailing felicityford@outlook.com. You can also sign up to the project mailing list by visiting the following web address: http://www.knitsonik.com/the-museum-of-oxford/

Thanks to OCM and The Museum of Oxford for this amazing opportunity to explore The Fabric of Oxford… I am excited to delve deeper into the KNIT and the SONIK of the city.

YOURS IN TEXTILES + SOUNDS,
Fx

This entry was posted in KNITSONIK NEWS and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Fabric of Oxford

  1. Jo Ford says:

    How exciting!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *