A textile sculpture celebrating Armley’s rich industrial heritage has been unveiled in Armley Park today as part of the Leeds 2023 launch.
The sculpture, featuring two horses, has been created by West Leeds-based knitting and crochet group Hookers and Clickers in collaboration with artists Rosie Vohra and Amelia Wood from artist-led studio Assembly House, which is also based in Armley.
The sculpture shows two large horses created using appliqué fabric and embroidery, and have also be covered by a collection of 75 pieces made by the Hookers & Clickers group.
The work show scenes from Armley and elements of industrial heritage, local housing, the horse on Armley moor and more.
The artwork is available to see in Armley Park until Tuesday 1 June. Artists Amelia Wood and Rosie Vohra told West Leeds Dispatch that their collaboration with the Hookers and Clickers group was unique as it was carried out over lockdown.
Ideas and artwork were exchanged by post rather than in person, with the embroidery created in the homes of Hookers and Clickers members across West Leeds and beyond.
“We hope everyone will enjoy the artwork as a celebration of Armley’s industrial heritage,” said Rosie Vohra. “The project is a combination of fine art and craft, which are not always associated with each other. It’s a celebration of these two disciplines working together as equals.”
The Hookers and Clickers (Do It For Charity) knitting and crochet group, met regularly before the pandemic at community base Unit 11 in Kirkstall Bridge Shopping Park. They’ve been co-ordinating online during the pandemic.
The group is a national effort, with more than 400 members across the country. Hookers and Clickers connects like-minded people in an attempt to make the world a better place by knitting and crocheting for various charities.
One of the group’s founders, Joanne Brophy from Bramley, was at today’s launch in Armley Park and said she was pleased with the finished artwork.
Today marked the start of Leeds 2023’s ‘Letting Culture Loose’ initiative – a new drive that will see artists working with local people in communities across the city, as support ramps up for this ground-breaking year of cultural activity.
Leeds Culture Trust, the charity behind Leeds 2023, wants to champion all forms of creativity that take place every day in Leeds’s diverse communities; working to uncover the hidden, unconventional, unusual stories and unsung heroes that ultimately will form part of a new narrative for a city whose time in the limelight is long overdue.
The trust aims to dispel any narrow definitions of art and culture, unlocking opportunities for every child and resident in all 33 Leeds wards to be part of 365 days of cultural celebrations.
Armley’s multi-award winning poet Rommi Smith and film and photography director Ndrika Anyika will also produce a film fusing original poetry, voices and music to celebrate the diversity of languages spoken in the city.
The piece will include a poem written and performed by Ms Smith in collaboration with musician and composer Ivan Stott, members of Leeds-based MAFWA Theatre Company, and refugees and asylum seekers through Armley’s allotment project and Armley’s Christ Church Meeting Point project.