Return to Ritherdon is a Research and Development residency at Ritherdon & Co Ltd, a manufacturer of  steel electrical enclosure and clever metalwork in Darwen, Lancashire. During the residency I will investigate all areas of the factory ecosystem, fully embedding myself within its working culture, studying efficiency and lean manufacturing philosophy in everyday production, business, marketing and distribution operations. The project will develop my relationship with the family owned manufacturer over a period of 18 months, resulting in a new body of multimedia works.

My relationship with the factory will be contextualised by research into the Artist Placement Group material at Tate Archives, with a view to identify new ways in which an artist can work with a manufacturer.

The project, developing methodologies and artworks will be discussed during a series of free public discussions taking place throughout the timeline of the project. These discussions will be held at galleries in various post-industrial locations in the North of England, along with public festivals and at the Ritherdon factory itself.

http://www.nicolaellis.com/

http://www.ritherdon.co.uk/

https://festivalofmaking.co.uk/


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Images by Ligia the Ritherdon Marketing overlord.

 

Friday is usually a half day at Ritherdon, so Matt and I put our surprisingly refined ‘unorthodox’ approach to powder coating to the test last Friday on 5 large panels destined for exhibition in the summer.

Giving the ‘dead powder’ a second chance to make it to the oven, it was applied to the metal in lashings. Surfaces were thick, heavy, matte, gloss and everything in between. As the dead powder is a collection of every colour used at the factory over an extended period of time, the exact colour codes used for the beautiful and precises regular powder coating jobs at Ritherdon are a distant memory. Instead we get a deeply unsettling range of intense greys, fluctuating thanks to the odd bit of anti graffiti and leatherette finish powder. The heavy textures also cause a kind of surface subsidence, pulling down and drawing out each coloured particle in the peaks and troughs.

This phenomena gives me a real thrill (nerd alert???). The powder does melt to become a liquid surface covering, but each particle retains its individual tiny spec of colour.

The aftermath.

DISCLAIMER: we totally disrupted the usual pristine Ritherdon paint shop for the afternoon. This is not usual factory practice! haha.

 

 

 

 


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I am looking forward to discussing Return To Ritherdon and my experience of my residency at the factory so far to contribute to two round-table discussions at The national festival of Making this weekend.

 

The first will be on Fri, 14 June 2019

15:00 – 16:30 BST at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

 

Ideas emerging from the intersection of the arts, making, manufacturing and technology.
Roundtable discussion in association with Creative Lancashire

The work happening at the intersection of the arts, making, manufacturing and new technologies has the ability to transform manufacturing and associated industries.

The Art in Manufacturing (AIM) programme, a National Festival of Making highlight co-commissioned by SuperSlowWay, features ground-breaking collaborative commissions created by makers and artists paired with global manufacturers based in Lancashire. The relationships formed between manufacturer, workers and artists are rich and deep, resulting in high quality works and mutual benefits. The results are equally staggering and unexpected.

This discussion will consider the exciting ideas emerging from the likes of AIM, similar artistic interventions and other Createch’ endeavors, where technology connects with creativity to produce new activities and products.

We bring together creatives, technologists, industrialists, academics and thought leaders to discuss the possibilities inherent in connecting making, creativity, technical and digital capabilities, for Lancashire and beyond. We highlight the individuals and their ideas that often begin with artistic investigation; to how they are frequently appropriated into manufacturing processes.
Contributors include:

  • Dave Kirkwood (HOST)
  • Adele Orcajada (MaterialDriven)
  • Amy Pennington (AIM Artist)
  • Anna Ray (AIM Artist)
  • Charles Hadcock (Artist)
  • Dan Edwards (AIM Artist)
  • Jon Wilson (Darwen Terracotta)
  • Nicola Ellis (AIM Artist)
  • Oli Clarke (The Senator Group)

Book here for free tickets to the event:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-arts-the-possible-tickets-62088030972

 

 

The second discussion will be the Art in Manufacturing – Artist Panel
Taking place on Sunday 16 June 2019

14:30 – 15:30 BST at Blackburn Cathedral

Hosted by Jamie Holman, in association with Creative Lancashire.
Art in Manufacturing (AIM) is a co-commissioned collaboration between the National Festival of Making and Super Slow Way. It pairs artists and makers with manufacturers and domestic artisans, giving the artists access to specialist machinery and heritage craft techniques, to create work that forms an integral part of the National Festival of Making.

Over the festival weekend we offer opportunities to hear more about the works created for the 2019 AIM showcase, through in-situ talks, panels and interviews with the artists, commissioners and host manufacturers involved with the current and previous exhibits.
Panel Participants include:

  • Amy Pennington (2019 Artist)
  • Anna Ray (2019 AIM Artist)
  • Anthony Green (Blackburn Yarn Dyers)
  • Daksha Patel (2019 AIM Artist)
  • Dawinder Bansal (2018 AIM Artist)
  • Jamie Holman (Artist & Non-Exec Director of NFM)
  • Jon Wilson (Darwen Terracotta)
  • Liz Wilson (2019 AIM Artist)
  • Martyn Ware (Musician, 2018 AIM Artist)
  • Nicola Ellis (2018 AIM Artist)

This event is FREE to attend. Spaces are limited on the day, so please book your place in advance.

Jamie Holman is the host for this event. He is an artist, writer and lecturer who achieved critical acclaim after exhibiting in Bloomberg New Contemporaries 1996 at Tate Gallery Liverpool and Camden Arts Centre London. Holman worked in moving image and performance before developing a broader multi-disciplinary practice that included photography and sculpture.

Book here for free tickets:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/art-in-manufacturing-panel-tickets-62116734826


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