Fas­ci­nated and in­spired by the pa erns and colours pro­duced by or­gan­isms, artist Sally Gil­ford cre­ates unique screen printed tex­tiles from her Sal­ford stu­dio

Homes and Antiques Magazine - - CONTENTS - PHO­TO­GRAPHS JESSE WILD

Visit the work­shop of fab­ric printer Sally Gil­ford, whose de­signs are in­spired by hu­man bi­ol­ogy

Artist, maker, col­lab­o­ra­tor, ed­u­ca­tor – Sally Gil­ford wears a va­ri­ety of cre­ative hats. Based at Is­ling­ton Mill stu­dios in Sal­ford, a hub of cre­ative en­deav­our (where she co­founded screen print spe­cial­ists One69A al­most 10 years ago), she spe­cialises in tex­tiles. Cur­rently work­ing with re­searchers from the Well­come Trust Cen­tre for Cell-Ma­trix Re­search (WTCCMR), she uses mi­cro­scopic bi­o­log­i­cal im­ages to cre­ate the vivid de­signs that adorn her fab­rics, cloth­ing, cush­ions, bags and other prod­ucts. But that’s by no means all – she’s a mem­ber of >Thread { } col­lec­tive, cre­at­ing print de­signs us­ing ana­logue and dig­i­tal pro­cesses and hu­man bio data, and teaches screen print­ing cour­ses. She is also a cre­ative prac­ti­tioner, work­ing with col­lec­tions and ex­hi­bi­tions along­side in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised gal­leries and mu­se­ums.

What’s your back­ground?

I al­ready had an ex­ist­ing in­ter­est in tex­tiles from pre­vi­ous study at col­lege and uni­ver­sity and, al­though I went to art school in Manch­ester, it wasn’t un­til a er I grad­u­ated that I started screen print­ing. A close friend from uni­ver­sity wanted to do a fanzine for an­other friend’s cafe. He built a set up in the cafe’s base­ment us­ing out­door se­cu­rity lights, taught him­self how to screen print and pub­lished the ’zine – full DIY style! I had started work­ing

as a free­lance cre­ative prac­ti­tioner and thought that screen print­ing could trans­late re­ally well into the work I was do­ing, so we both pre!y much taught our­selves and things pro­gressed re­ally quickly from there. Within a few months we needed a big­ger space. We moved into the base­ment of my rented house, but quickly out­grew that too, so we de­cided to quit our other jobs and go for it – that’s when we moved into Is­ling­ton Mill. Since then, screen print­ing has pre!y much been a way of life.

What in­spires your de­signs?

Hu­mans and na­ture. I "nd pa!erns and colours in bi­ol­ogy fas­ci­nat­ing. I’m very in­ter­ested in us­ing tex­tiles and print to tell sto­ries in un­ex­pected ways.

Tell us about your process

My base de­sign orig­i­nates from a pho­to­graphic im­age cap­tured by the re­searchers [at WTCCMR] us­ing a pow­er­ful mi­cro­scope. I dig­i­tally ma­nip­u­late the de­sign to change scale, colour and pa!ern, then sep­a­rate it into lay­ers to use for screen print­ing by hand on fab­ric. I en­joy us­ing both ana­logue and dig­i­tal pro­cesses as it al­lows for much more di­ver­sity.

Which other designers or mak­ers in­spire you?

I love pre!y much any­thing by Ti­morous Beast­ies, par­tic­u­larly the re­cent col­lab­o­ra­tion with Bill Am­berg at the Tom Dixon stu­dio, which I went to see at the London De­sign Fair in Septem­ber. I was pre!y blown away by all of the work there

– the hy­per­real printed leather was in­cred­i­ble.

What is Is­ling­ton Mill like to work in?

His­tor­i­cally a tex­tile mill, it’s now home to over 100 artists work­ing in a wide range of prac­tices, con­tin­u­ally evolv­ing and cre­at­ing to­gether. I’m lucky to work with some fan­tas­ti­cally in­spir­ing peo­ple.

Do you have a proud­est mo­ment of your ca­reer to date?

There have been so many mem­o­rable mo­ments over the past 10 years – the most re­cent achieve­ment has been the launch of Sal­ford Mak­ers. Since found­ing the col­lec­tive last year, we have a full pro­gramme of pub­lic work­shops and cour­ses, and have also re­cently opened a pop-up shop just around the cor­ner from our stu­dio.

What are you cur­rently work­ing on?

A her­itage project for the Bridge­wa­ter Canal called Who’s That Girl?, un­cov­er­ing the hid­den sto­ries of the women on the wa­ter­way.

Any plans for the fu­ture?

I’m launch­ing a so­cial en­ter­prise with Sal­ford Mak­ers, work­ing with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties on the de­sign and mak­ing process to share skills and prac­tices, and cre­ate new prod­ucts fo­cus­ing on col­lab­o­ra­tion, in­clu­siv­ity and well­be­ing. And I’m also work­ing on some new fab­ric de­signs that fea­ture par­a­sites – yes, gut worms!

‘I’m in­ter­ested in us­ing tex­tiles and print to tell sto­ries in un­ex­pected ways.’

THIS PAGE Us­ing base de­signs taken from pho­to­graphs of bi­o­log­i­cal spec­i­mens seen through a mi­cro­scope, Sally pro­duces a kalei­do­scopic ar­ray of screen printed fab­rics and prints.BE­LOW One of her de­signs is dis­played in an em­broi­dery hoop.

THIS PAGE Sally in­volved in the screen print­ing process – a messy busi­ness. BE­LOW A typ­i­cally bold print adorns this one-of-a-kind cush­ion.

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