Hannah Lamb, renowned textile artist and Programme Leader at Bradford School of Art, is set to captivate audiences with a new performance inspired by her exquisite embroidered artwork, ‘Fragment of a Dress.’ The performance, scheduled for one day only on 1 July, will breathe life into Lamb’s creation, which was originally crafted with the assistance of Textiles Practice Foundation Degree students and exhibited at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Haworth.

Commissioned in 2022 as part of a year-long celebration of costume and textiles, ‘Fragment of a Dress’ serves as a contemporary reflection on the profound significance of clothing in our lives. Lamb invited museum visitors to contribute short written pieces about garments that held personal meaning to them. These handwritten passages were meticulously hand-embroidered onto silk organza by a dedicated team of volunteers, resulting in a voluminous skirt or dress. The presentation paid homage to the fashion of the 19th-century, reminiscent of the attire worn by Charlotte Brontë and her sisters.

In its latest incarnation, ‘Fragment of a Dress’ will see Lamb collaborating with performance artist Jenny Skinner, a fellow Programme Leader for Performing Arts at Bradford School of Art. Skinner will don the embroidered skirt, accompanied by a crinoline, corset, and multiple layers of underpinnings, engaging with the audience in a unique interactive experience. Throughout the day, spectators will be invited to snip pieces from the artwork, gradually fragmenting the skirt. While drawing inspiration from Yoko Ono’s thought-provoking ‘Cut Piece’ performance artwork, Lamb intends to infuse her own performance with a gentler touch.

Lamb expressed her vision for the project, stating, “In creating ‘Fragment of a Dress,’ I always intended to deconstruct the piece, returning it to a series of fragments. Although this may be perceived as a destructive act, for me, it symbolises the life cycle of the artwork. I wanted this piece to transcend the museum exhibition and be part of a collaborative process.”

Collaboration has been a fundamental aspect of the project from the outset, involving not only the staff and visitors of the Brontë Parsonage Museum but also Lamb’s dedicated students from Bradford College, who volunteered their time to embroider the text on the dress. The upcoming performance represents a natural extension of this multidisciplinary relationship.

The choice of venue for the performance adds another layer of significance. Sunny Bank Mill, formerly a weaving mill that supplied cloth for the tailoring industries, will serve as the backdrop. Nestled at the pinnacle of the Spinning Mill building, the attic, typically off-limits to the public, preserves its historic charm and heritage.

The performance will be held at Sunny Bank Mills on Saturday, 1 July, with two showings at 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm. Tickets can be obtained through Hannah Lamb’s official website at www.hannahlamb.co.uk/events.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to explore the ‘Tailored’ exhibition at Sunny Bank Mill, which runs until 2 July. The exhibition features works by the 62 Group of Textile Artists, including two pieces by Hannah Lamb. Further details about the exhibition can be found at www.62group.org.uk/exhibitions/tailored/.

Don’t miss this extraordinary event that unites art, performance, and the rich history of textiles. Secure your tickets today and immerse yourself in the enchanting world of ‘Fragment of a Dress’ by Hannah Lamb.