Did you know that Brixton had a windmill? Probably not, as even many people who live here don’t know.
Built in 1816, the windmill was originally surrounded by open fields. Now, it sits in a tiny park sandwiched between Brixton Prison and a large sprawling council estate.
After a long period of dereliction, the mill was restored in 2010-11, thanks to a campaign by the Friends of Windmill Gardens (FowG), of which I am a member. It’s now open for free tours throughout the summer, along with a whole series of special events organised in the park.
So what does this have to do with textiles? Well, the events group of FoWG wants to encourage more “artistic” events in the windmill and the park, and invited me to take part in a joint exhibition with another FoWG member, Owen Llewellyn. A vegan/anarchist /postman/musician /astronomer, Owen also takes fantastic photos, not just of the windmill (the photos here are his) but of London in general and nature in particular.
Our exhibition will combine photos and felt, inside Brixton Windmill itself. It’s going to be quite challenging, as the windmill is very small inside, especially on the upper floors.
As well as including some of my shibori felt I am working on some windmill-inspired pieces. These include vessels with patterns based on the grooves that are traditionally cut into millstones.
I’m also making some felt “windmills” based on the shape of a child’s toy windmill. The idea is to produce 12 of these in different colours to represent the 12 windmills that once existed in Lambeth (Brixton Windmill is the only survivor).
I would like to suspend them somehow so that they can actually rotate – but I don’t have a firm plan of how to do this yet! Any ideas welcome. 🙂
The exhibition can be seen on open days throughout the year – details on Brixton Windmill website. Admission is free, but if you want a tour of the whole windmill up to the top it’s best to book in advance via the website.
The private view is on Good Friday 18 April, 6-8pm – email me if you’d like details.