Synopses & Reviews
Mining Couture: A Manifesto for Common Wear
is a collaborative art project between the artists Barber Swindells and Leicestershire County Councils Snibston Discovery Museum, exploring the relationship between coal mining and fashion and its surprisingly rich cultural history. Featuring essays, interviews and discussions, illustrated with photographs, maps, video stills and more, Mining Couture
is a unique study that merges history, fashion art and contemporary life. Delving into the notion of common wear and focusing on its social context, the book is brought to life through first-hand written recollections by miners and industry workers, including an interview with the 1972 National Coal Queen Margaret Dominiak, alongside participation with contemporary artists and curators.
Barber Swindells explores the relationship between coal mining history and fashion. Mining Couture
delves into the notion of common wear”, records diverse narratives of fashion and labor, and focuses on the social context where the seemingly unrelated realms of mining and of fashion converge.
A dialog is developed between mining and fashion through the presentation of evocative photography, inviting the reader to actively take part in the making of links and shifting of boundaries between these two realms.
Texts include an interview with 1972 National Coal Queen Margaret Dominiak and contributions from textile artists and curators, exploring diverse themes: from the responsibility of making art in a social context, to the legacy of coal mining in contemporary fashion trends, through to crossovers between mining and fashion lexicons. Looking back at twentieth century Russian Constructivist and Italian Futurist anti-fashion designs, such as the TuTa, or Universal Overall”, Barber Swindells develop their own work-ware and this book is a journal/sketchbook/manifesto of their ongoing process.
About the Author
In 2010 Claire Barber and Steve Swindells formed the artist collaboration, Barber Swindells. The collaboration is founded on site-conditional and artist-in-residence contexts; often weaving everyday human narratives, places and activities into the content and production of their work. Working across art and craft disciplines the artists have no restrictions on media. Together the artists draw from national and international exhibition and artist-in-residence experience. Claire Barber graduated from the Royal College of Art in 1994 in Fine Art: Tapestry. Claire has received numerous commissions and residencies both nationally and internationally. Steve Swindells has exhibited his work, individually and collaboratively, across Europe, Asia and North America. In 2008 he completed a three-month residency at Ssamzie Space, Seoul, South Korea.
Jessica Hemmings studied Textile Design at the Rhode Island School of Design and Comparative Literature at the University of Londons School of Oriental and African Studies. She has written many articles for publications such as Bloom, Crafts and Selvedge. Currently she is associate Director of the Centre for Visual and Cultural Studies at the Edinburgh College of Art. She is the author of Black Dog's popular title, In the Loop: Knitting Now
Professor Paul Ward studied at Queen Mary and Westfield College, University of London. He has taught at London Guildhall University, Middlesex University, the University of Westminster and Royal Holloway, University of London. He was visiting lecturer at the University of A Coruña in Spain in 2004, and Fulbright-Robertson Professor of British History at Westminster College, Missouri, 2004 to 2005. Paul is co-director of the Academy for the Study of Britishness. He is a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and the Royal Historical Society.
Karen Gaskill is an independent curator and freelance researcher based in London, UK. Karen works nationally and internationally across independent venues and commercial gallery spaces, and has a PhD in Social Curation. Karen was the founder, co-director and curator of Interval from 2005-2009, an arts organization providing regular exhibition opportunities and a critical forum for emergent artists. Karen is a Senior Lecturer in Photography at Sheffield Hallam University, and guest lectures at institutions across the UK.
June Hill is a writer and textile art curator. She contributes regularly to magazines and exhibition catalogues including Embroidery,Selvedge and Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture.
Shelly Goldsmith is a textile artist based in Kent, England.
Margaret Dominiak was National Coal Queen in 1972. She lives in Yorkshire, England.