Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A Woolly Weekend in Yorkshire Part Two: Saltaire. . .

I spent the weekend in Saltaire, as Skipton is only a twenty minute train ride away.  Saltaire has a very special place in my heart; my grandparents lived here for decades,  and I stayed with them for several months when I was six and my parents were going through a separation.  It was here that I first fell in love with walking among the surrounding hills and moors.  I went to school during this time and learned to read and spell (I was way ahead of my class when I returned to Canada), and I believe I first learned to knit in Saltaire too.  I know it was my grandmother who taught me, and while I don't remember the specific occasion, I do remember a parcel of wool and needles arriving as a Christmas gift, so it must have been a later vote of encouragement from her.

One of my favourite places in the world to visit is Salts Mills.  I can remember as a child walking past it when it was abandoned and lying empty with broken windows.  The restoration has been remarkable and the building now houses cafes and restaurants, an antiques shop, an art supply shop and quite simply one of the most gorgeous bookshops in England, both in aesthetics (most books are face up) and stock (I always find something new and interesting that I wasn't aware of). For fun, I bought two Bronte industry novels - Anna Bascombe's Simple Dame Fairfax and Charlotte's Bronte's Secret Love by Jolande Janzing.  Haworth is only a few miles away. 

The mill looked stunning in the early morning as the sun was coming up.

And the water of the Leeds-Liverpool canal was so still.  Saltaire is about 14 miles along the Leeds-Liverpool canal - I love that it connects me to the place I now call home.

On the third floor of Salts Mill is an amazing gallery space where David Hockney often exhibits his work.  Currently on display is The Arrival of Spring.  He originally drew all these works on his iPad and then through some pretty amazing technology, was able to blow them up and print them to enormous size, still keeping the images sharp and intact.

The colours just glow!

I've always loved how Hockney finds and interprets Yorkshire as a place of intense colour, no matter what the season.  And yet in this image below (excuse the glare from the windows opposite), he's also managed to convey the mistiness of the fields and moors behind this tree.  So, so  beautiful.

And just to bring it all back to wool for a moment - in the historical part of the mill, I loved this simple display of handspun yarn by Hannah Leighton-Boyce.  She's called this: If the walls could talk - the last yarn  and she spun it in the original part of Salts Mill where the spinning was done, from fleece remnants that were found in storage recesses built into the wall.  Yes, wool will last a lifetime!

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