Print Factory! New exhibitions planned for Weavers but not until 2021

A TREASURED arts space in Uppermill has decided to stay ‘locked down’ until next year.

As the nation moves closer to normality after the coronavirus pandemic, the Weavers Factory has opted not to follow the trends.Instead, the doors of the New Street premises will remain closed until March 2021 when custodians Julian Bovis and Nigel Durkan will launch an exciting new season.

The pair will do so with a Saddleworth-themed opening exhibition from March 6-28.

Printmaker Lisa Clare will lead a group of five Salford-based artists exploring a fresh and exciting contemporary twist on the traditional Saddleworth landscape.

Alison Scott, Suzanne Bethell, Tina Kypriadis and Vanessa Cuthbert will join Lisa for “a riot of colour, brutalist patterns and abstract designs – Saddleworth has never looked so fabulous!”

Curator Julian said: “Covid-19 has been a real struggle for every business in Saddleworth, and we have all had to make difficult decisions to help our businesses survive long-term.

“Early on in lockdown we realised how much the Weavers Factory is about sociability and community, and though we could have technically re-opened with safety measures in place, it would spoil what makes this gallery such a wonderful place.

“So instead of rushing to re-open we are taking a year off and picking up where we left off in March 2021. We have an exciting programme of exhibitions lined up.

“2021 is nearly a full year of female artists. We didn’t plan it that way but female artists often get overlooked in mainstream galleries, so I hope this goes some way to re-address the balance.

“In the next few months we will make improvements to the gallery and if the Covid-19 pandemic and social-distancing has gone by the autumn, we might even open the Weavers Factory for a pop-up Christmas shop. Watch this space!”

Following Lisa will be Shaw-based Barbara Sykes who will ‘move in’ to the space between April 3-25.

When somebody labelled her work ‘sad’, she began to add comedic party hats to her existing drawings.

“What I draw is what I draw and nothing or nobody can change that,” she said.

“I think my paintings are very pleasing. People ask why the faces don’t have eyes but they do. You just have to look closer.

“All my work is about the human condition and there’s no better place to see that than in the human face.”

From May 1-30, it is the turn of artists Alison Duddle, Alice Kettle and Eleanor Mulhearn.

With writer Jenna C. Ashton, they have collaborated to create the experimental travelling artwork, the House of Opposites.

The work draws inspiration from artist Leonora Carrington’s painting, The House Opposite (1945), and from collective memories of the childhood dollhouse, which combined, have evolved into this exhibition.

Ever evolving, a new addition to this work has been created specifically for the Weavers Factory Gallery, it expands the miniature world to life-scale, where the viewer will encounter various intimate spaces, replete with props, new narratives, projections, sound and performing puppets.

For full details of next year’s programme visit

• For 50 years, the Weavers Factory, built in 1808, was home to award-winning textile designer Joan Charnley before the building was bequeathed to Julian and Nigel on the proviso it was used as an arts centre.

In the first half of the 20th century the building was used as a coffin-makers, illegal gambling den and temperance hotel before being converted into a house in 1963 by Joan and her artist husband Archibald MacDonald.

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