Historic North Devon industry and art go hand in glove

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Artist Sue Rossiter working on a sculpture.
Artist Sue Rossiter working on a sculpture

A new art exhibition is celebrating the once prosperous glove industry in North Devon.

The Hand to Hand project, run by local ceramic artist Sue Rossiter, opens tomorrow (Saturday) at the White Moose gallery in Trinity Street, Barnstaple and runs until July 30.

It will pay tribute to former glove workers in the area through ceramic artwork inspired by the glove production process, equipment and machinery.

This will be combined with stitch-like mark-making, leather-like surface qualities and colours developed from local earth pigments.

The ironing department at the glove factory in Pilton
The ironing department at the glove factory in Pilton

There is also a free talk about the industry, which once employed hundreds of people in Torrington, Bideford, Appledore and Barnstaple, at Great Torrington Heritage Museum on Wednesday (June 15) at 6.30pm.

The project is being funded by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, The Craft Pottery Association and The Elmgrant Trust.

Ex-glove workers are also being interviewed for a film screening at the gallery at 6.30pm on Thursday, July 14.

In its 19th and early 20th century heyday, 200 people were employed at the Pilton factory and 600 were employed at Vaughan’s factory in Torrington.

Stella Levy, co-owner of White Moose, said: “I have always been fascinated by local industrial heritage, so I was delighted when Sue approached us to be involved with her project.”

“It must have caused great hardship on families when the many glove factories were eventually closed down and I am interested in seeing the living glove makers talking about their experiences of working in these factories.”

For more events, visit whitemoose.co.uk or suerossiterceramics.com

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