Daksha Patel + Blackburn Yarn Dyers

Connecting Yarn, 2019

Reacting to the intricacies of Blackburn Yarn Dyers’ colour mixing lab, Daksha responded to an intense residency where she worked side by side with the expert skills of yarn dyers. The installation that emerged, ‘Connecting Yarn’ was a beautiful interpretation of Keratin, the protein molecule found in wool. This new work transformed the complex and highly mathematical science of yarn dyeing into a gallery installation.

Comprising wool, found objects from the factory floor and subtle light manipulation, a series of sculptural structures explored the relationship between the fibres and chemical process, simultaneously referencing the long history of women’s work, both inside the factory and the tradition of craft working in the home. Working closely with the factory team and a group of undergraduate art students from Blackburn College, ‘Connecting Yarn,’ required a full team of assistants working in the gallery for a week leading up to the festival. The team, led by Daksha, transformed the space, attracting large numbers of festival visitors across the weekend.

“There is a wonderful mixture of science and intuition as I’ve discovered when I speak to people here. There is technical knowledge, but also there is the know-how, which comes from years of experience and understanding your materials.”

Daksha Patel


Daksha Patel is an artist who works at the crossroads of data and drawing with a practice that extends to printmaking, animation and installation. Colour, light and mapping are emerging themes in Patel’s work, which has also been influenced by a series of residencies in scientific environments, including LifeScience at the University of Dundee and The Christie Hospital in Manchester. Her work makes visible what is immeasurable, illusive and unseen.



Blackburn Yarn Dyers was founded in 1915, providing yarn dyeing to clients worldwide from the heart of Lancashire. Working with leading fashion and interiors brands in the UK and internationally, the company offers a range of products and services in support of the textile industry as well as hand-knitting and craft brands, with dyeing and bleaching remaining at the core of its trade.

“In the textile world, art and creativity work together with manufacturing all of the time. It is the designer’s creativity that imagines and develops products that require us to make ‘reality’ in product. I believe that art and creativity is important in any manufacturing, especially textiles.”

Anthony Green, Blackburn Yarn Dyers


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