Jamie Holman + Roach Bridge Tissues

Blackburn to the Fore, 2017

Seemingly simple things had an enormous impact during Jamie’s residency. He recalls hearing an off-the-cuff remark about a store of “old paper” which led him to unearth a treasure-trove of heritage tissue made at Roach Bridge on machines built in 1875; the last paper to be made at the site. In the outcomes of Jamie’s residency, a poet is resurrected and printing & papermaking take centre stage in a trio of works that delve into 19th century hardships.

He illuminated this fragile, antique tissue paper with the words of Blackburn poet William Billington, who was born close to the site of the factory and lived during the sometimes devastating industrial revolution. Jamie used Billington’s words to hold a dialogue between Blackburn’s industrial past and present, both on the rediscovered tissue and as a stirring choral arrangement, performed over the festival weekend by Blackburn People’s Choir at Blackburn Cathedral.

His trio of reaching works concluded with a gallery installation of light, sound and physical objects that sought to bridge the distance between our industrial past and our manufacturing futures.

“These small memories and forgotten moments from our manufacturing heritage allow us to better remember who we may have been, and better define who we may yet become.”

Jamie Holman


Jamie Holman leads Fine Art at Blackburn College University Centre and works from a studio in the town centre. He is a director of Prism Contemporary gallery in Blackburn and a non-executive director of The National Festival of Making. Jamie’s work is multi-disciplinary and is often fabricated using industrial processes or with heritage crafts makers and artists. His work is informed by the heritage of working class communities, in particular the impact of the industrial revolution and the cultures that have manifested as a consequence of its emergence and subsequent decline. Jamie also works as one half of “uncultured creatives” – a collaboration with producer Alex Zawadzki, delivering works in public, digital, print and traditional gallery spaces.


Built on quality, service and integrity with a heritage in British manufacturing tradition, Roach Bridge tissues is a family owned and run business with over 170 years experience of tissue paper manufacturing. As a specialist flexographic printer, the company produces bespoke designs for retail branded packaging.

“Artists see things differently and can appreciate the beauty and excitement in what most of us view as mundane. Having Jamie here learning about our processes, asking questions and finding out about the history of what we do helped our team find a new perspective and pride in their work and our products”



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