Community art installation celebrates Belper’s textile heritage

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A Belper artist is set to unveil his latest work this weekend in a celebration of local heritage featuring handiwork by members of the community.

Tan Draig is preparing for the public launch of his huge new installation at Strutt’s North Mill on Saturday, May 14, 6-8pm.

Taking shape over recent weeks, the piece sees a web of threads envelop the stone pillars that support the mill’s cast iron frame, with 500 miniscule worker figures hidden inside.

Tan said: “The idea is that it reflects the tight spaces that mill workers worked in, surrounded by machines, all running with miles of cotton threads that were being spun, doubled and finished.

“People will be able to walk down the ‘tunnel’ within the web and see if they can find some of the really tiny figures of workers hidden within it.”

The project has been organised by Fleet Arts, with a grant from the Ashley Family Foundation and some additional funding from Belper Town Council.

In a symbolic move put the mill back at the heart of the community, Tan has worked with more than 100 local people as part of the project, hosting workshops for ages from 3 to 80-plus—and visitors to the mill will be able to leave their own contribution.

The piece will be on show Wednesday to Sunday, 11am to 4pm, until May 30. Adult admission is £4, children go free.