Crafters team up with fine art specialists to create one-off sculpture to celebrate LEEDS 2023

If you take a stroll through Armley Park or are sat in the Stanningley Road commute and think you spot two horses covered in crochet - you aren’t going mad.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 4:45 am

They are the result of a collaboration that no-one was really expecting when artists from Assembly House met knitters from Kirkstall based group Hookers and Clickers.

It was part of a range of art projects that have been taking place across the city over the last few months to coincide with the launch of LEEDS 2023 this week - a year long showcase of arts and culture from around Leeds to replace what would have been the city’s bid to be crowned the European Capital of Culture prior to Britain’s departure from the European Union (EU).

The artists from the Armley based Assembly House made the two horse sculptures from wood while members of Hookers and Clickers were asked to crochet pieces that would cover the horses.

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The crochet designs from Hookers and Clickers.

Alice Boulton-Breeze, Creative Producer at Assembly House said when they teamed up with Hookers and Clickers with the remit - they had no idea what they would get back.

She said: “When LEEDS 2023 was starting off we just got in touch and said ‘we want to work with you, what can we do’? We were super keen to be part of the vision and what they are doing.

“Our artists did a collage with a colour scheme, motifs and symbols. Hooks and Clickers were really interested how craft could come together with fine art and not be seen as two separate things.

“We had absolutely no clue what it was going to look like and it surpassed everything that we could have imagined. There was no pressure but it looked totally organised. People have really thought of stuff that is out there - people have gone abstract, embraced scenes of the local area, done patterns, it has been amazing. We had never worked with them before and never had any experience so it was going to be a surprise.”

Amelia Wood (artist), Rosie Vohra (artist), Alice Boulton-Breeze (Creative Producer at Assembly House), Joanne Brophy (Hookers and Clickers) with the new horse sculptures.

The collaboration also fits in with the direction that Assembly House, as an organisation, also wants to take.

It was set up eight years ago by a group that had graduated from Leeds Arts University and were looking for affordable space to work and exhibit.

They managed to secure a unit in a former Victorian textile mill next to the canal and quickly found there were plenty of like minded people looking for the same thing.

Assemble House now has the whole first floor and 45 artists.

Ms Boulton-Breeze added: “We do a lot of projects in the local community, mentoring and external exhibitions and workshops.

“We have got older members who grew up in Seacroft, people who have never been to university, people who were in prison, people with families - it is a nice mix of people and no matter what level.

"It is really amazing to see the partnerships grow and the links we have made with community groups. People have been asking for murals to be painted on their house, some artists have gone on to university, to teach in primary schools and university.

"We see ourselves as a big family, a community, and are always open to welcome more people."