Sustainable Fabric from Past to Present “Back to Blue” Exhibition Review

indigo textiles at Back to Blue exhibition

I am so glad I made the time to visit the exhibition “Back to Blue” at Black Swan Arts in Frome in Wiltshire.

An exhibition about the history of cloth and dye trades in Frome over the last 600 years, focusing on the 1700 to 1800s. Frome is an area that produced very fine woollen cloth in its day, the last factory in Frome closed in the 1960s. The exhibition also highlights examples of sustainable fabric production today.

Sustainable Fabric Production Today


These examples of sustainable fabric production included the work of Hayley Trezise  who works with cast off clothing and puts it all together in amazing and sculptural ways. Some examples below.

Work by Hayley Trezise Raggedyrags

Weaver Green

Weaver Green showcases their rugs, bags and throws made from recycled plastic but it feels just like textile. Brilliant.

Weavers Green textiles


Real Good Yarns

Sian Modine had a display of environmentally sustainable fibres. Her aim with Real Good Yarns is to do the research into how yarn is produced to make it easy for others to make conscious choices about the yarn that they buy.

“Woad to This” a Beautiful Book

The exhibition “Back to Blue” was curated by Carolyn Griffiths who has also produced a wonderful book, “Woad to This & The Cloth Trade of Frome” (ISBN 9780993060557) initiated by Carolyn’s discovery of 3 historic dye recipe and sample books in a local archive from the 1700 to 1800s which encouraged her to explore the history of textile manufacturing in the wider history of the town of Frome, Somerset.

It is beautifully illustrated with full page images from these historic dye and recipe books.

The book is available from Frome Society of Local Study  or

I have purchased a copy for myself and look forward to dipping in to the fascinating histories and stories told.



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