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The Silk Mill, Derby

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Commissioned by Re: Make project, Derby Museums

Walnut, Oak, Ash, Perspex, Copper, Aluminium mesh, copper rod & tube, Aluminium rod & tube, Acrylic rod & tube, LED light strip, Raspberry Pi, Speakers, Fluorescent rod & tube.

The Silk Mill is the exciting new venue of Derby Museums, which is reinventing itself through the Re:Make project. Seiko wanted to encapture its industrial heritage with contemporary design and technology.

‘#Hexwall’ is a wall-based sculpture at the entrance area of The Silk Mill incorporating soundscape and LED animations controlled by a Raspberry Pi and heat sensor. It consists of around 30 hexagons made of various woods, acrylics and metals. During consultation period, Seiko carefully chosen the specific colour and materials from the beautiful building, and tried to connect the heritage of Mill and the future of the Silk Mill. Those words on the front panel were from the people’s post it notes from Re: Make process how local people want to change this space. Seiko rearranged them together and laser engraved.

Also, Seiko collaborated with a sound specialist, Dennis Tuckerman to create the interesting soundscape. They first collected the interesting actual sound relating to The Silk Mill, for example Rolls Royce Jet Engine sound (they house an actual Rolls Royce jumbo jet engine), Arkwright spinning frame, water wheels and did a sound workshop with local school children to mimic those sounds by their mouth and body movement. The visitor will hear the recorded actual sound first from left speaker and followed by children’s mimicking sound from right speaker with led animations. The visitors enjoy this surprised welcome each time when they go pass the entrance area and see the difference of each box finish with many details, 10 different type of sounds and four led animations are programmed.

During the commission Seiko learnt Inkscape software, for design and laser cutting and learnt about metals and their polishing and finishing, from fellow artist Cóilín Ó Dubhghaill. Master furniture designer/maker John Thatcher helped her in making many beautiful wooden hexagons in ash, walnut and oak. Also, Seiko collaborated with a sound specialist/musician Dennis Tuckerman to create the interesting soundscape. She really enjoyed co-working process with those artists, local school children, Derby makers (voluntarily involved this Re: Make programme) and museum staff.