Woven Sound at Paycocke's

Artist Mike Roberts works on a loom, creating a piece of fabric with orange, red, yellow and beige stripes

Discover the new ‘Woven Sound – Knitted Community’ display on your visit to Paycocke’s House and Garden.

The Project

In partnership with Essex Cultural Diversity Project and sound artist Mike Roberts, The Woven Sound Project was inspired by two historical stories connected with Paycocke’s House. Firstly, it’s importance as a centre of the local wool and fabric industries from the 16th century and secondly, a brief period almost 100 years ago, when the house was home to the composer, Gustav Holst and his family. The project explores the links between patterns in both music and woven materials, inspiring an interactive exhibition here in the house at Paycocke’s.

Mike has worked with the local community, including school groups, to create patterns captured both in wool (through knitted and woven patterns) and sound to ‘compose’ a collection of rhythmic woollen pictures. When the March 2020 lockdown meant that school workshops could no longer take place, Mike began collecting rainbow pictures from the windows of Coggeshall. Over 250 rainbows will converted into ‘light threads’ that generate sound and will be woven together to form a harmonious visual and sonic work.  

The culmination of this work is a unique sonic and visual installation, which our visitors can interact with, becoming a part of the project as it evolves. 

Mike Roberts is an award-winning composer with specialisms in electronic, experimental, media and educational music. His artistic practice involves sound, music and multi-disciplinary artforms in collaboration with, and for, local communities to inspire wonder, learning and engagement.

The Exhibition

Your guided experience through the house finishes at the Woven Sound exhibition, situated in the Small Parlour. The exhibition will be open from May – October 2021.

The exhibition features a large, woven, interactive musical instrument, the ‘Woven 808’, where you will have the opportunity to ‘weave’ threads of sound through time to create musical patterns. Once created, these patterns can be contributed to the project to become part of a large woven fabric that Mike will be weaving through the duration of exhibition.

The 'Woven 808' interactive display
The 'Woven 808' interactive display
The 'Woven 808' interactive display

The ‘Woven 808’ takes it’s inspiration from the colours of Grange Barn, also in Coggeshall and the iconic Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer – ground-breaking in enabling users to create their own rhythmic patterns and defining much of 1980’s electronic pop music. To interact with the ‘Woven 808’, you choose different sounds by bringing your hand close to a square on the weaving. Once you have chosen your sounds, the play button creates your individual sound pattern. The individual sounds are inspired by weaving, Holst and Paycocke’s House, and will evolve and change throughout the exhibition. The ‘Woven 808’ is for visitors of all ages to interact with and enjoy and we’re also able to offer an accessible version for visitors who cannot access parts of the exhibition.

As the exhibition evolves, the pieces created from the community work will also be on display, including the Coggeshall Rainbows and woven patterns from local school groups.