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Textile Heritage Retold; Drawing Inspiration from the Hawick Textile Archives

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posted on 09.03.2020 by Emily Quinn

The exhibition consists of a collection of textiles-based artworks reflecting the heritage of the Scottish Borders, particularly the Scottish Borders Archives (1), along with the preliminary drawings and collages. As the textile industry in Britain continues to decline, the associated communities, skills, tacit knowledge and traditions are in danger of becoming lost forever. Former textile mills are decommissioned and left to decay, the few remnants of a once proud industry are boxed in archives hidden away. By exploring through research, reassembling, and making, I have tried to bring this important part of our local heritage back into view and open to the interpretation of the observer.

The main aim of the research is to provide a visual commentary on a community bound together by a once thriving industry, exploring how the fabric of life is inextricably embedded within the indigenous textiles from a certain locale.

The process began with the mining of archival material such as photographs of the workers, visits from notable dignitaries, events, branding, advertising, hand written correspondence, sales ledgers, design books and colour cards.

The historical material from the archive is brought back to life and re-told through the displacement of visual elements taken out of their original context and re-represented through collage and subsequently digital print processes. The chosen substrates are fully fashioned seamed stockings, fragile and ephemeral that evoke and represent the pioneering technology used by the Hawick mills in the production of stockings and undergarments.


Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice Exhibit

University of Bolton

23-24 January 2019


Photographs by Tony Radcliffe and Di Downs


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