Awaken Re-Interprets Archives At Glasgow School Of Art

By Ben Miller | 21 January 2009
A picture of a travel journal charting a map in red and black

John Walter Lindsay's travel journal is almost 60 years old. Pic © The Glasgow School of Art

Exhibition preview: Awaken, Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, January 24 – February 28 2009

When the Glasgow School of Art opened its new Archives and Collections centre in October last year, it used the occasion to invite designers to re-interpret the historic material for contemporary textile-related design work. Awaken, opening on Saturday, reveals new textiles inspired by the school’s 140-year past.

A picture of a large dark red flower petal

A resin cast by Susan Telford features. Pic © Susan Telford

“Many previously unpublished and unmediated items have been used as departure points,” reveals Jimmy Stephen-Cran, exhibition curator and departmental head. “The divergent creative journeys taken by individuals who unknowingly used the exact same starting point are particularly tantalising.”

A picture of a blue notebook tied in white string

A textile design notebook belonging to Daisy M. Anderson, a GSA student between1931 and 1936. Pic © The Glasgow School of Art

Their subjects include handwritten and typescript documents, drawings, prints, sketchbooks, architectural plans, ephemera such as pamphlets, photographs and posters and textile and clothing-related pieces.

Finished works include plush knitted lampshades, knitted wall tiles using a blistered surface technique, floral wall tiles in 3D moulded Perspex, printed chairs and cloth posters.

A picture of a digital textile print with structural white waves overlapping grey and turquoise squares

Elaine Bremner and Helena Britt's digital print on cotton. Pic © the artists

A scrapbook recounts architectural student John Walter Lindsay's travels following the award of the Haldane Travel Scholarship 1950, and a textile design notebook from the early 1930s is reconsidered alongside a new digital print on cotton influenced byartefacts from the Gillespie, Kidd & Coia collection.

A picture of a scrapbook in black, white and grey

Assemblage of work in progress by Alan Gallacher. Pic © Alan Gallacher

“It is not unusual for designers in industry to trawl archives for inspiration, especially when a brand requires to be awakened,” observes Stephen-Cran, who pins the focus on contemporary angles rather than historical artefacts.

“In a sense this is exactly what each participating designer has been asked to do for this exhibition – to give new life to the institutional brand of GSA concealed in its repositories.”

A picture of a textile print with grey squares revealing green boxes, blue structures and black criss-cross patterns

Print croquet on paper by Joanna Kinnersley Taylor. Pic © Joanna Kinnersley Taylor

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