The Inventors of Tradition
The Inventors of Tradition is an exhibition, film screening and publication conceived by Beca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie (Atelier) and Panel, in partnership with the Scottish Screen Archive at National Library of Scotland and exhibition designers Martha.At the intersection between art, design and social history, The Inventors of Tradition is a subjective study of the history of the Scottish textiles industry since the 1930s. It brings together samples of world-class design, the archive material of individuals and companies and a series of short documentary films sourced from the Scottish Screen Archive. In response to this material the artist Lucy McKenzie and designer Beca Lipscombe, from Atelier, have produced a series of new works including clothing, furniture, painting and accessories.
Atelier’s new collection has been produced in collaboration with Begg Scotland, Caerlee Mills, Hawick Cashmere, Mackintosh, Muehlbauer, Janette Murray, Steven Purvis and Elizabeth Radcliffe. Atelier’s collection of clothing and accessories are for sale and will be presented in a series of showrooms in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, Berlin, Brussels and New York throughout 2011.
Exhibition charts history of textile industry in Scotland
Source: The List (Issue 676)
Date: 26 January 2011
Written by: Talitha Kotzé
That ubiquitous ‘Scotland with Style’ byline invented by city marketing in Glasgow gets renewed historical validation in this exhibition that is many things woven into one. Inventors of Tradition is an archival show of the Scottish textiles industry since the 1930s, observed through a contemporary – somewhat unfashionable – lens, including vintage and new collections of clothing and accessories, displayed within a disused retail unit as a nod to the recent pop-up shop trend.
Conceived and organised by Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachan of Panel, an independent company that promotes design and craft through animating spaces beyond the gallery, and Becca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie of Atelier, who in turn, produce beautiful artisan vernacular interiors responsible to the environment and local suppliers; the exhibition tells a story of the social history of Glasgow. It is a fascinating subjective study of the textiles industry with many objects from people’s personal collections.
These paraphernalia are laid out in glass vitrines, pinned up on panels, and coat-hangered on rails. They tell anecdotes of the Singer sewing machine factory in Clydeback, reveal a pair of 70s woven culottes by EY Johnston, and display record sleeves designed by The Cloth, a collective founded by GSA graduates, which was also responsible for designing the original interior of the Sub Club. Their clothing line was also on sale at visionary trailblazer, The Warehouse. Housed where Peckhams on Glassford Street sits today, this avant garde department store introduced a new retail experience for eager Glaswegian shoppers, bringing designer brands to the city. Upstairs in the café they sold bottled water, luxury hot chocolate and old fashioned Irn Bru in chunky bottles.
A circle of mannequins parade the new collection of clothing made in collaboration with well established design companies. Further to the back a gorgeous dressing screen cordons off a section that shows a reel of archival films.
Although traditional garments and their social histories are the focus here, the show also suggests that its organisers are inventing a tradition of the future. How many of the high street labels – Primark, H&M and New Look – will stand the test of time?
21 Stockwell Street, Glasgow, until Sat 26 Feb
The Stoddard Design Library, part of the Glasgow School of Art Library's Special Collections, features prominently in the new book 'Inventors of Tradition' by Beca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie, published by Walther Konig. At the intersection between art, design and social history, The Inventors of Tradition is a subjective study of the history of the Scottish textiles industry since the 1930s. It brings together samples of world-class design through the archive material of individuals and companies.
For the publication and accompanying exhibition, Beca and Lucy selected items from the Stoddard Design Library, the in-house library of carpet manufacturers James Templeton and A. F. Stoddard. It was used to inspire the company’s designers, or to enable them to source motifs that could then be incorporated into their own textile designs. The library was often the starting point in the design process, providing initial ideas for subsequently developed designs.
The library is a rich source of material in the areas of carpet design, textiles, ornament, flat pattern, and textile interiors. It was amassed from the mid-19th century right up to the early 21st century.
Templeton’s and Stoddard’s were alive to contemporary continental developments in art and design, and a good proportion of their library material, especially from the 1880s to the 1930s, was acquired from abroad. The Stoddard Design Library includes volumes from the USA, France, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Finland, China, Japan and India. Many of the volumes are now extremely rare, and often unique. Particular highlights include 11 volumes in pochoir by Eugene Alain Seguy, of which the only comparable collection internationally resides at Princeton.