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Community | 25th November 2020
 

Pupils’ designs are a reminder of the past

Langholm’s textile history inspires bold and striking creations

 
 
 

A WINDOW exhibition of colourful aprons and cushions created by Langholm schoolchildren to celebrate the town’s heritage as a centre for textiles opens tomorrow.

The display is the result of a project run by Upland CIC, during which Morag Macpherson, Kirkcudbright-based international designer and artist, worked with Langholm Academy and primary school pupils.

The three aprons, which have echoes of the workwear once worn by millworkers, and the cushions are patchworks of linen and tweed.

The linen patches have been printed with designs created by the children.

These were inspired by visits to Elliott’s Shed where weaver and designer Lynn Elliot showed the pupils his traditional mechanical pedal looms.

All the pieces will be on show in the window of 42-44 High Street until November 29.

Morag said: “The children were fantastic to work with. I was blown away by their imagination, creativity and openness to new ways of working.

“The designs are really striking, bold and colourful so I hope people will enjoy seeing them.

“Everyone involved, the schools, teachers, businesses and organisations, has been positive and helpful and shown a real pride in their town and its heritage.”

The work is part of Making Connections, a project run by Upland CIC, Dumfries and Galloway’s arts development agency.

It is enabling artists and makers to explore Langholm’s textile history in a variety of ways.

According to Adam German, the academy’s art and design teacher,  his S2 pupils and the P6 pupils benefited a great deal from the project.

He said: “It was a great opportunity for the pupils to work with a professional designer and learn about her process.

“They learned how to develop a source of inspiration to create a surface print.

“It’s also been very rewarding for them because they are learning about the town’s history and it has personal resonance for many of them because their grandparents and even parents worked in the textile industry.

“We think the community will enjoy seeing the work they have produced which was inspired by their town and history.”

The secondary school pupils shared pictures they had taken and information they had collected with the primary children, something Adam welcomed because it allowed pupils of different ages to collaborate.

The project involved close collaboration with Lucy MacLeod of OutPost Arts and the Langholm Initiative’s Textiles Eskdale project, funded by the Holywood Trust, which organised young people’s visits to Elliott’s Shed and sourced the textiles.

Judith Johnson, Langholm Initiative project manager, added: “I was delighted to see how Morag and the children have incorporated traditional Langholm tweeds and beautiful contemporary digital designs. It’s a fabulous mix of old and new technologies.”

Textiles Eskdale aims to re-energise Langholm’s traditional textile heritage and to develop new opportunities for enjoyment, training, employment and enterprise in the sector. This made it a natural partner in the Upland CIC arts project.

Amy Marletta, Uplands Creative Director, said: “The schools work has been a great success under difficult circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic threw everything into doubt but thanks to the enthusiasm and determination of everyone involved it has resulted in some really beautiful work.

“It’s incredibly positive to see young people building on the history and heritage of the textiles industry to create vibrant new work and to start to think about how it can contribute to a positive and creative future.”

  • The schools project is supported by the Archie Sutter Watt Trust.
  • Making Connections is supported by Creative Scotland and the National Heritage Lottery Fund.
  • See the Upland website at www.weareupland.com.     
 
 
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