Hella, Arcadia to Dunoon, at Division of Labour, December 2016


‘Hella, Arcadia to Dunoon’, 2016, Screen print on cotton, wooden drying rack 110cm x 8m


(Two works on rack, left to right) ‘The Green Room & Vaudeville’, 2016, Screen print on cotton, wooden drying rack, 75cm x 110cm‘Craigiehall to Brackenfell’, 2016, Screen print on cotton, wooden drying rack, 75cm x 110cm


The works ‘Craigiehall to Brackenfell’, ‘The Green Room & Vaudeville’ and ‘Hella, Arcadia to Dunoon’ are informed by research into the influential Edinburgh Weavers and Printers, which was led from 1920-1963 by director Alastair Morton. The work was commissioned for an exhibition ‘Division of Labour’, curated by Lucy Harvey, at Rogue Project Space in December 2016.

The unusual company Edinburgh Weavers was initially based in Carlisle, but is now based in Bolton, and continues to be thriving printed and woven textile manufacturer that supplies to high end clients. Morton was a director, designer and modern artist, with many friends who were artists, such as Winifred Nicholson, Paul Nash and Elizabeth Frink, who he commissioned to design modernist textiles. From the 1930s onwards Morton, directed the company to design clients for significant early modernist buildings nationally such as BBC Broadcasting House, Savoy Hotel and Claridges.

I researched into the period of Edinburgh Weavers between 1920-1940s, exploring its approach to production that closely unified artist and manufacturing, creating challenging modernist textiles that were available to the mass market who would otherwise not have access to contemporary art for their home.

I reflected on the homes of director Alistair Morton in ‘Craigiehall to Brackenfell’, from the elaborate Craigiehall mansion which he was brought up in, to Brackenfell, a modernist house he commissioned in Carlisle in 1937, designed by Sadie Speight and Leslie Martin, who later designed Royal Festival Hall, London. ‘The Green Room & Vaudeville’ responds to the first significant commission for Edinburgh Weavers, in 1932, to design interior furnishings for BBC Broadcasting House. The large printed sculpture ‘Hella, Arcadia to Dunoon’, samples and reworks sections of motifs from a range of mid war designs.



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