In March 2023, Sovereign Design House (which houses Toast House café) hosted Textiles on Toast, an exhibition of work produced by first- and second-year Textile students at the University of Huddersfield.
Some of the students were inspired by Gleneden Post-War Design Archive which is held at Heritage Quay.
Second year student Liza Smeeton describes their experience of using the archive:
“I’ve never worked from materials in an archive. I’ve normally been given a title or theme and have worked from that.
I initially visited the archive [at Heritage Quay] with lecturer Claire Barber as part of the Introduction to Theoretical and Ethical Studies module and then lecturer Matthew Taylor introduced us to the designs in the Visual Research module where we had much more time to examine and work with and from them.
I was quickly drawn to a very simple design in muted browns, but I’ve worked with this in several ways, simplifying the design, changing the colours, creating stencils and cut paper, working the design in hand and machine embroidery and using the stencil to create prints on fabric which I then stitched into. These samples are what I’ve exhibited in the Toast House.
I focused on archives for my theory written report and visited a textile archive in Sheffield where I live. The research and papers I read for this paper shows there are clear benefits from using archives to help in creating new designs, as long as these are modified and not copied from the original and that the original source is referenced. Having the original Gleneden design as a starting point gave me something to work from, so that I wasn’t starting from scratch, it helped me to produce new work much more quickly and to develop new ideas from that starting point.”
First year student Rebekah Fuller also describes their experience:
“I had never used materials from an archive before in my studies. I had never previously even considered using items from an archive to inspire my artistic process. I first learnt about archives when we visited Heritage Quay as a class as part of the Introduction to Theoretical and Ethical Studies module where we had a session with Assistant Archivist Fran Horner.
When I first saw some of the designs from the Gleneden archive, I was amazed by the intricate, detailed nature of the florals. Slightly overwhelmed, I chose a design with a colour palette I was drawn to and also the curved shape the florals created together. After painting this design, I was really pleased and throughout this year it has been a design I have been drawn back to again and again. Because of this, it was the most well-rounded collection I made this year. I used it especially in my weave rotation, considering ways I could abstract the design. I also managed to explore this painting within CAD creating a repeat pattern.”
If you are interested in using Gleneden as part of a research, teaching or art project, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org.