Patterns of Play: The Gleneden Post-War Design Archive

Painted textile design sheet. The design is made up of floral symmetrical curves, in greens and purples. There are annotations round the edge which relate to how the design could be turned into woven cloth.Heritage Quay’s latest exhibition is a visual feast. Based on an archive of designs for woven cloth, the show uses original documents and contemporary artistic works to explore pattern, creativity, and artistic process.


The exhibition has been curated by Dr Matthew Taylor, Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles, and is based on his longstanding engagement with this particular archive. The Gleneden Post War Design Archive is made up of hundreds of design sheets from the 1950s through to the 1990s. Many of the patterns are bold florals or geometrics, and give a sense of how fashions for domestic interiors come and go.

As well as providing a window into design history, the exhibition shows how new work can be inspired by archival pieces. Dr Taylor’s work involves an approach known as a/r/tography – that is, combining the roles of artist, researcher and teacher. All three roles are evident. The exhibition involves some student work by Liza Smeeton and Rebekah Fuller, who used the Gleneden archive to inspire new work in a course taught by Dr Taylor.

Display case showing two textile design sheets, and artistic work which uses colour and pattern from the designs
Work by Liza Smeeton (front) and Rebekah Fuller (back)

Part of the show looks at the history of Gleneden Textiles Ltd, the company which provided these designs to different manufacturers across the country. And Dr Taylor’s work as an artist underpins everything on display, with sketchbooks, photographs, printed cloth and

even collaboratively-produced wallpaper which gives a new spin on an old design. The exhibition challenges us all to look afresh at the patterns around us, and ask how we might adapt, modify or reimagine them for the world today.

Image of a display case containing brightly coloured painted and printed designs on paper, and printed fabric. The design sheet, in browns and oranges in a paisley-esque pattern, has inspired the printed sheet and the fabric.
Gleneden design sheet and new collaborative work made by Dr Matthew Taylor

The exhibition is open Mondays to Fridays 8am to 8pm, and Saturdays 9am to 5pm, until 25 May. It is free, and open to members of the public. Find us at the heart of the University of Huddersfield Campus, on the third floor of the Schwann Building.

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