Odlin, Amanda orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2288-599X (2019) HEIRLOOM. [Show/Exhibition]

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Official URL: https://www.uclan.ac.uk/news/heirloom-project-weav...


‘Heirloom’ captured nostalgic personal histories that are fast disappearing from our textile landscape. Designers and historians engaged with an intergenerational, diverse group of men over several weeks at Queen Street Mill (QSM) Burnley.
Our aim was to reach out to men who were part of the thriving regional textile industry, from communities that were dispersed after the mass closure of mills in the 1980’s. Many of these men have since had minimal connection to textiles and little chance to share memories or tell their stories. Textile work is so often linked to women, when in fact, through our Research we found that certainly within South Asian cultures it was, and still is an industry dominated by men. Through our Research process we explored family histories, links to textile artefacts and heritage of Lancashire and captured incredibly moving stories, full of passion and emotions, including stories of migration that brought workers to northern textile mills in the 60’s. We drew inspiration from these personal narratives, interpreting each story into a hand-crafted bespoke ‘heirloom’ shirt, made even more poignant by using authentic mule spun cloth woven at QSM, using the last steam powered looms in the world. Heirloom explores links between masculinity, clothing, identity and work. The vehicle became the ubiquitous male garment – the shirt. We undertook an extensive study of the historical shirts and artefacts held within the Gawthorpe Textile Collection (GTC), embedding this research into detail and silhouettes, including a hand-stitched numbering system. Portraits were taken of the men wearing their shirts in QSM and were displayed alongside the shirts, stories and historical inspiration from GTC as part of the British Textile Biennial in October 2019. We produced a highly illustrated Heirloom catalogue to accompany the exhibition which included the background research, portraits and stories.

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