Turkey red - Milngavie Town Hall & Heritage Centre, Rachel Barron

12.01.18 / By Esmee Thompson-Smith /

Celebrating the vibrant heritage of Burnbrae Dye Works and the Turkey red textile industry, Rachel Barron’s vinyl window installation at Milngavie Heritage Centre transforms the building with colour and pattern. The local Turkey red industry flourished throughout the 19th Century, employing around 600 skilled workers to create extensive lengths of meticulously printed fabric using complex repeat patterns and a striking colour palette.
Taking the textile sample books held at the National Museum of Scotland as a starting point, through an experimental and laborious process, shapes and patterns have been extracted from the archives and transformed into new designs. Working between tangible, hand-made collages to computer generated graphic drawings, Rachel highlights the shift in textile production – from intricate hand-printed patterns to mass-produced digital prints – whilst creating more organic shapes and textures that express the subtle variation and movement within cotton material. Similarly to the Turkey red printing process, the artwork has been constructed from distinct layers of colour, which blend in their transparencies when viewed from the interior space; temporal patterns are cast through the windows, shifting and fading with the changes in sunlight. Despite the limited records of original designs created at Burnbrae itself, the artwork imagines how the patterns made in Milngavie could once have looked, magnified.

Rachel Barron (b.1989) is an artist and educator from Glasgow. She holds a First Class BA (Hons) in Painting from Edinburgh College of Art (2011) and an MFA in Fine Art from the Valand Academy in Gothenburg, Sweden (2016). Responding to the patterns, materials and histories connected to the sites within which she works, Rachel creates installations that intertwine with their surroundings, expanding the viewer’s perception of familiar spaces.
With a long-standing interest in textiles, Rachel has constructed her own printmaking device which offers the possibility to hand-print limitless lengths of intricately patterned material, similarly to the industrial techniques used within calico print works. Originally designed as a tool to facilitate the production of her own work, the print device has since formed the basis of a series of participatory printmaking projects across the UK as well as the community engagement workshops for Trails and Tales. See, www.rachelbarron.co.uk