Inspired by the former textile industry at Lennox Mill, Rachel has created a new vinyl installation on the windows of Lennoxtown Library, composed of vibrant colour and pattern, like a page from a pattern sample book one might discover within the archives. The calico print works was established in the late 18th century and in operation for more than a hundred years, at its peak employing almost a thousand workers. Block-printing was carried out initially by hand to create repeat patterns with colour applied in layers, similarly to the vinyl material.
For the Trails and Tales project, Rachel has created her own collection of pattern samples that draws from the remaining textile samples held within national and local archives. Patterns have been constructed during a laborious process of extracting and fragmenting shapes from printed examples linked to East Dunbartonshire, playfully repeating and re-assembling them to form her own unique designs.
Showing sensitivity to the library building, the patterns selected for Lennoxtown echo the existing architectural features, whilst interacting with the elongated window panels to create the effect of block-printed fabric lengths, similar to those once produced at Lennox Mill.
The artwork subtly intertwines wider local heritage narratives through choice of colour and form, including stories surrounding the former Kali Nail Works, where rusty coloured water is said to have contaminated the Glazert river.
The design celebrates the vibrant heritage of Lennoxtown and skilled craftsmanship rooted within the town, whilst acting as a starting point for the sharing of stories and memories surrounding the industry.
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.