• Carpets of Distinction

Carpets of Distinction is a showroom of six hand-tufted rugs produced by Panel in partnership with Dovecot Studios and the Stoddard Templeton Archive at Glasgow University and The Glasgow School of Art.

2012 marks the centenary year of the Dovecot Tapestry Studios in Edinburgh. As a part of the continued celebrations Panel are working with the studio on an interdisciplinary collaboration that explores the skill of making, and its impact across art forms, through a collection of new textile works, an exhibition and associated public programme.

A unique collaboration between seven artists, Dovecot weaver Jonathan Cleaver and the archivists at the Stoddard Templeton Archive, Carpets of Distinction is a collection of new works that explores connections between the spheres of art and craft and the mass-produced culture of industrial design.

Working with the Templeton/Stoddard archive as inspiration John Byrne, Ruth Ewan, Nick Evans, Alasdair Gray, Nicolas Party, Tom O’Sullivan and Joanne Tatham have each designed and created a limited edition hand–tufted rug in collaboration with Dovecot weaver Jonathan Cleaver. Carpets of Distinction proposes an understanding of craft that honours the vital relationship between artist and producer in both hand and industrial craft manufacture.

The exhibition also presents a collection of examples from the companies and includes historical documents, everyday objects and artworks displayed alongside the specially commissioned and hand tufted rugs. Shown together, at Dovecot, this selected material aims to highlight the expertise, quality and innovation shared by each of the companies and by the commissioned artists.

Looking to the history of industrial carpet design for inspiration a number of the commissions make reference to traditional motifs in their design. They explore material, colour and finishing, and in doing so acknowledge the central role of the artist/craftsperson and weaver in the production of the rug as an art object. This personal research is framed by broader material that illustrates a period when the textile industry, Scotland, and The UK as an imperial force, underwent a number of political, cultural, economic and social changes.

Layered intuitively, these historical narratives form diverse connections and perspectives to the commissioned work, drawing attention to our industrial heritage – past, present and future. In this way Carpets of Distinction makes explicit an interwoven chronology between the companies, the artists and Dovecot.

The exhibition will create a temporary space to house the work that presents an encounter between the ‘workspace’ and the ‘salesroom’. The commerciality of the six rugs, produced as a saleable edition of eight, will be made visible by an exhibition scheme that emulates the language of the sales room interior and the trade fair stand within the context of the North Gallery at Dovecot. Referencing the ‘Showrooms’ and sales catalogues produced by the Stoddard and Templeton factories at the peak of their production, Carpets of Distinction seeks to explore the styles, tastes and preferences, but also the value systems underlying our wider culture, of specific periods within Scotland during the last century.

The commission is a partnership with Dovecot and the Templeton/Stoddard carpet factory archive, at Glasgow University and The Glasgow School of Art. Supported by Creative Scotland and The Hope Scott Trust

An accompanying Sales Catalogue will be produced by Panel including commissioned essays and a series of interviews.

Find out more at:

Creative Scotland
John Byrne

John Byrne


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