Hidden Gems exhibition: 5 June – 3 November 2019

This is a University of Central Lancashire exhibition exploring fabric, fashion and faith. UCLan lecturers Amanda Odlin-Bates and Bev Lamey led artists Zareen Wahid, Lisa Scarlett Ryan, Femida Adam and Louise Duxbury – all UCLan graduates - to work with an intergenerational mix of local Asian women and girls in Burnley and create their own contemporary headscarves inspired by Asian textiles in our collection. 

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The participants were photographed wearing their contemporary headscarves in the historic setting of Gawthorpe Hall and these portraits are now on display in the exhibition together with the headscarves. 
As part of the Hidden Gems project, the participants came to Gawthorpe to research textiles from the countries of South Asia. The group was inspired by this fabulous Indian Test Piece in the collection and it became the starting point for designing their own digitally printed headscarves.

The Indian Test Piece dates from 1900 – 1950. It is 9 metres long and was block-printed by hand with 58 different trial designs of various sizes. Some of the designs are floral, some geometric, and some combine these pattern elements together. The designs were all printed in two colours - red and dark-brown - on natural coloured hand-woven cotton fabric. 

The Indian Test Piece originally belonged to Alistair Morton when he was the artistic director of Edinburgh Weavers, one of the most important design-led textile manufacturers of the 20th century. It was donated to the textile collection as part of the Morton Bequest in 1967.

Hidden Gems is an Arts Council funded UCLan project in collaboration with Gawthorpe Textiles Collections.

The Hidden Gems exhibition is on display until 3 November.