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Photograph by Janet Wilson

Installation View, Photograph by Janet Wilson

Sometimes we see exhibitions that draw attention to unknown legacies. Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005 is one of them. We had a closer look…
What happens when manufacture and design go hand in hand? What is the legacy and historical relevance of this kind of fusion? The current exhibition Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005 presented at the Mackintosh Museum in Glasgow is an imposing example of how to utilise a design library and archive; in this case how to present a selection of a diverse collection accumulated by a group of carpet manufacturing companies, supported by documentary material. The history of Stoddard Templeton is quite complicated, originally existing as two separate businesses – James Templeton & Co. and A F Stoddard & Co. These companies were renowned carpet design and manufacturing innovators and whilst the former initially focused on markets in countries of the commonwealth, the latter exported to the United States. 1n 1980 after various mergers, acquisitions and buyouts Templeton Carpets Ltd merger with Stoddards. With a combined history of 160 years, final closure of the remaining company Stoddard International PLC was in 2005, which is reason enough to examine the workings of the Stoddard Templeton design studio. The exhibition consists of a selection of material from 1800s to 2000s: design library plates, portfolios, photographs, sketches, carpet pattern designs, samples, books, catalogues and films. All together they constitute an image of the design process, from initial inspiration to manufactured carpet. The actual carpets and carpet samples are presented on a plinth construction of varying heights.

Detail of 'Ornamente der Hausindustrie Ungarn's', Karl von Pulsky, 1878

The diversity of patterns presented in the exhibition range from styles, such as ‘Floral’, ‘Art Deco’ to ‘Japanese’ and ‘Animal motifs’, and also c1930s abstract geometric forms that are even reminiscent of the famous 1980’s design of Memphis Milano. They appear in three-dimensional qualities through the application of colour; sometimes smooth pastel, sometimes bright acid. An interesting mixture supported through material that not only provides a context for the exhibits, but also function as autonomous pieces of art.

Detail of 'Toiles imprimees de la Perse et de l'Inde, Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf, c.1890

The potential of this resource is to utilise The Glasgow School of Art Design Library and Archives & Collections Centre resources from a contemporary perspective. Looking at the harmonious presentation of craft production and design it is unavoidable to see Stoddard Templeton’s importance in terms of carpet manufacturing and design. Interwoven Connections is therefore an attempt to keep alive these legacies.

Interwoven Connections
Mackintosh Museum
The Glasgow School of Art

167 Renfrew Street
Glasgow G3 6RQ
09 Nov – 11 Jan