European Unions

Linen has profoundly influenced the wealth of our nation, the geography of our country and our relationship within Europe. Our chosen Linen Stories tell tales of economic migrancy, industrial espionage, trade routes and transfers of technology, highlighting the development and demise of this once vital Scottish industry and our links both helpful and rivalrous with Ireland and Holland.

European Unions is developed with the kind support of Vanessa Habib, textile historian and Chris Fleet, National Library Scotland.

Art and Acquisition

Linen plays a central role in the history of art with Artists drawing on linen, literally as a medium and for inspiration. As Artists look for quality linen on which to paint, so Traders have looked to ensure quality in the materials they exchange and Consumers have looked for quality in the linen goods they purchase. Here we look at woven research into the canvas of old master paintings, images of linen product, production and advertising and the graphic design of quality through the ages.

Art and Acquisition is developed in collaboration with Eilidh Young.

Plant & Process

Linen is perhaps the worlds oldest textile and is derived from varieties of the Flax plant. Here we take you on a sensory journey, describing the growing cycle, relaying the traditional stages of production and illustrating how this textile is manufactured today through prose, poem and song, hearing the clack of the factory floor and feeling the difference as you reach in to touch linen in its many forms.

Plant and Production is developed in collaboration with Clare McNicol, story teller.

Supply and Sustain

Linen has long been considered ideal for use in both heavy duty utility and noble interior design contexts, outlasting many other textiles with the right care. Its many qualities are enhanced by appreciation of its scientific properties. Further it has been argued that Flax represents the most sustainable of crops: minimal water and power requirements, all parts of the plant having potential for use. Does it represent an ideal in a world now changing as a result of inefficient lifestyles and dwindling resources? What future for this venerable material?

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