Mackintosh Library Collections: Research & Creative Practice

Here you can discover how the Mackintosh Library collections and spaces have been used in creative research and practice by our researchers, students, practitioners and staff. You can also read The Hatchery to discover more about how artists, writers and creatives have used our collections to inspire, challenge or expand their practice. Or learn about some of the research projects undertaken by GSA Archives.

Trails and Tales (2017)

Designs by children from Meadowbank Primary School, Bishopbriggs, in response to work in the Talwin Morris Collection

In 2017 the Library received a research request regarding works in the Talwin Morris Collection by sculptor Marion Smith, a freelance artist and educator and a former technician in the department of Sculpture and Environmental Art at Glasgow School of Art. Marion approached us while working on a commission for arts and heritage learning programme Trails and Tales, which deployed artists across 11 town and villages throughout East Dunbartonshire to explore their local heritage. In collaboration with local communities these artists undertook extensive research to create a series of site-specific outdoor sculptures and heritage trails inspired and informed by residents’ socio-cultural histories. Alongside these physical outcomes, these projects aimed to generate and encourage dialogue and knowledge exchange. Working in Bishopbriggs, Marion was exploring the creative legacy of The Villafield Press, a printing house which was part of the publishing firm Blackie and Son.

Carpets of Distinction (2014)

Carpets of Distinction (2014) in situ in Dovecot Studios

Carpets of Distinction created a unique partnership between seven contemporary artists: John Byrne, Ruth Ewan, Nick Evans, Alasdair Gray, Nicolas Party, Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan. All worked in collaboration with Dovecot weaver and rug-maker Jonathan Cleaver to create a new collection of limited edition hand-tufted rugs. Representing a broad range of concerns, the artist commissions took inspiration from the history of industrial carpet design through reference to traditional motif and pattern. They explored form, colour and finishing, and in doing so acknowledged the central role of the artist-craftsperson in the process of their making. The work of the artists was framed by a collection of material from the Stoddard-Templeton Collection, held in the Glasgow School of Art’s Library.

Interwoven Connections (2013-2014)

Stoddard-Templeton Collection on display in the Interwoven Connections exhibition (2013)

The exhibition Interwoven Connections ran from 8 November 2013 to 11 January 2014 in the Mackintosh Museum at Glasgow School of Art and featured books, folios and plates from the Library’s Stoddard-Templeton Collection. Through these artefacts the exhibition sought to provide insight into the Stoddard-Templeton design studios, their designers, and the carpet design process.

Interwoven Connections: The Stoddard Templeton Design Studio and Design Library, 1843-2005 from The Glasgow School of Art

Interwoven Connections followed a programme of research on the companies and their library by GSA textiles lecturer Helena Britt,  and was supported by the Royal Society of Edinburgh. A number of public events accompanied the exhibition.

For an in-depth discussion of the companies and their use of the library, please see:

Britt, H. & Chappell, D. (2014) ‘Interwoven connections: the Stoddard-Templeton design studio and design library 1843-2005’, Art Libraries Journal, vol. 39, no. 3, pp.15-20, Available (subscription required)

Not Just The Perfect Moments (2012)

Kate Davis (2012) Not Just The Perfect Moments

As part of her research for her 2012 exhibition at The Drawing Room, London, artist Kate Davis made extensive use of pre-20th century drawing manuals and treatises held in the rare books collection of the Glasgow School of Art Library. In particular, she was interested in how these manuals reflect the political, social and cultural ideologies of the time. Using a variety of sources, including anatomical and medical atlases, she photographed these volumes and incorporated motifs from them (such as feet, arms and musculature) into her own drawings and sculptural installations.

Inventors of Tradition (2011)

Items from the Stoddard-Templeton Collection on display in Inventors of Tradition (2011)

The Stoddard-Templeton Collection featured prominently in the research project, book and exhibition Inventors of Tradition by Beca Lipscombe and Lucy McKenzie. Beca and Lucy selected items from the Stoddard-Templeton Collection in order to form a subjective study of the history of the Scottish textiles industries since the 1930s.

Proposals for Relocation (2011)

Shelton Walker (2011) Proposal for Relocation

In 2011, as part of her MFA Degree Show, Shelton Walker started to draw the Library’s entire Artists’ Books Collection – that’s over 1,000 books! Each book was rendered in exquisite detail in its own pencil drawing, with the drawings then collectively stored in a shipping container moored on the Forth and Clyde Canal in Glasgow ready for transport to the ocean. By doing so, Shelton imagines a fictionalized future world in which cultural archives, through pressure on space and resources, are transported to the nation’s coasts to remain unseen in huge outsourced repositories.