Trish Belford : Senior Research Fellow, Ulster University
Barbara Dass: Professor of Design, Ulster University
SHUTTLES AND SHAFTS: Reflecting back to look forward: The William Liddell
Heritage Lottery funded project.
ABSTRACT: The William Liddell archive is a collection of over 1600 glass photographic plates recovered from the premises of the abandoned Ewart-Liddell weaving factory in Donaghcloney, County Down, Northern Ireland. The plates appear to have been kept as a record of the working practice of designers and drafters in the factory dating from the early 1900s to mid/late1960s. The collection also evidences a clientele that was worldwide. Baird McNutt donated the salvaged collection of plates to the Belfast School of Art, however the condition was so fragile that they have not been able to be accessed or used. There are five key stages to this research project. The first stage is to uncover the extent and content of the collection by the careful digitisation and cataloguing of each plate. The second stage is to conduct a series of public road shows across the counties of Down, Armagh and Antrim to collect further data associated with the Irish linen industry. The third stage is to collate and catalogue the plates and artefacts from the road shows. The fourth is to translate this unique design heritage to a contemporary setting using modern techniques in printing, weaving and finishing processes. The fifth is to build a website for public access to the William Liddell plates, the artefacts catalogued from the road shows and new works from project researchers Belford and Dass. The final stage will be a pop up exhibition supported by full documentation of the social significance of the lost designs. Heritage Lottery funding has been secured to support the project.
The project team from the University of Ulster is led by print designer Trish Belford and supported by weave designer Professor Barbara Dass. Their research findings will be disseminated through an exhibition in the 2018 Irish Linen Biennale Belford and Dass will be making new contemporary textile work in response to the Liddell Damask design collection.