A new exhibition at Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh, explores the link between art and craft through the mass produced culture of the industrial age.

Carpets of Distinction features six hand-tufted rugs designed by John Byrne, Ruth Ewan, Nick Evans, Alasdair Gray, Nicolas Party, and Joanne Tatham and Tom O’Sullivan. The show is produced by Panel – independent curators Caroline Duffy and Lucy McEachan – who promote design in Scotland and beyond through exhibitions, events and cultural projects.

Each artist used the Stoddard Templeton Archive at Glasgow University as inspiration, creating a limited edition hand–tufted rug in collaboration with Dovecot weaver Jonathan Cleaver. Duffy comments: “The selected artists had never before worked with hand-tufted textiles (John Byrne worked with woven textiles during his time at Stoddard’s) and though the collected rugs represent a broad range of concerns and are distinct in their design, they all reference traditional motif and pattern.”

Carpets of Distinction honours the historical relationship between artist and producer in both hand and industrial craft manufacture. Material, colour and finishing are explored, acknowledging the central role of the artist/craftsperson and weaver in the production of the rug as an art object.

An intriguing element of the exhibition is its ‘Showroom’ presentation. Duffy explains: “The curation of the show references the sales catalogues produced by the Stoddard and Templeton factories at the peak of their production. The Showroom suggests the appearance of a room that sits somewhere between a neutral gallery and an open-plan, commercial sales space.”

Duffy hopes there will be a long-lasting legacy for artists in the area: “An ambition of the project is to enable meaningful relationships between the artists and the studio at Dovecot that will continue and flourish beyond the scope of this project.”

The exhibition has been funded through Creative Scotland’s Quality Arts Production programme.

Carpets of Distinction, produced by Panel in partnership with Dovecot Studios and the Stoddard Templeton Archive at Glasgow University and The Glasgow School of Art, until 12 January at North Gallery, Dovecot Studios, Edinburgh.

More on a-n.co.uk:

Big Picture: Ruth Ewan – Ewan’s Pound Hand in the Jungle featured in a-n Magazine, October 2009.

Collaborative relationships index – exposes the working relationships between artists and the wide range of professionals they collaborate with. Archive of over thirty articles covering hugely varied projects.

Curatorial practice – What makes a good collaborative partnership between a curator and an artist? Selection of articles, guides and profiles exploring what makes curatorial partnerships tick.