Seine Net Queens

Laura Spring with Bernie Reid and Mairi MacKenzie

20 August – 9 October 2016

Commissioned by Timespan, Seine Net Queens is an exhibition by independent design curators Panel. The exhibition presents photographs from Timespan’s Archive alongside new works by textile designer Laura Spring, artist Bernie Reid and fashion researcher Mairi MacKenzie.

Inspired by the significant social, economic and cultural legacy of Helmdale’s herring trade, Seine Net Queens explores the trade’s 20th-century heritage through newly commissioned work by textile designer Laura Spring, made in response to a selection of photographs from Timespan’s archive. Focusing on amateur and family photographs of women who actively participated in the development of an identity for Helmsdale, these images of seine net queens and their attendants make visible the influence of the area’s sea-fishing heritage on community events and activities. When considered alongside earlier photographs of Helmsdale’s herring gutting girls, the photographs reveal the transformation of women’s lives during a period in Helmsdale when the structures of work and industry were radically redefined.

Responding to the duality of these local representations of women and place, Laura Spring has created two new textile commissions that investigate convergences between tradition and modernity, handcraft and industry, and labour and ceremony. Working in collaboration with artist Bernie Reid and fashion historian Mairi MacKenzie, Spring combines the selected archival material with new sculptural, graphic and written works. Reviewing the changing role of women through the lens of pattern, landscape, identity and uniform, Seine Net Queens creates subjective and imaginative associations between historic material and contemporary ideas, and between photographic documentation and textile design.

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Panel is an independent curatorial practice led by Catriona Duffy and Lucy McEachan. Based in Glasgow, Panel promotes design in relation to particular histories, archives and collections through exhibitions, events and cultural projects.

Laura Spring

Laura Spring, originally from Staffordshire, is a textile designer/maker living and working in Glasgow creating bold graphic print designs that are transformed through screen and digital print into fashion accessories, homeware and stationery. She is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art where she was awarded a BA in graphic design in 2002.

With an enormous love for colour, print, pattern and process, Laura aims to create products and designs based around these ideals. Bold patterns mixed with bright colours transformed into beautifully crafted products underpin Laura’s work.

Laura is committed to supporting local manufacturing and ethical methods of production in the creation of her work. In addition to working on her own collections, Laura enjoys collaborating with other artists/designers and companies across various fields. She has worked with artists Laura Aldridge and Ciara Phillips to produce limited edition ranges of bags for House of Voltaire 2012 and 2014 respectively. She has also produced limited editions for Lush Cosmetics, Belle & Sebastian, The National Trust for Scotland, Not Another Bill and India Street curated by Katy West.

Mairi MacKenzie

Mairi MacKenzie is a fashion historian and curator based in Glasgow. She is Research Fellow in Fashion and Textiles at Glasgow School of Art, a visiting lecturer at Glasgow University and was lecturer in Cultural and Historical Studies at London College of Fashion. Mairi’s current research is concerned with the relationship between popular music and fashion; social histories of perfume; and the history of dressing up and going out in Glasgow. She is author of Dream Suits: The Wonderful World of Nudie Cohn (Lannoo: 2011), Isms: Understanding Fashion (A&C Black: 2009), and Perfume Was My Hobby: Histories of Scent in the Everyday (I.B. Tauris: forthcoming). In 2014 and 2015 Mairi programmed, produced and curated Fashion Cultures. MacKenzie is from Stranrear, a fishing village and transport hub in the South West of Scotland.

Bernie Reid

Bernie Reid is an artist who lives and works in Edinburgh. His previous work includes commissions for a variety of clients including Stella McCartney, i-D magazine, Dazed and Confused, Nissan, the Saturday Telegraph, Boxfresh, Volkswagen, German Elle, Habitat and Wallpaper.

Seine Net Queens is commissioned by Timespan and curated by Panel. All archival material has been selected from Timespan’s Archive with the assistance of Jo Clements, Archive Development Manager, Timespan. The exhibition has been developed in collaboration with Frances Davis, Curator, Timespan.

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