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Thursday 14 February 2019

Success for Hidden Gems

Fashion exhibition inspired by women from Burnley’s Asian community to go on display at Gawthorpe Hall

A fashion exhibition created by women from Burnley’s Asian community has been so successful it will now move to Gawthorpe Hall in East Lancashire, which is home to an internationally renowned collection of textiles.

Funded by the Arts Council, Hidden Gems showcases how four UCLan artists worked with an intergenerational mix of local Burnley women to create a range of contemporary headscarves and hijabs inspired by rare Asian textile samples from the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection.

The project was led by UCLan’s Senior Lecturer in Fashion Design Amanda Odlin-Bates and Principal Lecturer in Fashion and Textiles Bev Lamey. The duo worked with the artists to reinterpret traditional textile designs from the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection into modern scarf designs.  

"We are delighted to see this thought-provoking exhibition move to Gawthorpe Hall, which is where the original inspiration for the scarves came from."

The original exhibition of Hidden Gems was hosted by Burnley Mechanics last summer and its thanks to its success that the display is now moving to the new location.

Amanda said: “We are delighted to see this thought-provoking exhibition move to Gawthorpe Hall, which is where the original inspiration for the scarves came from.”

“The title Hidden Gems makes an oblique reference to the ongoing debate about modesty, religious belief, fashion and women’s rights. The choice of the hijab or headscarf as a vehicle for the creative expression for our project has cultural significance for the participants and is something everyone could relate to.  We not only uncovered Hidden Gems from the rare samples in the textile collection at Gawthorpe, but also from the local Asian community members who had undiscovered artistic talents.”

Bev said: “Working from traditional decorative motifs and patterns, our participants created their own designs for digitally printed scarves. The project helped to develop new perspectives and interpretations of Gawthorpe Textiles Collection and to share the extensive textile samples with a wider audience. The project team included four artists who are all UCLan graduates; Zareen Wahid, Lisa Scarlett Ryan, Femida Adam and Louise Duxbury, who worked with the amazing ladies from the local community in Burnley and school children from Sir John Thursby Community College.”

The Gawthorpe Hall exhibition will run from the 5 June – 3 November. For more information visit the Gawthorpe Textiles Collection website.

Sameira Amir wearing the scarf she designed
Sameira Amir wearing the scarf she designed