Date of this Version
Published in Textile Society of America 2014 Biennial Symposium Proceedings: New Directions: Examining the Past, Creating the Future, Los Angeles, California, September 10–14, 2014,
As with much of the textile industry in the United Kingdom, carpet manufacturing in the West of Scotland was once thriving. Powder was ground, paint mixed, design papers painted, yarn dyed, spools set and carpets woven. The history of the carpet manufacturing innovators, Stoddard Templeton, dates back to 1845 when James Templeton, a Scot and then Alfred Francis Stoddard, an American, began to produce carpets from disused Paisley shawl mills. The story is one of growth, expansion, worldwide prominence and unfortunately eventual decline. Stoddard Templeton produced carpets for a highly prestigious array of events and interiors including royal coronations and weddings, ocean liners such as the Titanic and Queen Mary, for the Festival of Britain, for cathedrals, palaces and other significant residences including the White House. Carpets also graced the floors of many homes, hotels and offices. However, consumer trends and preferences for other flooring surfaces led to a decline in Scottish carpet manufacturing. Stoddard International PLC entered into receivership in 2005, with assets liquidated in 2009. At this time a consortium formed to purchase and safeguard the historically significant company archives. Within the remains were unique books, rare portfolios, textiles, intricate design sketches and exquisitely painted design papers. This paper describes a project that utilised this resource and in particular The Stoddard Design Library held by The Glasgow School of Art. By examining the past it has been possible to establish the workings of the Stoddard Templeton design studio, explicate the carpet design process, evidence utilization of design library items within the creative process and examine the impact of digital technology. Dissemination activities have been used to tell the story of this once significant industry and provide inspiration to learning, teaching and research. Examining the past continues to influence the designers and design researchers of the future.