Outspoken Arts Scotland has announced a packed programme of visual arts events for the year ahead at The Art Department.   The Big Art Show is back from August-November; ACCORD Hospice annual exhibition returns to for a third year in April and May; and the popular FREE creative learning workshops start on 7th February and run until May.  This Spring’s major show is the Teardrop Explodes – an exciting new exhibition which explores all things Paisley Pattern, taking place in May and June.  

In this new project, The Teardrop Explodes, Outspoken Arts Scotland will work with community partners, artists, printmakers, photographers, weavers, textile artists, a dress historian and local heritage collections.  Gallery 2 will be transformed and covered head to toe in Paisley! The Teardrop Explodes exhibition will have a booth style layout featuring installations, artworks, displays, memorabilia, costumes, historical context and textiles.  A catwalk fashion show will be the exciting opening event.

A FREE Creative Learning Workshop programme will run from 7th February and participants will create work which will form part of the Teardrop Explodes show. Workshops will feature painting, drawing, printmaking, textiles, sewing, ceramics and mixed media. Artists leading the workshops are Lil Brookes; Marion Gardyne; Hector Dyer and Lilja Husmo. No experience is necessary, and all materials will be provided. Book here: https://outspokenarts.eventbrite.com

Community partners confirmed are Disability Resource Centre; Finishing Touches, Paisley; Older Adults Day Service; Paisley Thread Mill Museum; The Renfrewshire Tapestry; Sma’ Shot Cottages and Lucy McConnell, Dress Historian. 

The Paisley Pattern is a centuries old pattern that has been utilised worldwide. It is one of the most highly recognisable motifs and is still sought after in everyday wear and high-end fashion. The pine pattern shawl came to be produced in Paisley at the start of the 19th century.  The exhibition will be a walk-through of 18th century garb, Victorian splendour, 60s Biba love, 70s hippy wear, Laura Ashley print, 70s Paisley punk, new romantics, to high-end Italian fashion and beyond.  

Commenting on the exhibition, Steven Thomson, Creative Director, Outspoken Arts Scotland, said: “This is exciting collaboration with local partners from public, private and third sectors to create an enthusiastic expression of “love” for all things Paisley pattern!  The project will explore the common bonds of the Paisley pattern and the “teardrop” motif across cultures and between generations, it will emphasise creative expressions, inclusivity, and diversity, whilst promoting community harmony, and positive mental wellbeing.

“Participants in creative and community outreach workshops will create a body of work telling the story of the Pattern, re-creating, and making new versions in multiple formats – from digital to catwalk.  We will tell the extraordinary story of this timeless fashion icon, shining a spotlight on the women and places that made it. We’ll explore its roots, its meaning, and its ongoing relevance as a collective emblem.”

A call for entries has been launched today requesting artists in any medium to submit work which references The Paisley Pattern.  Artworks can entirely new works, or one-off reproductions, re-creations, new forms, digital, prints, textiles, photography, painting, drawing, ceramic and sculptural forms.  The work must include the Paisley Pattern in some manner or form to be considered. 

Commenting on the project, Lil Brookes, said: “I love the Paisley pattern and find it endlessly interesting so I’m looking forward to having fun exploring the teardrop shape and associated flower motifs with a new set of people to see their take on it…all very inspiring!”

Supported by Renfrewshire Council’s Culture, Heritage and Events Fund.

Exhibition: Wednesday 1st May – Saturday 29th June 2024

Opening: Wednesday 1st May 2024 with a Catwalk Fashion Show 

Location:  The Art Department – Gallery 2, 2-10 Causeyside Street, Paisley, PA1 1UN

Key Dates:  ACCORD Hospice Annual Exhibition – April 26th – 10th May 2024; Teardrop Explodes – 1st May – 29th June 2024; Big Art Show – 30th August – 16th November 2024. 


Lil Brookes 

Lil Brookes is a visual artist and social historian with a community practice.  Her artwork is inspired by the rich heritage of Scotland with a special interest in the vibrant colours and designs of the Paisley pattern.  Her work as a social historian has led to several community heritage projects, creation of schools’ resources and exploration of our shared experiences in the period of post-COVID recovery via a public exhibition and community film.

The “Teardrop Explodes” is a perfect vehicle for Lil to explore her practice with a series of art workshops delivered in a day care setting exploring the Paisley pattern for adults with physical disabilities, older adults and older adults living with dementia.  Workshop content will utilise the use of reference images, textile swatches and even vintage clothing featuring the Paisley pattern to explore the “teardrop” shape and related natural flower forms. The art techniques explored via the workshops such as print making, collage and stencilling will be easy and fun.  The end-product when assembled will be a large-scale artwork forming a teardrop shape and will represent the collective contributions of all participants.  Lil has a further role as she will be liaising with community partners to curate exhibition content and assist with heritage interpretation. https://www.facebook.com/gatekeeperart/ 

Marion Gardyne

A textile design graduate from Duncan Jordanstone College of Art & Design, Dundee, Marion is a practicing artist member, exhibitor and award winner of The Paisley Art Institute, a member of The Glasgow Society of Women Artists and a judge for the Glasgow Institute of Architects Annual Design Competition.  A retired teacher, Marion has presented workshops for Outspoken Arts Scotland and Luminate Scotland at The Gallery of Modern Art.  Marion enjoys working in different mediums and likes to experiment and combine a variety of materials to produce themed dynamic collage work. Marion has worked extensively with the Paisley Pattern, using the Paisley motif outline to create new designs, depicting detail from an original 1860s Paisley shawl.   https://mariongardyneart.com/ 

Hector Dyer

Hector is an artist who works with hand-sewing, weaving and performance. They are self-taught and bring a DIY approach to their work. For this series of workshops, Hector will be focusing on textile techniques to break down and open out the Paisley pattern. We will explore how we can manually create elements of this pattern by hand, and the possibilities in this approach. The first two workshops will involve applique, hand-sewing and embroidery techniques to create flags inspired by the history of the Paisley pattern. For workshops 3 and 4, participants will deconstruct old clothes and transform them into catwalk pieces, exploring how they can play with shape and pattern. Participants are invited to bring along any clothes they want to donate to this process.  The last 2 workshops will combine painting and frame loom weaving.  https://hectordyer.com/     

Lilja Husmo 

Lilja is a costume designer, maker, and researcher specialising in 18th and 19th century dressmaking with a passion for Viking and Iron Age clothing. Originally from Norway, Lilja moved to Scotland to study Costume Design and Construction at Queen Margaret University where she graduated with First Class Honours. Through both her degree, professionally, and through personal projects Lilja has experienced researching, designing, and supervising positions in a wide array of projects.

In 2019 she supervised the Howden Park Centre Pantomime, Cinderella. In the beginning of 2020, she designed a production by Napier University’s Acting and English course, of ‘The Key Will Keep the Lock’. In 2022 she led a workshop for Renfrewshire Council on creating historical costume which was part of the monumental project. Recently Lilja has created several historical costumes, including: a Viking Costume based on the findings at a Birka Grave; a 1790s gown for Miss Dalrymple of Newhailes House; a 1760s gown for Elizabeth Dawson of Gladstone’s Land’s draper’s shop; and a 1900s East Lothian bondager’s costume.Lilja has been involved in historical costume since the age of 15 when she became involved with the Living History and Re-enactment scene in Tromsø both as an attendee and as a worker. Recently she worked on a professional and community theatre production as costume supervisor, for Jack Dickson’s “The Cartridge Girls of Hut no 7” staged at Ardeer Community Centre. She designed and constructed Victorian costumes for the 1890’s ensemble. https://www.liljahusmo.com


Founder of Paisley.org.uk in 1998 and constantly strives to change peoples attitudes to the town, Brian is a self described Paisley Digital Champion who promotes Paisley via any means necessary. You can also follow me on X