Making Connections: Schools Project

Exploring and highlighting Langholm’s rich history and heritage in textile manufacture

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Making Connections is an Upland project which aims to enable artists and makers to explore and highlight Langholm’s rich history and heritage in textile manufacture, working with local organisations, Outpost Arts and the Langholm Initiative.

After postponement of the artist residency and commission aspects of the project due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we're pleased to share here details of our schools project which culminated in a successful exhibiton display.  

The schools project was be undertaken by Kirkcudbright-based textile artist Morag Macpherson, who worked with pupils from Langholm Academy and Langholm Primary school between January and March 2020 enabling the pupils to create their own work in response to the project themes.

Morag’s approach to textiles through surface pattern design and digital printing was embodied by the students in the creation of their own pattern designs. Using school software and tablets, they coloured, repeated and played with original motifs, created from their own photography, taken during research visits to local textile manufacturer’s, Elliot’s Shed and Drove Weaving. Judith Johnson from the Langholm Initiative provided historical and local knowledge which added to the authenticity of the project. 

Final designs were digitally printed onto linen and patch worked with locally manufactured tweed, into reversible workwear aprons. Just like the factory workers might have worn, working in the mills during the last century.

After postponment due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the results were shared with the public through a vibrant window display. We are very pleased and thankful to all involved in finding creative ways to complete the work and a massive congratulations to all of the pupils involved for creating the fantastic work on display!

We would also like to thank Langholm Academy and Primary School, Judith Johnson (the Langholm Initiative), Lucy Macleod (Outpost Arts), Nicol Nicolson (the Langholm Alliance), Jamie Stryker, Helen Storey and The Stevenson Trust for use of the window space.

The wider Making Connections project is still ongoing but has been adapted in response to Covid-19 restrictions.

Artist and filmmaker Emma Dove, whose work explores relationships to place, notions of home and personal memory, will be collecting stories and memories of the weaving industry in Langholm. Working alongside Emma on the project is maker Deirdre Nelson who often connects with communities through her work and is interested in celebrating making in its widest sense. Deirdre is looking for people to share what they have been making at home during lockdown. Examples could be making or mending in your shed, baking , cooking , knitting , woodwork, fly tying. For more information on the wider project visit here.

 About the maker

Morag Macpherson
Morag is a textile artist based in Kirkcudbright who works with colourful combinations and imagery inspired by art history, diverse cultures and nature to create her surface patterns. She creates unique patchworks, garments and accessories which are printed on textiles.

Her work has been exhibited and sold around the world. She also works in a community context, including workshops in surface pattern design and street art styles. Previous projects with Upland include Spring Fling Rural Mural and mentoring with the Emerge programme.


The Making Connections Project is supported by Creative Scotland and the Heritage Lottery Fund. The schools project is supported by the Archie Sutter Watt Trust.


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