Design, and Manufacturing in the Midlands
7th November – 14th January
Swirl Design – part of the Fiestaware range manufactured by Chance Glass of Smethwick
A showcase of products manufactured by Midlands based companies working with significant designers during the period from 1930 to 1980, highlighting innovative and modernist design. The show will celebrate this Mid-century period – a period during which the Midlands maintained its reputation as ‘the workshop of the world’.
Midlands Modern will contain work from a number of different disciplines, such as lighting, glass, ceramics and furniture. Highlighting and showcasing the breadth of manufacturing in the Midlands.
Featuring in the exhibition is the work of Lady Margaret Casson; an architect, designer and photographer. Margaret Casson had remarkable talent. She studied at the Bartlett School of Architecture University College, London during the 1930s and was one of the few women on the architectural design course at the time. Casson went on to have an accomplished career as an architect and in a number of other design related fields.
She collaborated with Chance Glass in Smethwick to create one of their most well-known and highly collectable patterns – Night Sky (1957). Along with patterns such as Swirl (1955) and Calypto (1959), as part of their ‘Fiestaware’ range during the 50’s. Fiestaware was Chance’s most successful creation: mass produced and affordable glassware for the domestic market.
“This glassware was produced flat-rolled sheet glass with decorative screen- and transfer-prints applied prior to it being formed to shape, by reheating and slumping”
Night Sky has a clear modernist vibe, with the angular, minimal silk transfers forming what seems like constellations, with golden gilding adorning the rims of the glassware. We are looking forward to exhibiting some these exquisite modernist pieces in collaboration with the Glass Museum in Stourbridge.
Returning to Parkside Gallery will be the works of Tibor Reich, one of the 20th century’s most celebrated textile designers – who notably livened up Post-war Britain with his taste in bright and vividly coloured textiles. Reich fled from war-torn Hungary in 1937 to study textiles at Leeds University. After the completion of his studies he bought a 19th Century cotton mill in Stratford – upon – Avon and established Tibor Ltd. It is more famously known as the Clifford Mill, and it is where Tibor established his career in producing and designing woven and printed textiles, ceramics, tiles and rugs.
“Reich freed colour from the pre-war 2D woven textile, and reimagined it in a revolutionary new way of weaving, that ‘brought a pattern out of texture”
Reich, Tibor (1959). “Responsibility of the Designer To-Day”. Journal of Textile Institute.
Also returning to Parkside Gallery are Brinton’s Carpets, who began manufacturing their world-renowned carpet designs in 1783, in Kidderminster. A town that is inextricably linked to the carpet manufacturing industry, and known at one point as the ‘Woven Carpet Capital of the World’.
Brinton’s market leading modernist design the ‘Bell Twist’ went into manufacturing in 1965, and celebrated its 50th-anniversary last year. The design is still a popular British domestic textile to this day, down to the large variety of shades on offer and the strong wool-rich yarn used to create the famed permanent twist. This ensures that the textile can withstand the rigours of family life.
In 1993, Britons Bell twist carpets were transformed in collaboration with notorious Punk designer Vivienne Westwood. She produced eccentric twists on traditional and modernist fashion trends – proving the versatility of Brinton’s Carpets. This collection was part of Brinton’s first advertising campaign, with Vivienne Westwood’s iconic carpet dresses at the forefront. Westwood’s’ yellow floral carpet ball gown stands in the Brinton’s office in Kidderminster to this day.
Amongst a number of other disciplines, Midlands Modern highlights the contribution of the Midlands to Modernist and Contemporary design history, championing the midlands as a creative hub that is still just as relevant today.
Midlands Modern will be on show from the 7th November untill the 14th January. You can follow the progress of the show on the Parkside Gallery Blog and our related social media: