Mhari McMullan

Patterning Paisley: Museum retail and strategies for commercialising a historic textile collection through contemporary textile practice


Mhari McMullan (she/her) is a textile designer, researcher and writer whose work stems from a preoccupation with pattern. She works across exhibitions, retail and education in craft and design. Mhari graduated from Central St Martins in 2003 and relocated to Glasgow in 2007, where she opened Welcome Home in 2009. She was co-curator of Early Learning, and she was also a founding director of Collect Scotland CIC.

Mhari is currently in her third year of undertaking a partnership PhD with Paisley Museum at Glasgow School of Art. Her research centres on strategies for recontextualising a historic textile collection through contemporary textile design practice. Using a case study approach, she is investigating commercial, creative and pedagogical practice linked to the archival holdings of textile collections. This research showcase shared her own textile designs recently created in response to Paisley Museum’s Shawl Collection. The pieces shown combine sublimation dyes and digital printing on recycled fabric, silk and paper.

The Paisley shawls were woven by men, but the warp fringing was done by women. Mhari is interested in the edges as a visual metaphor for her experience of working with archival material and access issues that have arisen. The fringing is an intrinsically beautiful part of the design, but it also serves a practical purpose, without it the weaving would unravel. Mhari’s work references the original, heritage material but through a process of translation and removal, new textiles from textiles have been created.

Instagram: @mhari_mcmullan
Twitter: @mharimcmullan