Tes Editorial

An exhibition called A Passion for Painting Pattern, running at Strathclyde University's Collins Gallery in Glasgow until December 20, is the perfect antidote to the chaos of Christmas, the end of term and even the credit crunch.

It showcases the beautifully ordered work of Scottish textile designer and master colourist, Raymond Honeyman who, when he isn't teaching art students at the University of Cumbria, creates exclusive designs for the up-market needlepoint kits produced by the Ehrman tapestry company.

What is extraordinary about the way Honeyman operates is that his designs are not converted into needlepoint patterns by computer. He actually works directly on to graph paper with brush and paint, dotting up to 19 different colours into as many as 55,000 tiny squares (each one representing a stitch) to create a complete picture. It is essentially a trompe l'oeil rendition of a printed needlepoint canvas.

On show at the Collins Gallery are more than 30 of his original designs, including "Magic Carpet," his first commission from Ehrman's, which was inspired by some old sepia photographs of a traditional Eastern bazaar, which showed a lavish display of exotic carpets.

"I imagined the splendour and richness of the glorious colours and the exuberant patterns, and that mental image inspired this design," says Honeyman.

The delightful "Mikado Maids," featuring 17 colours and produced in 2002, was inspired by the Gilbert and Sullivan biographical film Topsy Turvy.

Honeyman also draws inspiration from his collection of junk-shop finds, such as paper fans, decorative boxes and old textiles including tartan rugs, explaining: "I can find exquisite beauty in faded colours, tattered edges and threadbare surfaces."

Honeyman, who was born and brought up in Perth and graduated from Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art in 1976, says that even as a young child, he "found the continual, never-ending movement of intricate, repeating pattern mesmerising".


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Tes Editorial

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