22nd December 2006 at 00:00
Fair Isle jumper, a dress made by the artist's wife, blankets and rugs in a cottage on Arran - these are just some of the objects that feature in a group of paintings brought together for an exhibition on the theme of fabric.

"Strands", running at the City Art Centre in Edinburgh until February, comprises 16 carefully chosen pictures dating from 1886 to 2005, all of them dealing not simply with fabric, but with the fabric industry or fabric craft.

It is a fascinating show, due in no small measure to the excellent labels beside each picture, which point to a lot of detective work on the part of the curator.

One of the most interesting pieces on show is also the smallest - John Quinton Pringle's The Loom. Painted in 1891, when Pringle, grandson of a carpet designer, was just 27, it depicts, in intricate detail, a weaver working at one of the few remaining handlooms in Bridgeton, Glasgow.

Pringle attended classes at the Glasgow School of Art, but left when he set up an optician's shop in the east end of the city. He took three months to complete The Loom, painting from 6am to 8am every morning before he went to work.

Russell Flint's large watercolour of Fabric Workers in an airship factory, painted in the middle of the First World War, in 1916, is a delight. Flint is better known for slick nudes in Mediterranean landscapes, but this beautifully detailed picture shows groups of women sewing huge swathes of white material laid out on a factory floor.

Born in 1880, Flint attended Edinburgh College of Art and spent six years as an apprentice draughtsman with a large printing works, before moving to London where he worked as a medical and magazine illustrator.

Using the "Strands" exhibition as inspiration, free artist-led workshops for families with children aged three and up will be held at the City Art Centre on December 28 and 29 and, in the New Year, on January 4 and 5.

Booking essential. T 0131 529 3963

* www.cac.org.uk

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