Gina Pierce

Studio 23: Weaving

Studio Outline

Running as part of the School wide Huguenot Project, this Dissertation Studio will be focussing on the Huguenot legacy exhibition and symposium being held at The Cass next summer.

The Huguenot refugees who settled in Spitalfields in the 17th century brought with them new techniques that helped to establish a thriving silk weaving industry, generating immense wealth for the community. The effects of their success and their innovations can still be seen in design, architecture, and our society today.

This Dissertation Studio will be looking at the theme of making these successes have contemporary resonance and meaning, and how we can communicate these to the public.

With visits to see archive material, locations and surviving industry, students will engage with interpreting the legacy of the Huguenots through case studies that will examine the skills, the designs, lifestyles and living conditions of the time.

The outcomes will contribute to the public engagement with the Exhibition, and the Huguenot Festival.  These can be using both traditional and innovative methods, and might include text for catalogue, the reconstruction of weaving techniques, interactive events, the construction of 18th century garments and sensory experiences.

First seven weeks of study

Weeks 1-7: The first seven weeks of study will be looking at the legacy of the Huguenots, both in terms of design outcomes and the wider society. There will be lectures and activities looking at the themes of:

  • archive material, and how it can be used commercially in contemporary design,
  • the skills legacy, and the impact it has had at on the textile industry,
  • the religious, civil and social lifestyle of the Huguenots,
  • visits will include the Warner Archive, Dennis Severs House, Tower Hamlets Archive and The Museum of London.

Reading List

  • 1. Huguenot heritage : the history and contribution of the Huguenots in Britain / Robin Gwynn.
  • 2. From strangers to citizens : the integration of immigrant communities in Britain, Ireland, and colonial America, 1550-1750 / edited by Randolph Vigne and Charles Littleton.
  • 3. James Leman (working 1706-1718), Spitalfields designer Lewis, Frank.
  • 4. Spitalfields silks of the 18th and 19th centuries / introduction by J.F. Flanagan.
  • 5. 18 Folgate Street : the tale of a house in Spitalfields / Dennis Severs ; with an introduction by Peter Ackroyd.