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Case Study: Chris McEvoy-Barton

Chris McEvoy-Barton is a Paisley-based weaver and textile artist running an independent micro-mill in Glasgow’s Eastend. Chris has a successful design-based practice as a textile creative consultant, working internationally to client briefs as well as co-running Vevar, a homeware and accessories brand.

‘When I applied for VACMA it was a time when my whole creative practice was very much in a point of upheaval and transition’

Chris successfully applied for a VACMA grant of £750 in early 2022 in order to revisit the more experimental aspects of his practice and explore making work that is more transient to reflect the themes of nostalgia and the degradation of memory. Chris’ family heritage is in Paisley’s weaving industry and his family were Paisley Shawl weavers that had lived on Sma’ Shot lane during the historic industrial action. Chris had conceived of reflecting on this by weaving a Paisley Shawl using cotton and dissolvable yarn, to create a ghostly object that would slowly degrade into nothing but a pile of thread throughout the exhibition period.

‘It gave me a little bit of breathing room’

VACMA funding removed the financial strain of creating work that may not exist longterm or generate income from sales, allowing for a period of research and experimentation which resulted in a public presentation of the shawl at Sma’ Shot Cottages for Sma’ Shot day 2022. The delicate shawl was presented outside in the gardens, and successfully slowly disintegrated throughout the day, receiving a lot positive responses and questions from visitors.

‘The VACMA funding let me develop relationships which hopefully will be successful going forward’

As well as raising his profile as a textile artist to a wider audience, this creative development time also allowed Chris to extend his creative network across Renfrewshire including making connections with Paisley Museum collections and curators, the Sma’ Shot Cottages heritage site and producers at OneRen to assist in his creative development. 

‘It gave me enough of a creative break from the usual, that I’ve come back quite energised… I have got other projects that all came out of that time to sit back and be creative’

Chris is now looking to the future, curious to further develop his thread of material investigation and research into the history of craftmanship and labour struggles. He has a number of exciting creative projects that are currently coming to fruition including working on future exhibitions, a collaborative design project and the development of a brand new contemporary textile space in Johnstone Town Centre.

Find out more about Chris and his practice on his website here.

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