Nine Trades of Dundee - Artist Commission

Artist No. 5 Clare Thornton - Tailor & Trimmer

In the Nine Trades of Dundee public art project, nine UK/Eire based artists/makers were commissioned by Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design to develop a project in their second ‘non-art’ trade.

I combined my skills as an artist and seamstress and took on the role of a traveling Tailor and Trimmer, gathering work stories and tools of the trade as I roved the city. A unique Trench Coat and Samples Book were the physical outcome of this process.

The bespoke garment, which I exhibited at Dundee Contemporary Arts/VRC and wore at the celebratory Final Gathering event embodied my encounters with the workers/work places in Dundee’s contemporary textile trade. The coat is now being accessioned into the city’s Mcmanus Museum permanent collection.

To research and develop the project I met with diverse textile workers and asked about the tools of their trade. This process involved a great deal of conversation and social history research. I was later able to draw on a wealth of local textile trade expertise to co-produce the garment. I established links with with three Dundee based textile related businesses Halley Stevensons (Waxed Cotton), Utopia Costumes and Cooper and McKenzie gents’ outfitters.