Tartan Setts

Artist Jim Pattison is currently exhibiting works based on and inspired by tartan setts at The Briggait. Jim’s series initially evolved from a personal and intuitive response to tartan, mainly through the wide range of designs and colours that his mother has used for kilts over many years. He recalls “My mother started to train as a kilt maker at Stewart Christies in Edinburgh when she was 14, and has often asked me if I’d like her to make me a kilt, but for one reason or another I’ve never taken up this offer – mainly because the family name Pattison doesn’t have a tartan of its own (but can use Lamont). Talking to my mother again recently about kilts and tartan prompted me to look at ways in which tartans are, and have been recorded and assigned, and to consider ways in which it might be possible to design bespoke tartans using information from my family history and from my own DNA.”

Jim’s exhibition has prompted us to showcase the book Setts of the Scottish Tartans by Donald Calder Stewart from our collections.

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The distinctive pattern of repeating squares and lines that defines any tartan is called a sett. The Scottish Register of Tartans Act 2008 defines a tartan as ‘a design which is capable of being woven, consisting of two or more alternating coloured stripes which combine vertically and horizontally to form a repeated chequered pattern.

Jim’s exhibition runs at Briggait Project Spaces, The Briggait, 141 Bridgegate, Glasgow from 25 July-21 August 2015.

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