My Story

As Paisley waved off its bid for UK City of Culture 2021, the bid documents themselves were all given a unique twist.

Artists, designers and groups with links to the town were invited to design bespoke front covers for the documents.

Bound with thread donated from Coats, the company to whom Paisley’s fortunes were tied and which is still a global force, each has its own Paisley inspired design.

As they are handed over to the judging panel of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport who organise the competition, we can reveal the inspiration behind some of the 25 covers.

Read about the covers produced by inmates of Low Moss below.

Inmates of Low Moss produced no less than three of the front pages covers.

The Learning Centre at the prison near Glasgow themed this year’s work with Glasgow School of Art on Paisley and some of the most striking works were put on display as part of the ‘Weave’ exhibition at Paisley Museum.

Learning Manager at HMP Lowmoss Ruth Facchini said that a lot of the men had some kind of association with the town and added: “We really liked what the bid was about – bringing new life to Paisley and regeneration.”

The wide ranging works include ‘Tattoo’ by Willie W, featuring a heart and a single Paisley pattern teardrop. The stunning image is adapted from his painting of Paisley urban legend Wee Leach, a stone mason said to have fallen from his death from the steeple of Trinity High Church.

 

Ruth added: “Paisley pattern is something we experimented with a lot in the art room, its origins, where does it come from and what does it mean.

“The heart symbolises love and affection for a place, as well as hope.”

A black and white linocut print of the town’s Observatory by Jason B  and a heart rendingly moving  poem called ‘The Nobodies’ by Russell M, complete the trio of prints.

Ruth added: “Men have time in prison to think about their actions, lives and futures. "What’s got them in there and what they will do once they get out – as well as how other people will see them.

“I know Russell connections to Paisley and despite a difficult start it’s a place that’s very dear to him.”

The men’s experiences have many parallels with Paisley itself, and Ruth added: “Our learners – who know more than most about deprivation – recognise what a winning bid might bring to Paisley. It pays to channel offenders’ energies to positive ends, build their self worth and help them learn new skills.”

She said that the arts are an effective way of engaging with people who feel alienated from mainstream education and employment and added: “I’ve already had amazing feedback from people who have viewed our Weave exhibition and our guys who produced it could not be more thrilled to have their work recognised and appreciated.

“They feel valued that they have contributed something really positive to their community.”