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 Dan Coughlan's story below.

Looking for inspiration for his bid design, trained weaver Dr Dan Coughlan didn’t have to search far.

As Curator of Textiles at Paisley Museum and Art Gallery, he oversees a vast collection of 19th Century Paisley print shawls - and it was to that historical cache of garments that he turned.

He said: “I’m a weaver and it’s what Paisley is known for so that’s why I wanted to do something based on traditional Paisley fabric.


“I’m in charge of our shawl collection and pattern book so there’s a whole range of inspirational material.

“The design and structure of the fabric is based on research I carried out on the shawl collection in the archives.

“These are original and unique to the museum and can be regarded as the first shawls of their type woven in Paisley in 150 years.

“I took the inspiration for the pattern motif, known as a Sprig from some of the early shawls themselves. We have 1,200, too many to display at one time.”

The fabric was even woven by the same method used to craft the original – on a hand jacquard loom in the museum.

But as well as capturing the history of the town, the curator hopes that his design also puts down a marker for a brighter future.

He said: “The UK City of Culture bid is massively important, it’s an act of confidence in the people here of the value of the town.”