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 Lil Brookes' story below.

Artist and heritage consultant Lil Brookes specialises in Paisley pattern and for her front cover she imagined a ‘lost swatch’ of printed cloth that had come loose from a 19th century design book.

Lil, who runs her own small, creative business Gatekeeper Art, said: “My inspiration is the heritage of Paisley and Renfrewshire and I’ve been interested in the pattern as long as I can remember.


“I love the history, colour and intricacy of it. I’ve used it in the past for teaching children literacy and numeracy because you can use it to code and do probability for mathematics.

“My art work was imagined as a lost swatch which is flimsy and over time has become frayed at the edges from being viewed and handled so much. The ‘tear drop’ motif features along with other leaves and flowers. I think the pattern is so iconic it should be celebrated like the religious icons of Eastern Europe which are made of gold and silver.”

Lil, who is a guest trader at the town’s InCube shop which helps local creative industries, says that if Paisley won the title it would have a huge impact on the thriving creative talent in the area.

She said: “I sincerely hope that my little painting helps Paisley get what it needs and deserves. For my own business I think it’s vitally important as a new creative industry.

“I think a win would bring people here and give the town the ‘oomph’ it needs. Who knows? Maybe the lost swatch could once again find itself part of a display of everything cultural and creative about Paisley for the year 2021.”