Thursday, 4 November 2010

Student’s dismay after exhibit stolen from Textile Towerhouse

Photo By David Russell

The Southern Reporter-Published on Thu Nov 04 13:36:07 GMT 2010

ROISIN McAtamney graduated from Heriot-Watt University at Galashiels recently and is regarded as a rising star in the world of knitted textiles design.

The 24-year-old from Shotts is now studying for her master’s degree at the London College of Fashion after one of the prestigious establishment’s course directors spotted Roisin’s work at a design show in the English capital this autumn. She was so impressed she told the young designer she had to come to the college to study.

So it was all the more galling for Roisin this week, when she opened an email to find that one of her prized garments has become the only item ever stolen from Borders Textile Towerhouse in Hawick.

From her new base in London, Roisin told TheSouthern on Tuesday: “Me and a few of my classmates were asked by the curator at Borders Textile Towerhouse if we would like to display a few of our garments from our final degree collection.

“I happily agreed and the garment exhibition opened at the beginning of October. Today I received a distressing email explaining how one of my hand-knitted tops had been stolen.

“I used expensive yarn, put endless hours of work into it and it was one of the best-received pieces in my collection. I am devastated as I was planning on selling the design once the exhibition had finished and I could have started to make a name for myself in the fashion world – and some money. The curator of the museum has stated that nothing has ever been stolen from any exhibition they have ever done and that my classmates’ work was not touched.

“I don’t know if I should feel a little bit flattered by the fact the thief only took one thing and it was this garment of mine, but I am pretty gutted – how could someone stoop so low.”

Roisin reported the theft to the local police and says she is even willing to put up a reward for her garment’s safe return.

“I had received some really good feedback about the top that was stolen and was hoping to do more with it, including enter it for some competitions.

“Mind you, it will be difficult for anyone to wear the stolen top, though, because it is very distinctive and, hopefully, a few fingers will be pointed at anyone who tries wearing it. Maybe they will be shamed into returning it,” said Roisin, who has valued the missing garment at around £500.

Shona Sinclair is curator at the Borders Textile Towerhouse and said staff were shocked that something had been stolen.

“I was a textiles student myself, so I know how important work from a final student collection is to someone,” she told us. “The display involved was designed to have a catwalk feel and you can’t have that feeling if the exhibits are behind glass.”

Ms Sinclair said Roisin will receive compensation under the museum’s insurance scheme, but admitted it would not make up for the loss of a very individual and unique item.

“This was a theft from a new exhibition in a new museum and if it were to affect people’s confidence in exhibiting with us, that would be a real problem.”

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