PaisleyMake: A snapshot of the festival

PaisleyMake: Heritage-led Festival of Creativity of Design is a special collaboration taking the community on a journey of discovery and exploration within Paisley’s hub of history, Paisley Abbey. The town of Paisley, just a short drive from Glasgow City Centre is bidding for UK City of Culture 2021 and reconnecting with its rich heritage as the hometown of the Paisley Pattern is a big part of that bid.

Festivities began with our preview event, bringing together fashion, lifestyle and textiles bloggers including Urbanity Blog, Mika Kailes, Pink Tartan Doll, The Edinburgh Gent and Dainty Dora to celebrate the event. Bloggers were treated to an exclusive tour of the uncovered pattern collections from Dr Dan Coughlan, textiles curator at the Paisley Art Galleries & Museum. Shortly after a bite to eat from Nosh catering, guests were then led down to the main attraction, Paisley Abbey for workshops and goodie bags from InCube, Invest in Renfrewshire’s new business programme to launch and grow creative retail businesses.

Dr Dan Coughlan at Paisley Museum & Art Galleries.


The driving force behind this festival was down to our key industry speakers, each bringing in their knowledge and expertise within the context of the Paisley pattern. Coming from a number of different creative backgrounds including manufacturing, publishing, trade, education and business, our speakers included:

The speaker and Q&A sessions really got the crowds engaged, inspired and informed about Paisley, it’s heritage and legacy, the importance of collaboration and design and the fundamentals of business. ‘By Friday afternoon I was as ‘high as a kite’ with all the stimulating information.’ – Visitor, PaisleyMake.

Penny Martin, founding editor at The Gentlewoman

Kickin goff the speaker sessions was Penny Martin, founding editor of The Gentlewoman, an all-round aesthetically pleasing magazine for modern women of style and purpose. The publication combines stunning imagery, colour and dialogue. Penny explained the creation of the magazine from start to finish whilst also engaging on a personal level with her audience, portraying her non-conforming attitudes and tiredness of the intrusive nature found in the majority of women’s magazines. For more details of Penny’s talk visit Rebecca Johnstone’s blog here.

The Scotland Re:Designed curated exhibition and shop, gave the people of Paisley the opportunity to see the wealth of creativity in Scotland. The exhibition included Scottish brands and businesses such as Rebecca Torres, Elizabeth Martin Tweed and MYB Textiles with some exhibitors even selling out their collections and creating one-off pieces inspired by the town and the pattern.


As part of the line-up of events, Paisley makers offered workshops within schools in Paisley, inspiring creativity in the next generation of children.

Siobhan Mackenzie hosting a corsage workshop.

The final day of PaisleyMake fell on Renfrewshire Doors Open Day, where over 1,000 people were expected through the doors of Paisley Abbey on that day alone. Our creative workshops were a sell-out hit with Origami making from InCubee, Misty Concepts, Corsage Making from Siobhan MacKenzie Kilts and embroidery workshops from Paisley Thread Mill Museum, a great opportunity to get the community thinking about craft and making. Dyane Lanez, owner of kids knitwear brand Tout Petit UK, took the public on a yarn-storming adventure, as the Paisley 2021 branding was wrapped in the colours of the Paisley 2021 logo.

The community involved in yarn-storming.

PaisleyMake hopes to return to Paisley to offer a platform to showcase the towns heritage and celebrate the Paisley pattern in the one-time centre of the world’s textile industry, whilst supporting the town in it’s Bid for City of Culture 2021. Since the digitisation of the pattern began, PaisleyMake and Renfrewshire Council have geared up several discussions about the future of Paisley including the commercialisation of the pattern, inspiring regeneration projects, attracting tourism and creating jobs through private industry gatherings coinciding with the festival.

Here’s to Paisley! For video footage from the event please subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Have any comments or feedback re PaisleyMake? We’d love to hear. Email