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Dundee designer set to continue family’s West Ward tradition

Kyla demonstrating the pleating process.
Kyla demonstrating the pleating process.

A Dundee designer is set to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps by working at the city’s West Ward Works.

Back in the 1960s, Margaret Fraser was employed as a proofreader at the former printworks.

Two generations later, her London-based granddaughter Kyla McMCallum is returning to the iconic building to hold a workshop on decorative textile folding as part of the Dundee Design Festival.

Kyla said it was a testament to the city’s changing image as it transitions from an industrial economy to a creative hub.

She explained: “There is so much more investment in design now.

“Like many other young people, I moved to London after graduating, because that’s where the opportunities were.

“Now there is so much going on in Scotland and Dundee, especially with the V&A opening soon.

“I’m so excited to be able to hold my workshop in the West Ward Works.

“I recently found out that my gran worked there in the 60s — my family has had ties to Dundee for generations and I was also born here.”

Kyla’s workshop is called Foldability, named after her design company which creates installations and interior products inspired by origami and geometry.

Visitors will be taught how to create complex geometrical shapes on to fabric using cardboard moulds, and will be able to make their own pleated tote bag.

Kyla added: “Pleating is a process most commonly used to create pleats in skirts.

“A lot of people don’t realise it’s done by hand and is a very labour-intensive process.

“I started learning about the process when I started working at a pleating company in London.

“Sadly, a lot of pleating companies are now disappearing.”

As well as fabric, there are many other materials which can be pleated including metal and cork — materials often used by Kyla in her products.

Dundee Design Festival will run from May 25 until May 29.

For more information on the Foldability workshop and Dundee Design festival, log on to http://2017.dundeedesignfestival.com/.

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