William Clark & Sons

The Company

William Clark & Sons is Ireland’s oldest surviving linen mill having established in 1736.

They are the last commercial beetlers in the world; a historic mechanical process involving the pounding of linen to develop a beautiful, character sheen.

R&D Focus

We intend to explore eco and sustainable products that will add inherent stain-resistant properties to William Clark’s beetled linen while retaining the historic nature of this captivating process, opening up end uses to new markets spanning fashion, accessories and interiors.

The project will launch in autumn 2021.

Partners
  • University of Leeds
  • UAL: University of the Arts London

Team

Trish Belford

R&D Project Lead

UAL

Trish has 36 years’ experience in Industry and Research, with a background in printed textile design and collaborative research. Initially Co-Founded and Director of Belford Prints (1986 – 2004), an innovative textile printing company servicing the fashion and textile industry. In 2004 Trish relocated back to Northern Ireland as Senior Research Fellow at Ulster University. Collaborating with architect Professor Ruth Morrow, Tactility Factory was formed infusing textiles and concrete to create hybrid tactile surfaces. Trish has been successful in receiving two Leverhulme project grants researching the archives of Turnbull Designs and Belford Prints, analysing prints and processes to create new design material developments. A notable Heritage Lottery-funded project was reviving and restoring 1600 unique damask design glass plates, rescued from the deceased William Liddell Company, once a global Northern Ireland weaving company. Core competencies and skills include;

  • Strategic planning, blending process and development
  • Archival research 
  • Technical research and problem solving 

 

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John Gleeson

R&D Project Lead

UAL

John is managing the beetling engineering project at William Clark & Sons. He has nearly 40 years of experience installing, commissioning and maintaining all textiles machinery. He is based in Ireland but has worked on projects worldwide, from New Zealand to Peru. John was an apprentice at the Derby Nyla in Long Eaton and attended the People’s College in Nottingham. John worked as a service and Installation Technician for Eaton Engineering before setting up John Gleeson Engineering Ltd over 20 years ago. He is helping William Clark & Sons to move their beetling machinery to their new premises for the R&D work.

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Duncan Neil

R&D Company Lead

William Clark & Sons

Duncan Neil is the Creative Director at William Clark. He graduated from the University of Dundee in 2004 with a degree in Printed Textiles, going on to work in menswear print design followed by digital design and production at the Centre for Advanced Textiles (Glasgow School of Art) and Interface Research Centre at Ulster University. Duncan took the post of Digital Manager with Turnbull Prints in 2011, overseeing a high-speed digital production unit before joining William Clark in 2016 to launch Earthed, a brand celebrating our relationship with the natural world and forging a new future for Irish Linen. The BFTT project forms part of William Clark’s wider shift to more sustainable methods of finishing.

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Prof Mohammad Mahbubul Hassan

R&D Academic Mentor

UAL

Mohammad Mahbubul Hassan is a material scientist with 24 years of academic and industrial research experience in sustainable textile and polymeric materials development. He completed his PhD in Textile Chemistry in 1999 at the University of Manchester under a British Commonwealth scholarship. Previously, he worked as a senior scientist in the Bioproduct and Fibre Technology Team of the New Zealand Pastoral Agricultural Research Institute for 18 years and as a lecturer at Yamagata University for two years. His expertise is in the following areas:

  • Sustainable textiles and biodegradable polymeric materials
  • Eco-friendly multi-functional textiles
  • Smart, healthcare and cosmetotextiles
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Black and white image of Jane Harris

Prof Jane Harris

R&D Academic Mentor

UAL

Jane draws upon over 25 years experience in transdisciplinary research, with a background in textile design and extensive experience of computer graphic imaging.  Jane’s role includes working with internal and external stakeholders including industry partners, up to Government Ministerial level.

Jane devised novel approaches to the digital representation of dress and textiles. With a track record of leading collaborative industry and academic research and development initiatives, involving cross disciplinary creative industry practitioners. Jane’s experience includes board-level representation in sector-leading organisations such as the Victoria & Albert Museum and advisory roles for the EU, EPSRC, AHRC, ACE and Arts Foundation. She is Director of Research and Innovation (Stratford) and Professor of Digital Design & Innovation at University of the Arts London. Core skills and competences include:

  • Strategic leadership and project direction
  • Design research in digital and material cultures
  • CGI for fashion and textiles
  • Knowledge Exchange

 

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