Behind a small, blue shop front in Horsham, there’s an international fabric designer with Hollywood knocking at the door.
This impressive achievement is mirrored by the equally remarkable story of how beach pebble inspired designs are being sent to the other side of the globe to be made into exclusive creations.
Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery tells these two stories in collaboration with the textile designer, Fran White, using her personal archive of textiles, clothing, illustrations and notes.
In a new exhibition at the museum - Woven Inspiration - Fran uses her archive to explore the creative processes and also to celebrate a Horsham story of quiet, unassuming creativity.
Woven Inspiration shows how a simple pebble can be translated into a textile idea, which is then woven into fabric at Irish, Belgian, and Scottish linen mills.
However, the story doesn’t end there. Fran White textiles have also been developed into a range of clothing, some of which will be shown in the museum’s Costume Gallery.
Musuem curator Jeremy Knight said: “Having unique access to the designer’s archive is an amazing opportunity to see creativity at work.”
Fran White’s own story is also told, as she shows how at an age when most businesses have reached maturity, she went back to ‘school’ and turned her designs into an award winning business.
This built on her previous experience of her fabric hire company that had been used to dress some of the most popular adverts and television series of the last 20 years.
This world came knocking when a recent Keats film used her fabric to dress a set.
Mr Knight added: “Contemporary art can sometimes be seen as abstract and occasionally unintelligible; contemporary design can also give that impression. However, as the exhibition in the museum’s
Art and Craft Gallery shows, Fran White’s designs, though contemporary, are also readily understandable.
“They combine simplicity, structure and palette with quality to produce textiles that are used in clothing, furniture, lampshades and now rugs. Fran is now working with Nepalese craftsmen to have her designs turned into hand knotted rugs.
“The exhibition Woven Inspiration is a unique opportunity to celebrate the work of an unsung textile designer whose unassuming shop in Horsham’s Carfax hides a powerhouse of creativity.’’
‘Woven Inspiration: Fran White Textile Designer’ is now open at Horsham Museum in the Causeway and runs to May 11.