Learning Index >> Thirteen Weavers

Introduction >> Background
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In 1972 the Crafts Study Centre first put on a mixed-media, temporary exhibition entitled 'Twentieth Century Craftsmanship', curated by Robin Tanner and held at the Holburne Museum, Bath; this museum was soon to be its first home. The inaugural exhibition featured the work of nine weavers, namely: Rita Beales, Ursula Brock, Peter Collingwood, Ethel Mairet, Barbara Mullins, Gwen Mullins, Elizabeth Peacock, Marianne Straub and Harold Summers. These people were already recognized as the pioneers, standing for an early twentieth-century revival in the hand techniques of spinning yarn from natural fibres, dyeing with vegetable or organic dyestuffs and weaving in relatively small quantities on hand-looms. Some wove rugs and individual hangings, while others produced cloth destined for furnishing, dress or accessories; their weavings were valued for reasons including individuality, simplicity and richness of colour. Increasingly, an appreciation of texture was added to these characteristics so that weaving technique was used to express modern design ideas in both interiors and fashion.

Over the last 30 years the Crafts Study Centre has steadily acquired work (together with certain archive material) by these weavers and others working in the same spirit for its permanent collection. It has also widened the net to include specialisms which were missing and followed links to succeeding generations of weavers. For example, the noted pioneer drawloom weaver in silk, Alice Hindson, is now represented, as is the present-day linen weaver Alison Morton. Students and followers of the first generation include Peter Collingwood and Barbara Sawyer, who were apprentice and assistant respectively to Ethel Mairet, Amelia Uden as a natural successor to Alice Hindson, and Mary Restieaux, a dyer-weaver who was a pupil and close associate of Marianne Straub, a founder-trustee of the Crafts Study Centre who was also formerly a Mairet assistant). Evidence of the influential teachings of the late Ella McLeod, a colleague of Elizabeth Peacock in the 1930s and one-time head of the Textiles Department at Farnham School of Art (now Surrey Institute of Art and Design University College) is apparent today in Geraldine St Aubyn Hubbard's wraps and stoles and in the work of Ann Richards, who was taught by Amelia Uden more recently at the same college.



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