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Alison Morton

Alison Morton was born in Cumbria in 1946 and is descended from the Morton family of the Morton Sundour furnishing textiles firm; she is the fourth generation of the family to be engaged in weaving. She attended Dartington College of Arts, Devon, for a one-year foundation course before studying textiles at Manchester College of Art and Design. After that she began her career as a designer for Meirion Mill, Wales and in 1976, at the age of 30, set up her first solo workshop in Corris, West Wales. Here she produced wool shawls, small blankets and rugs woven from rag strips; the latter were her 'bread and butter' for 20 years and she also gave classes in various rag-rug making techniques in her own workshop and elsewhere.

In 1982 Alison Morton was introduced to flax processing and linen weaving and so began to grow and research flax. Since then she has been using fibre grown in Belgium and processed in Northern Ireland. She has woven on the same two looms throughout her career: a George Wood 16-shaft dobby and a Lervad 8-shaft countermarch Danish loom, dating from the early1930s. The Lervad originally belonged to Ethel Mairet and was acquired by Alison Morton, through Marianne Straub, in the mid-1960s. It was used by Morton for rugs and the dobby is now in regular use for the batch production of table linens and towels.

In 1987 Alison Morton moved her workshop to Machynlleth, West Wales, where she shared a workshop with her partner, a furniture maker, and concentrated on weaving rag rugs for ten years. She moved to a gatehouse in Ludlow, Shropshire, in 1997 and gave up rag rugs (partly for health reasons) to concentrate on household linens which she weaves single-handedly. These are in a variety of textured weaves and plain weave, mostly in undyed yarns with accents of colour such as border stripes and checks.

In 2001 Alison Morton began making Japanese-style unstructured jackets which exploit the simplicity of hand-woven linen and wool. These, in common with all her work, are available through exhibitions, by personal order or from open workshop weekends held in Ludlow.

Alison Morton has been the recipient of several prizes and awards including a Theo Moorman Charitable Trust travel grant which she used to tour Sweden in search of linen textiles in 2000.



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