Learning Index >> Pioneers and their practice: a reference guide

Textiles >> Susan Bosence (1913-1996)
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Born in Luton, Bedfordshire, Susan Bosence became connected with the crafts at Dartington Hall School, Devon in 1939, where she worked as the headmaster's secretary. Here she was introduced to Barron and Larcher's hand-blockprinted textiles by the Elmhirsts, the owners of the Dartington Estate.

Bosence married and raised a family at Dartington, and began producing printed and dyed fabrics for domestic use. In 1950, aged 37, a visit to Phyllis Barron* and Dorothy Larcher* provided great encouragement. Her earliest experiments were in resist-dyed cotton, using indigo. Her printed designs developed from simple block patterns to combinations of resist and print, always abstract and on a variety of cotton grounds.

In the 1960s Susan Bosence ran a class in printing and dyeing at the Adult Education Centre, Dartington. In 1966, she moved to Oxenham Farm, Sigford, Devon where she converted outbuildings into a print workshop with indigo vat. Her solo exhibition at the Ceylon Tea Centre, London (1961) had brought many orders and invitations to teach and these defined the pattern of her life for the next 15 years. As well as making textiles, Bosence was a visiting tutor at Camberwell and West Surrey colleges of art. Her book Hand Block Printing and Resist Dyeing was published in 1985 and she continued working and exhibiting until the early 1990s.

*Denotes included in the Crafts Study Centre Collection

(All prints are by linoblock unless otherwise stated.)



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