Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Artist Textiles exhibition - Fashion and Textile Museum

I went to the Fashion and Textile Museum to see the new exhibition which is on until 17 May, Artist Textiles.  It was my first visit to the Museum and I really enjoyed it.  Looking at the development of textile printing in the 20th Century in the UK and USA, it described how textiles were made more available for the consumer through bigger print runs of fabric.  The manufacturers could achieve this by using the artwork of famous artists, such as Salvador Dali, Henri Matisse, Andy Warhol and Pablo Picasso.  Set up over 2 floors, the first part of the exhibition covered the earlier part of the 20th Century and featured scarves and printed fabrics by a variety of artists.  A lot of fabric was on display on wall-mounted boards and some made up into outfits.

On display were fabrics designed by some of the most famous artists in the world, from Picasso, who designed several scarves in the 1950s for altruistic purposes.  Here is a scarf designed for the Berlin Peace Festival of 1951 and was given away to young people and students attending the Festival.
Scarf designed by Picasso for the Berlin Peace Festival

Another scarf was designed for Roland Penrose, the director of the ICA to produce a run of 100 scarves and 100 prints to raise money for the Institute.
Design by Picasso which was made into scarves for the ICA London
Picasso also designed for clothing companies and bizarrely, a range of apres-ski clothes were produced from his design.  Below is a close-up of the fabric used for a culotte jumpsuit!

There was a lot of work by Andy Warhol which was bright and vibrant and had a lot of the fun of the 60s coming across.  Bold designs translated well into skirts, and the use of dressed mannequins brought the exhibition to life.
Andy Warhol Buttons

Andy Warhol Melons

My favourite piece in the whole exhibition was a coat made by Zandra Rhodes and Sylvia Ayton (who had designed through the second half of the 20th Century and was the driving force behind the Wallis brand, which was incredibly influential at that time).  The tailoring was absolutely beautiful.
Coat By Zandra Rhodes and Sylvia Ayton

Coat By Zandra Rhodes and Sylvia Ayton

This was a great exhibition and I found the story of the development of textile design by Modern Masters a fascinating episode in 20th Century Art History.  A full review of the exhibition will be in the June issue of Workshop on the Web.  The Exhibitions section is available to non-subscribers, so just click on the icon on the Homepage.


I also had a great time after I came out.  I went to Borough Market, walked past the Shard and then also managed to find lots of interesting windows and doors to take pictures of.  I think it was the influence of Pam Carriker's book Creating Art at the Speed of Life, where one of the sketchbook pages contains printed pictures of windows and doors.  Since reading that, I have been snapping windows and doors anywhere I come across them.

I also found these great pots!