Sunday, 23 February 2014

Artist Textiles at the Fashion and Textile Museum

As I arrived in London on a drizzly, grey day during a tube strike I had to content myself with wandering from Victoria coach station to Buckingham Palace in the rain to pass the time before heading to Peckham for the preview of Traces. The Friday was another story as I was on my own for the day so took the opportunity to be a shameless tourist and walk around leisurely whilst gawping at things. My first stop was the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey, founded by the kaleidoscopic Zandra Rhodes. Situated in the former textile manufacturing district, just a short walk from the Shard and London Bridge station, it's a small but perfectly formed museum that has a changing programme of exhibitions focusing on (you might have guessed) fashion, textiles and jewellery.

 The Artist Textiles exhibition looks at the forays of 20th Century artists into textile design, covering impostant movements such as cubism, pop art, fauvism and surrealism, and featuring work by Picasso, Warhol, Delaunay, Chagall and MirĂ³, as well as many others.

For some artists the foray into textile design was a political one, an attempt to make their work relevant to 'ordinary' people, following on from William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. The role of art in the everyday, including fashion, was a central tenet Russian Constructivists.
A textile design and two dresses in it by Liubov Popova.
Constructivist sports wear by Varvara Stepanova.
Lancashire label Horrockses commissioned painters Graham Sutherland and Alastair Morton to create prints for their iconic range of cotton dresses, as worn by celebs and royalty alike.

 Those pockets!
And this print in those colours! I had to work very hard to stop myself from stroking everything.

Over the pond Fuller Fabrics were collaborating with the biggest names of the day to create new textile designs and sell 'Art by the Yard' for the mass market. The collaboration between Fuller and Picasso was a huge success, but my favourite designs from this enterprise were those by Joan Miro because, well, chicken fabric!
Farmers Dinner by Joan Miro for Fuller Fabrics.
 Who wouldn't want a chicken dress? Who wouldn't want two chicken dresses in different colours?
I've been harbouring two different fabrics with an all over stag print for years, I really have no excuse not to make myself a couple of lovely frocks in them now.

I could go on and on about the whole exhibition, it was so full of colour and humour and movement, but I'm not sure I have enough sensible words to describe it all so I'll leave the rest of the pictures with you, enjoy!

I can't remember who this was but it reminded me of those pictures you could make by colouring in with pencil crayons then covering it in black wax crayon and scraping away to reveal the colours underneath. A bonfire night staple at my primary school.
Put me in mind of Lush Designs.
Gossips by Virginia Lee Burton.
Princesses by Ben Nicholson.
Exotic by Alec Walker.
Cyclades (I think, my photo was very fuzzy) by Donald Hamilton Walker.
Fawley by John Piper.
Chiesa de la Salute by John Piper.
I LOVE this. I'm pretty sure it's a Saul Steinberg design.
And this is Steinberg too, it's called Arab Town.

Pablo doing his thing.
I wish I could remember who this was by, it's beautiful.
Next stop, the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich...


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

  2. Ohh great post, I ended up in the FTM on Saturday! I loved the Picasso pieces and the Micheal Vertes scarves. Did you see thee Sarah Campbell room? it was awesome to see her process documented like that!

    1. I wandered in to the Sarah Campbell room but it was busy with what looked like a school trip and I wasn't sure if I was intruding so I didn't linger! What I did see was fascinating though, and I've been lusting after the Collier-Campbell Archive book for a while, it looks incredible, so much colour and joy in all their work.


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