Cloths of Gold
Contemporary Applied Arts is an organisation which has enabled generations of characterful and often wilful individuals to practice their various arts. British textile artists are pre-eminent in their ability to link innovation, perception and craftsmanship, but that talent would have gone unrecognised without a sympathetic retail outlet and an adventurous and supportive exhibition policy.
Fifty years ago there were not many makers and very few opportunities for selli8ng and exhibiting work: the British Crafts Centre was there, in Hay Hill, bravely selling work of a high standard. Textiles then were functional: rugs, table mats, tweed lengths, block printed cushions.
The move to Earlhan Street, with its larger wall spaces coincided with the emergence of the wall-hung textile, and showed the passing world how good these could look in the new larger living and corporate spaces.
As Contemporary Applied Arts, the re-location in Percy Street with its purpose-designed and well lit exhibition and display spaces heralded a new age of sophistication in textiles.
This celebratory exhibition is one of only a handful in the history of Contemporary Applied Arts where makers have had restrictions placed upon them: as curator I have asked the invited exhibiters to make a special piece for this special show in the form of a strip, up to 30cm wide and measuring 2 meters long. And it must include the colour gold. The techniques will include knitting, stitching, weaving, dyeing, printing, braiding… and some inventions. The result may be scarves, hangings, banners braids… who knows? We have invited many current members, of course, and we have also invited a number of non-members, a few of whom were members during those early days at Herne Hill. These include Archie Brennan, Noel Dyrenforth, Tadek Beutlich and myself (to be known inevitably as Golden Oldies)
Ann Sutton 1998
- CAA Exhibitions