Top 5 UK textile art groups
The textile art scene in the UK is thriving! The form is constantly evolving and embracing evermore diverse takes on traditional techniques; contemporary artists are consistently pushing boundaries both conceptually and creatively.
Being part of a group of textile artists offers several advantages to many such innovators; support, inspiration, motivation, as well as more practical benefits like exposure for their work and being part of group exhibitions. Today we take a look at 5 of the top textile art groups operating in the UK.
Prism – Textile Inspired Art
Prism has exhibited yearly in London since it was founded in 1999 by the late Julia Caprara. This group of artists, which includes TextileArtist.org interviews Yumiko Reynolds and Molly Williams, seeks to challenge notions of textiles as domestic, homely and purely decorative, a mission very much in line with our own.
Through creating work that stretches the preconceptions of what fiber art is and showcasing the vast range of techniques and materials being embraced by artists working in mixed media textiles, Prism artists have made a name for themselves as thought-leaders in this field.
Although the group is diverse in terms of the mediums in which they work, the practitioners share the common goal of striving for excellence in the field of fine art textiles and craftsmanship.
Prism’s 2014 exhibition entitled Coded:Decoded (Unravelling the message) is currently being shown at the Mall Galleries in London until 31st of May. It explores the tension between stitch and artform and brings together an eclectic mix of individual and collaborative artwork.
62 Group of Textile Artists
When we launched TextileArtist.org in late 2012, it was with a series of interviews with members of this prolific group of artists. The 62 Group aims to challenge the limits of textile practice through innovation and ambition.
The group is one of the most prestigious in the world, having been established in 1962 by a small number of embroidery lecturers and recent graduates who met regularly to exchange ideas; they were determined that textiles receive wider acceptance as a legitimate medium in the context of fine art. This battle is still being fought today, although the 62 Group have made huge strides in this area and have been instrumental in the wider recognition of textile art.
Some of the most respected and renowned British artists have been members of the 62 Group, and more recently it has opened its doors to international applicants. They have kept the standard of their members consistently high, as artists undergo a rigorous selection procedure before by accepted into the group and then again when submitting work for group exhibitions.
They have around 60 exhibiting members at any one time and, in addition to this, there are currently 16 honorary members (distinguished names in the field of Textiles, such as gallery directors, curators, academics and business people).
Present members of the 62 Group featured on TextileArtist.org include:
For more information visit 62Group.org.uk
Studio 21 Textile Artists
Bringing together an amalgamation of stitch and mixed media, the Studio 21 group of textile artists formed in 1997 with the goal of challenging and extending the boundaries of traditional techniques and expectations within the realm of textiles.
The group seeks to provide support for its members, whilst pushing their artistic limits. Studio 21 exhibits annually in order to promote the work of its members. A structured programme of design and inspirational workshops led by members and a series of ‘Open Studio’ days means that the group is constantly evolving, growing and heading in new directions.
A number of the artists in this group also work as teachers, lecturers and authors, and many are members of the Society of Designer Craftsmen. Here at TextileArtist.org we’ve been lucky enough to interview Studio 21 members Debbie Lyddon, Dawn Thorne and Liz Heywood.
For more about the group visit Studio21TextileArt.co.uk
Art Textiles: Made in Britain
The newest of the groups featured in this article, Art Textiles: Made in Britain, was set up to promote the continuing development of textile art in the UK, with the secondary aim of supporting the British Quilt Museum and Gallery in York. Traditional and contemporary quilts are well-served by the Quilter’s Guild, but the founding members of this group feel that art quilts are yet to find their natural home in the UK, which instigated the formation of Art Textiles.
2014 sees the launch of a biennial exhibition by the group, which will take place at the renowned Festival of Quilts at the NEC in Birmingham. Because the members of the group come from a range of backgrounds and interpretative styles, the show promises to be varied and diverse.
Art Textiles member Cas Holmes has been a regular contributor to TextileArtist.org since it launched; articles by the artist include:
To find out more visit ArtTextilesMadeInBritain.co.uk
Phoenix Contemporary Textile Group
The Phoenix Contemporary Textile Group comprises artists working in a range of media, including cloth, stitch, felt, paint, dye and paper. The group was founded in 1992 and is based in Kingston-upon-Thames, where members meet monthly to discuss current projects and seek and offer inspiration, constructive criticism and advice.
The Phoenix Group encourages members to explore their own unique pathways to creation and express their individuality through their work. In part, this mission is a reaction against the modern world of mass production. The artists believe that by communicating and sharing their passion for textiles, they will highlight the versatility of the medium and promote interest in art created using a combination of traditional and contemporary techniques.
For more information visit PhoenixContemporaryTextiles.com
If you’re part of a textile art group, what does it mean to you? Tell us all about it in the comments section below.