Spotlight: 62 Group of Textile Artists by Jae Maries
The 62 Group of Textile Artists is an artist-led organisation established in 1962 and dedicated to promoting and raising the profile of contemporary textile art. Their ‘raison d’être’ has been, not only to create an environment to encourage the development of their members’ work but also to exhibit annually in prestigious venues. We’re delighted that the Chair of 62 Group, Jae Maries, wanted to contribute to TextileArtist.org and tell us more about their work.
We were founded in 1962 when a small number of embroidery lecturers and recent graduates decided to form a group to meet, exchange ideas and exhibit together. However there were few opportunities to exhibit contemporary embroidery. The division between the Fine Arts and Crafts was much more defined in the 1960’s than it is today and galleries would refuse to consider contemporary embroidery and innovative textile art as a serious art form. The outlook was bleak. Fortunately the Embroiderers’ Guild stepped in and offered a meeting room and exhibition space. The 62 Group of Textile Artists was established.
Very soon the Group grew beyond embroidery as more artists joined who were working in other textile disciplines. That tradition continues today with 50 exhibiting members, including many well-known textile artists, producing high quality work in diverse media and techniques.
Our place within Textile Art
In 2012 we celebrated our 50th anniversary and looking back over the years, we can be justly proud of our influence on textile art since 1962. Education has always been an important part of our ethos and because many of our members hold important teaching and lecturing posts, we have had a major influence in expanding the acceptance of experimental textiles into the general curriculum in schools, colleges and universities. Many members have also written a large number of well-respected books.
Our impressive exhibition record demonstrates perhaps the greatest impact our Group has had on students, teachers and the general public. Many museums and art galleries have hosted our shows over the years, including the National Museum of Wales, Cardiff 1975, the Victoria and Albert Museum, London in 2002.
We have also exhibited abroad in Japan 1984/5 and 1992, Tel Aviv, Israel, 1998 and The Netherlands in 1993 and 2010. In all, 85 exhibitions have been mounted in the past five decades which have reached all corners of the UK and abroad.
The 62 Group today
Our members are based mainly in the UK. University professors and lecturers, teachers and freelance professional textile artists make up the majority of the membership, many of whom have established international reputations and are well known to the Crafts Council.
This vibrant artists’ collective supports its members and encourages them to produce their most creative work by arranging high profile annual exhibitions. There is an annual selection process and innovative textile artists are encouraged to apply.
Our latest book ‘Radical Thread‘ with text written and collated by Professor Lesley Millar M.B.E. describes our development over the past 50 years and explores the roots of the current practice of our members in this context. With stunning illustrations of exhibiting members’ work, it is a valuable reference book for students, teachers, practitioners and the wider public.
Our exhibition programme 2013 – 2014
‘Small Talk’ at Goldsmiths, University of London June 4th – 25th July 2013.
Pink Wood, Bruton, Somerset Arts Week – Sept. 21st – 6th Oct. 2013.
Here we will challenge the boundaries of textile art by exploring the natural environment.
Koyo Gallery, Tokyo, Japan from Dec.10th – Jan. 25th 2014.
It is a tribute to the members’ commitment and energy that that we sustain our reputation as a leader in the world of textile art. Our work, displaying diversity, strength and creativity, continues to define the 62 Group as an important force in innovative contemporary textiles.
For more information please visit our website: www.62group.org.uk
Jae Maries (Chair of the 62 Group of Textile Artists)
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