Marian Clayden at Fashion & Textile Museum

passementerieHighly recommend a visit to The Fashion & Textile Museum to see Art Textiles: a celebration of the work of Marian Clayden – a British born citizen who later lived and worked in America.

I was lucky enough to hear an illuminating talk by Mary Schoeser author, curator and textile historian, who brought this colourful character to life. Marian Clayden was a curious and experimental textile artist, a mother, who loved movement and dance. She taught in primary schools and developed educational slide shows revealing her techniques. She showed her work in galleries. She made great innovations in shibori techniques and designed the outfits for the musical Hair.

Taking risks aged 50 and having such talent and vision, her company grew from the kitchen sink into a multi million pound business. Her designs have been worn by Whitney Huston, Meryl Streep and Sigourney Weaver and despite her never seeking fame her business had a cult following.

Clayden traversed many textile possibilities – shibori, dyeing, passementerie, felt making, art fibre pieces, fashion designs, exquisite void velvet (not discharged but woven into delicate patterns costing £100 /metre in the 1980s)  utilising the skills of French craftsmen over two years to revive this technique.

An inspirational show encouraging experiments with everyday objects, for example her use of the sandwich toaster to make dynamic print patterns using pigments.

She also supported the Aid to Artisans charity.

Marian Clayden –  a fascinating textile artist who traversed art, textiles and fashion with innovation  – a global traveller (finding the strength and beauty of donkey straps, a source of inspiration after living in Iran for a year) and evidently  fun to work with as quoted by her assistants. Only on until April 17th.

Cover Version – Group Show – Studio 73

Cover Version poster
Cover Version blueprints by Zoë Burt for Studio 73 group show

I am deeply connected to blue and can’t stop making blueprints – a magical process of camera-less photography. Stairway to Heaven is an all time Ledzeppelin classic from 1971 (the year photos of the earth were first photographed and seen from the moon) the song threads a folkloric tale, otherworldly, connecting heaven and earth. This particular print is also inspired by the Lambeth visionary artist William Blake from a 1793 engraving ‘I want I want” from a tiny book called The Gates of Paradise for children. In an anthropocene age of consumersism this image playfully resounds with the restless human spirit

Sound and Vision by David Bowie contains the lyrics “Blue Blue Electric Blue”… that’s the colour of my room where I will live. Being a Lambeth resident for many moons, I resonant with this tune.. Electric Avenue – a nearby street and the first to get electric light in London; Davis Bowie’s connections to the Brixton area and my love of the colour blue and making cyanotype prints. Blueprinting or cyanotype is an exciting way to create an image using sunlight and water. Cyanobacteria emerged billions of years ago absorbing water molecules from hydrogen and releasing oxygen as a by product thereby conjuring the first life on earth – ultimate blind blue green algae visionaries in a way. Bowie sings ‘waiting for the gift of sound and vision’ – sometimes it flashes down and connects us and inspiration follows….

To order a print, please contact the gallery
Studio 73 website