NAKANO, Emiko (1941-).

NAKANO, Emiko (1941-).
NAKANO, Emiko (1941-). Above: fiberart. Below: textile sculpture, Pagoda series.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Australian Textile Art,by Liz Jeneid.

Australian Textile Art
by Liz Jeneid.

Because Australia was settled by Europeans after the Industrial Revolution, Australia had not developed a tradition of hand crafted objects and also because most of the early settlers came from towns. In the 19th Century and early 20th century there was little textile industry, mainly because of a strong connection with Britain which enabled the importation of cheap printed and woven textiles.
During the depression most textile skills were concentrated on mend and make do ...

Between and after the wars hand spinning and weaving emerged and the first branch of the Handspinners & Weavers Guild was formed in 1922 when imported goods were in short supply. The guild was formally established in 1947.

European design influences reached Australia in the 1950s and when  migrants from Europe arrived after the WW2, they brought their traditional skills with them.

In 1941 Sturt Workshops in Mittagong NSW, was set up by Winifred West , an educator and visionary who later brought out highly trained master weavers from Germany  to set up a studio and  train other weavers.

The Craft Council of Australia, was instrumental in bringing textile artists from other countries to Australia to run workshops and encourage artists here to expand their practice. Sheila Hicks, Yoshida Wada, Archie Brennan were some of the artists brought out to Australia in the 70s. The South Australian Government established the Jam Factory in 1973 which began craft training workshops, galleries, a shop and artist's studios. When the organisation moved in 1991 to another space, textiles and leather workshops were discontinued.

Archie Brennan, the Scottish tapestry weaver who had worked in the Dovecot Tapestry Studio in Scotland was brought out to Australia in the early 70's. The Dovecot Studio was used as a model for the establishment of the Victorian Tapestry workshop in 1976 which was supported by the Victorian Government. The workshop employs trains and employs weavers with an arts training background who collaborate with Australian and overseas artists in the production of the tapestries.

The development of textile courses in art schools started in 1971 and later in Technical Colleges and Universities with art departments.  Sadly  many of these departments are being closed as money is not so available and also because it seems that 'outcomes' from these classes are not so obvious to Governments - so ceramic and textile departments are now few and far between.
Individual artists from Australia who trained in other countries such as Indonesia, Japan and Europe returned bringing back skills which they passed on to other textile practitioners.

A strong tradition of woven baskets exists in Aboriginal communities and their work is being included in contemporary Textile Exhibitions.

Silkscreen and batik techniques have been introduced into Aboriginal communities so that there are beautiful fabrics being produced using their own designs.

There is still a strong textile community in Australia - with some tertiary institutions retaining their textile departments. 

A book by Grace Cochrane 1992 - 'The crafts Movement in Australia - a History ' is a good source of information.

22 September, 2011

Hope this helps

with warm wishes 


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