• 22 February 2019
  • 1:00 – 2:00 pm
  • Light lunch provided, free booking essential.
  • Seminar Room , Paul Mellon Centre

Following the Late Arts and Crafts Movement and Bloomsbury’s short-lived Omega workshops, there developed a number of experimental gallery/shop hybrids in 1920s London that were run almost exclusively by women. These environments provided essential spaces for a pioneering generation of professional craftswomen and designers to develop experimental ‘handiworks’, to cultivate creative networks and sell their materials to an upper-middle class clientele.

This paper will reveal the materiality of one specific shop and its pivotal role in supporting and facilitating block-printed modern textiles produced by a small genealogy of women who were creating dynamic abstract patterns with natural dying techniques. From 1928 to 1940 Muriel Rose and Peggy Turnbull’s The Little Gallery displayed the finest handmade craft and design, regularly showcasing fabrics made by Phyllis Barron (1890-1964) and Dorothy Larcher (1884-1952), their apprentice Enid Marx (1902-1998) and woven textiles by Ethel Mairet (1872-1952). In a close affective reading of their haptic experiments with printing, colour creation, and abstracted motifs (eulogised contemporaneously by Roger Fry as ‘magic’ practices) this discourse fundamentally seeks to unpick the complex synthesis of modern aesthetics and traditional processes at play in emergent modernist visual cultures, whist contextualising the display of contemporary design made by women in the cultural climate of Interwar Britain.

Image caption: 2001.1.143: Barron and Larcher sample book page

© Crafts Study Centre, University for the Creative Arts.

About the speaker

  • Head shot of woman in archive environment

    Lotte Crawford is currently researching Enid Marx's Interwar textiles for her PhD at Coventry University (2017-2020) and in association with the Warwickshire gallery Compton Verney. Originally she studied Illustration at Kingston University (2008-2011), and for an MA in the History of Art at University College London (2014-15). She has lectured on the History of Art and Design at Manchester Metropolitan, Kingston University, University of the Creative Arts: Farnham and the Royal College of Art. Her focus of historical enquiry is concerned with the significance and legacy of women artist/designers working within the British avant-garde and modernist cultures of the early Twentieth Century.