Organised by Royal Academy
Join us for this weekend course on art and textiles. We cross continents and timeframes as we unpick the history of fabrics and explore the world of cutting-edge contemporary textile art.
Please note: this is an in-person event only
Textiles are one of the most ancient art forms, with the first fabrics being created over 34,000 years ago. Historically, they were also one of the most important, being used for a myriad of reasons: from the practical to the sacred. Great swathes of textiles are found in burial tombs the world over. Throughout history, fabrics have held a unique place as a vehicle for storytelling. Communication across cultures can be traced through trade: the sharing of fabrics and the dissemination of techniques. The study of textiles is the study of conversations – across cultures and across timeframes.
In this ambitious course, a line-up of expert curators and writers weave together the various threads, beginning to embroider key themes and ideas.
The course considers the distinctions between art and craft and what role textiles, fabric and fashion have on the democratisation of art. Recent scholarship has celebrated, rather than undermined, the historically ‘female’ and ‘domestic’ element of textiles – often one of the few making practices assigned to women throughout history. The course addresses the crucial role of textiles in some of Western art’s most famous art movements: from the Renaissance to Modernism; and highlights the importance and significance of fabric art across the globe.
Participants also learn about the exciting world of textile art today, which both celebrates and challenges textile art of the past. We consider some of the world’s leading artists who use fabrics in their works: Sheila Hicks, Cecilia Vicuña, Grayson Perry RA and Yinka Shonibare RA. Textile art today provides a unique opportunity to explore ideas of gender, race and identity; the handmade vs the machine; and the state of the world’s environment.
This weekend course is inspired by the work of the Gee’s Bend quilters such as Mary Lee Bendolph and Martha Jane Pettway, featured in the RA’s exhibition, Souls Grown Deep like the Rivers: Black Artists from the American South. The course also takes place the first weekend of the RA’s Summer Exhibition – so as well as the Gee’s Bend quilts, participants also have the opportunity to see what textile art looks like today.
To create your own quilts inspired by Gee's Bend, sign up for the weekend course Gee’s Bend and Beyond: Improvisational Quiltmaking.
Minimum age 18. If you have any accessibility needs, please contact email@example.com.