Tender grace of thread

Textile art has come a long way, and is today a challenging and vibrant sector of the visual arts. The 62 Group, an artist-led initiative, has played an enormous part for more than 40 years in raising the profile of textile art, and a new exhibition at the Hub in Lincolnshire pays tribute to this collective. Coinciding with the bicentenary year of Lord Alfred Tennyson’s birth, Bending the Line: Textile Art by the 62 Group includes nearly 60 new works by more than 40 artists, with some inspired by lines from Tennyson’s poems. The exhibition paints ‘a fascinating portrait of contemporary textiles’, according to Melanie Kidd, head of exhibitions
at the Hub. ‘Textile-originated art is continuously evolving in form and concept,’ she says. ‘Textiles today command a unique position that bridges both the commercial and arts sector.’ The work on show over 300m2 ranges from the highly conceptual, such as Colette Dobson’s installation Consumption of Utility, which combines domestic household cleaning objects with intricate stitch, to more traditional examples of embroidery, screenprinting and weaving. Audrey Walker, Helen Weston and Tilleke Schwarz are among the well-known artists on show. In addition to referring to lines borrowed from Tennyson’s work, Bending the Line reflects the manner in which artists have ‘bent’ their work in whatever way they wanted, blurring the boundaries between disciplines and obscuring expectations of what textile-originated art can be, says Kidd. ‘The exhibition draws on the tradition and diversity of textile practice and presents fresh ideas and new interpretations of textile processes.’

Bending the Line: Textile Art by the 62 Group opens at the Hub: National Centre for Craft & Design, Navigation Wharf, Carre Street,
Sleaford, Lincolnshire on 11 July

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