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Tate Britain British Folk Art Opens This Week: Quilters & Embroiderers Take Delight

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Tate Britain British Folk Art Opens This Week: Quilters & Embroiderers Take Delight

Knotwe

Patchwork Bedcover made by James Williams, Wrexham 1842-52  St Fagans: National Histroy Museum courtesy of The Tate Museum

Patchwork Bedcover made by James Williams, Wrexham 1842-52  St Fagans: National Histroy Museum courtesy of The Tate Museum

This week the Tate Britain's British Folk Art exhibition opens. Fiber enthusiasts are sure to be rewarded with an array of stunning quilts, expressive embroidery, and unusual woven straw figures among many other hand-crafted objects that are more unusual than the expected.  Case in point, intricate quilts made by the hands of convalescing soldiers in the wake of the Crimean War.

Co-curator Jeff McMillan openly discusses in his feature article on the show, Brilliant imperfections that he was originally alittle weary about putting together a show about folk art because of the baggage associated with the term (which I think us fiber folks can understand). To our benefit, he got over it and got right to work searching collections all over the British Isles.

The exhibition covers 300 years. It is not intended as historical survey in fact what's interesting is how McMillan points to more recent exhibitions such as The Encyclopedic Palace at the 2013 Venice Biennale, and the Hayward Gallery's The Alternative Guide to the Universe to name a few that have proven Outsider Art to be popular with audiences. He also  poignantly states that "There is a desire in the air to look beyond the mainstream canon of art history" (let us all hold tighter with glee our Glenn Adamson texts). 

How is the co-curator defining Outsider Art and Folk Art?

"Outsider Art involves a self-taught artist working in a particularly idiosyncratic, highly individual manner, often with motives driven by compulsion, desire or religious fervor."

"A generalization about folk art, however, would be to say it has its origin in tradition. It has been passed down and is therefor representative of a sense of the collective."

Below is a video by artfund.org on the exhibition.

The British Folk Art exhibition will be up until August 31, 2014. To learn more and see Jeff McMillan's article "Brilliant Imperfections" visit http://www.tate.org.uk/

Knotwe wants to put out a special thanks to Lucy Gaster who gave us a heads up on Twitter about this interesting show to see this summer if you are in London.