Liss Llewellyn Fine Art - 20th Century British Art

Christine Risley (1926-2003)   BIOGRAPHY

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Town Birds 1954
Framed (ref: 7823)
Signed and titled to reverse
Embroidery
6 1/4 x 4 5/8 in. (16 x 11.8 cm)



 


Exhibited: The Hannover Gallery, 30 nov - 30 dec 1954, no. 41


As a textile artist, Christine Risley was a key member of Constance Howard’s remarkable and innovative department at Goldsmiths.
 
Risley's career started in 1948 after, as a student on the Art Teachers Certificate at Goldsmiths, she attended an exhibition of embroideries and collages produced by Constance Howard’s evening class students. Inspired, she tracked down Howard and began attending one-on-one sessions with her. Soon other students joined the classes, and the Textile Department was born.
 
This support led to Risley teaching Machine Embroidery at Goldsmiths and eventually rising to become Head of the Textile Study area, a position she held until her retirement in 1990. During this time Christine also freelanced, producing wallpapers, photographs, advertising, fabric and illustration; and published numerous books including Machine Embroidery – A Complete Guide, which has remained a seminal volume since it was first printed in 1973. As Jenny Doussan from the Goldsmiths Textile Collection and the Constance Howard Gallery explains “Anyone studying embroidery in the UK would have come across, and been influenced by, Christine’s books.” 

Risley's legacy continues in the form of the Christine Risley Award, a prize given to an outstanding Goldsmiths graduate working in the medium of textiles. For Doussan, this year’s winner Hefin Jones, who produced a spacesuit made by Welsh craftsmen with materials sourced from Wales, continues the spirit of innovation and love for the art that Risley championed throughout her life. 



Christine Risley (1926-2003)

A textile artist, Christine Risley (1926�2003) was a key member of Constance Howard�s remarkable and innovative department of textiles, where she set up the machine embroidery area in the 1960s and published a series of books on embroidery. 

She saw herself as a modern woman, encouraging her students to be adventurous in both work and life. 

Christine�s career started in 1948 after, as a student on the Art Teachers Certificate at Goldsmiths, she attended an exhibition of embroideries and collages produced by Constance Howard�s evening class students. Inspired, she tracked down Howard and began attending one-on-one sessions with her. Soon other students joined the classes, and the Textile Department was born. 

Speaking in 2000, on the 50th anniversary of textiles being taught at Goldsmiths, Risley discussed the influence that Constance�s classes had on her: �For me, it was such a joy to be working with fabric and thread after the constraints of the previous four years� rigid academic training. I felt free to create my own imagery, to be decorative and innovative, and my work became a personal statement rather than a product of rules and regulations. Constance changed the course of my life, not only because I learnt embroidery with her but because she was extremely inspiring and supportive.� 
This support led to Christine teaching Machine Embroidery at Goldsmiths and eventually rising to become Head of the Textile Study area, a position she held until her retirement in 1990. During this time Christine also freelanced, producing wallpapers, photographs, advertising, fabric and illustration; and published numerous books including Machine Embroidery � A Complete Guide, which has remained a seminal volume since it was first printed in 1973. 

*Source Goldsmiths

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