Male Textile Artist Motivations in 1980s Britain
: a practice-based enquiry

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Assumptions exist as to why men make art with textiles, but throughout history men have rarely been asked why they have made this choice. This research uses interviews to investigate male embroiders reasons: their causes, explanations, or justifications for choosing to make art textiles between 1980 and 1989 in Britain. It examines these reasons and combines an exegesis with art practice. This is the written work of a studio practitioner that is illustrated with artworks made during the research period. This study offers an understanding of why an apparently increased number of male artists took up or continued to make art textiles in 1980s Britain. Previous studies on twentieth century art textiles made by men have concerned themselves with the perceptions of textile artifacts within a cultural arena. They have tackled ways of understanding the objects without considering the reasons for men choosing to make them and the context in which these decisions were made.

    British exhibition reviews and catalogues do evidence men as more visible as makers of art textiles in Britain 1980 - 89. However, they do not explain why this should be the case or why some male artists appeared to affirm their commitment to the medium then, which is why the temporal scope of the research is wider than this decade. Academic literature concentrates on art textiles as a therapeutic activity with texts from other countries only nominally discussing men’s reasons. Contemporary studies on this subject have been collapsed into feminist readings of craft and textiles. Recognizing textiles as an art form that is shaped and disrupted by the personal goals or intentions of its makers, this research explores men’s previously unheard voices. The demographic, male embroiderers in 1980s Britain, was selected as a case study for its personal significance and recognition that it was a time of great social change. In this research creative practice functions transcognitively as a process tool and not as an outcome, all findings are in the exegesis.
    Date of Award9 Sept 2018
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorMary Anne Francis (Supervisor), Philippa Lyon (Supervisor) & Patricia Dyer (Supervisor)


    • motivation
    • masculinity
    • gender
    • embroidery
    • textile arts
    • transcognitivity
    • practice-led
    • active documentation
    • 1980s Britain

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