Shirley Craven (b.1934) British Textile Designer

Five, furnishing fabric by Shirley Craven
Five, furnishing fabric by Shirley Craven

Shirley Craven (b.1934) was a British textile designer.

Education

Between 1955 and 1958, she studied painting, sculpture, and textile design at Kingston upon Hull and the Royal College of Art, London.

Shape furnishing fabric by Shirley Craven
Shape furnishing fabric by Shirley Craven (V&A)

Biography

From 1960, as a consultant designer, she executed designs for printed fabrics produced by Hull Traders. In 1963, she joined Hull Traders as chief designer and a director of the progressive business. The company produced a wide variety of vibrant, contemporary designs, taking advantage of the flexibility provided by screen printing. It consistently took home the Council of Industrial Design Award for printed textiles, including one in 1968 for this design. Shirley Craven developed several related designs simultaneously while working directly from sketches, always maintaining a sense of spontaneity and freshness. (Albert Museum, n.d.) 

Craven was a member of the Society of Industrial Artists and Designers (now CSD) and was married to the designer Bernard Holdoway, (1934โ€“2009). (Shirley Craven | Portraits: Women Designers, n.d.) 

Shirley Craven (b.1934) for Hull Traders Heptad, designed 1959 (invaluable)
Shirley Craven (b.1934) for Hull Traders Heptad, designed 1959 (invaluable)

Style

According to the Textile Society, Craven โ€˜pioneered an aesthetic more akin to painting than textiles, breaking all the rules and โ€˜revolutionising post-war furnishings with her dramatic, unconventional large-scale designsโ€™. Her bold patterns and colours were commercially successful, capturing the style of the swinging sixties and receiving critical acclaim.  (Shirley Cravenโ€ฏ: Messums London, 2020) 

Recognition

She received awards from the Council of Industrial Design (fabrics by Hull Traders), including for Le Bosquet in 1961; Division, Sixty-Three, and Shape in 1964; and Simple Solar and Five in 1968. (Byars, 2004) 

Sources

Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

Albert Museum, V. A. (n.d.). Five | Shirley Craven | V&A Explore The Collections. Victoria and Albert Museum: Explore the Collections. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O17412/five-furnishing-fabric-shirley-craven/

Shirley Cravenโ€ฏ: Messums London. (2020, March 31). Messums London. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://messumslondon.com/artists/shirley-craven/

Shirley Craven | Portraits: Women Designers. (n.d.). Shirley Craven | Portraits: Women Designers. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/womendesignersportraits/2015/11/10/shirley-craven/

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