Ethel Mairet (1872 – 1952) British Weaver

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Scarf | Ethel Mairet | V&A
Scarf | Ethel Mairet | V&A

Ethel Mairet (b. Ethel Partridge, 1872โ€“1952), British weaver.

Biography

Between 1903 and 1906, she lived in Ceylon and, from 1906โ€“10, in Chipping Campden, where she had close contact with C.R. Ashbee and his Guild of Handicraft. In 1911โ€“12, she began weaving in Taunton.

In 1918, she moved to Ditchling, Sussex, where she set up her workshop, Gospels. Eric Gill also worked in Ditchling at the time. Gospels became a meeting place for weavers, including Marianne Straub, Margery Kendon, Valentine Kilbride, and, from 1917, Elizabeth Peacock. Mairet sought a fresh educational approach to hand-weaving, and its relationship to power looms. She was particularly knowledgeable about vegetable dyes. The acknowledged leader of the hand-weaving revival in England, she had a keen colour sense. Gospels produced colours hand-woven goods known for their excellent hang, drape, and harmonious colours. A prolific writer, her books included The Dipavamsa and Mahavamsa and their Historical Development in Ceylon (1908) by E.M. Coomaraswamy (afterwords by Ethel Mairet), The Future of Dyeing, or The Conflict Between Science and Art in the Making of Colour (1915), A Book on Vegetable Dyes (1916), An Essay on Crafts and Obedience (1918) with husband Philip A. Mairet, Vegetable Dyes (1931), Hand-Weaving Today, Traditions and Changes (1939), Hand Weaving and Education (1942), and Handweaving Notes for Teachers (1949).

Exhibitions

In 1938, elected Royal Designer for Industry. Her weavings were included in the 1979-80 “Thirties’ exhibition at the Hayward Gallery, London.

Sources

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

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