Audrey Walker MBE 1928-2020
Image: Audrey Walker via 62 Group of Textile Artists 2020.
Textile artist Audrey Walker has died, aged 92. Trained as a painter at Edinburgh College of Art (1944-48) and the Slade School of Fine Art (1948-51), Walker started making embroideries a decade later. She taught for thirty-seven years in various schools and colleges – the last thirteen years as Head of Textiles Department, Goldsmiths College, London. She was awarded the MBE for Services to the Arts, especially embroidery in 1993. We share a tribute from Philip Hughes, Director, Ruthin Craft Centre, “As well as being a highly significant textile artist Audrey was also a great enabler. She was a fantastic friend and critical supporter to many artists and makers well beyond the textile world. Audrey will be missed by many people, but especially by those in the textile world where, through her teachings and her work with the 62 Group, she was a pivotal figure.”
Image: The Black Bat Night has Flown (detail), Audrey Walker.
“I was privileged to enjoy Audrey’s company and friendship for over twenty-five years, curating her first solo exhibition at RCC, in 2000 when she was 72, was an honour (and at times a hoot!). Jane Gerrard and I exhibited her work at Collect at the V&A and Sofa Chicago. Her observations of those events became a celebrated piece The Collectors (Temptation) it now resides in the USA collection of Diane and Marc Grainer. In 2018 we marked Ruthin’s long term association with Audrey Walker with a retrospective as she reached the age of ninety. Momentary glances, encounters, inward smiles, the simple pleasures of life have long fascinated the artist, as has the ability of centuries old images to make powerful connections with today. ‘Observations’ traced these interests over five decades of work in thread, stitch and cloth that has been gathered together from public and private collections in the UK and USA.”
Image: Beach Woman (detail) 1996, Audrey Walker. Courtesy of Michael Brennand-Wood.
“We have the legacy of her work and wonderful memories. Audrey enjoyed life, she loved her home and her friends, many of her later pieces were a celebration of that; the joy of food, wine, flowers, and the occasional gin and tonic. Let us all celebrate her life and raise a glass to her, she would certainly approve of that.”Read an interview with Audrey Walker on the V&A’s website.