Audrey Walker was an accomplished textile artist, embroiderer and teacher, who was active in the 1970s and 1980s in the United Kingdom. Walker became known for developing an innovative style of embroidery based on fine threads applied by machine and by hand, to create striking figurative wall-hung works of art. Walker described her work as evolving from fairly fluid ideas, and the process as being akin to drawing with fabrics. Walker died in November 2020.
Early life and education
An only child, Walker was born to parents Stanley and Jessie Walker in Workington, Cumbria, in 1928. Her secondary education took place at the local grammar school. Her talents and interest in art, encouraged by her school art teacher, led her to pursue studies in art, firstly at Edinburgh College of Art, from 1948 to 1948, and then at The Slade School of Fine Art in London from 1948 to 1951.
After graduating as a prize-winning young artist from The Slade School, Walker progressed to teaching posts in schools, in Leeds and in London. While continuing to teach, she attended embroidery classes at the Embroiderers' Guild, becoming inspired by textiles in British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum.
In the mid-1960s she joined the then ground-breaking assembly of artists the 62 Group of Textile Artists. Her experience of school-teaching prompted her to enter a career in higher education as lecturer in painting at the Whitelands College, Roehampton. Here she was able to experiment to a greater degree with embroidered, stitched, and overlain fabrics. Her works of textile art often resemble portraits and still life. Walker was awarded Member of British Empire for "services to art" in 1993.
Walker's output in the field of textile art is considerable. She advised on the creation of The Last Invasion Tapestry held in Fishguard, Wales, commemorating the last large-scale onslaught on Britain shores by French forces in 1797 and modelled on the Bayeux Tapestry. Her pieces may be found in private collections in Canada, Australia and the UK, and in public museums and galleries in Reading, Leicestershire, Bedfordshire and Kent.
- "Audrey Walker obituary". the Guardian. 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
- Victoria and Albert Museum, Digital Media [email protected] ac uk (2011-01-25). "Interview with Audrey Walker, Embroiderer & Textile Artist". www.vam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2021-03-05.
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