“Material Pleasures”

The Fabric Workshop at ICA

The Fabric Workshop has, since it began two years ago, invited over forty artists from across the country to experiment with fabric silkscreening. Work produced during 17 of those residencies was the subject of ICA’s “Material Pleasures” exhibition. In many ways, the Fabric Workshop is set up along the utopian lines initiated by Ruskin and Morris during the arts and crafts movement of the late 19th century and, while it lacks the socialist fervor of that movement, it is similarly concerned with the elevation of taste in consumer commodities. As described in the “Material Pleasures” catalogue, the workshop’s purpose is “to act as a catalyst in the creation of new patterns and forms for the fabric of the future,” a stance which also recalls the idealism of Roger Fry’s Omega Workshops where the likes of Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell pitched in to raise Britain’s level of discernment in domestic

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