SOFA Archive: Rozanne Hawksley

Rozanne Hawksley - Queen of Spades - Courtesy of Ruthin Craft Centre
Photographer: Dewi Tannant Lloyd

Rozanne Hawksley was included in SOFA Chicago 2005 alongside friend and fellow textle artist Audrey Walker.

Hawksley speaks of her delight at being included; ‘My work is often considered to be ‘non-categorised’, therefore. I was so pleased to be included in SOFA. I am always proud to be associated with Ruthin Craft Centre, the support and opportunity they have offered me via the profile and experience at SOFA has been fantastic and invaluable’.

Rozanne Hawksley works predominantly in textiles and embroidery. Using found objects alongside textile and stitch she investigates overarching themes of love and loss, war and suffering, isolation and the abuse of power.

Hawksley attended the Royal College of Art during the initiating moments of postmodernism in the early 1950s and became part of the group that included Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon and John Minton, Her years as a mature student and then tutor at Goldsmiths College, in the late 1970s and 1980s, coincided with the period when the textile course there became the unrivalled centre of international influence in the textile arts.

Whilst living in America, Rozanne undertook commissions for Eleanor Roosevelt and the Kennedy family, and also designed for the Womens Home Industries, the post-war project created by Lady Reading. But it was after her return to Britain and a postgraduate course at Goldsmiths College in the 1970s that she began using textiles and needlework as an art form.

Widely acknowledged as having played a significant role in the development of interdisciplinary textile teaching, research and scholarship, her contribution to the ground-breaking 1988 exhibition, The Subversive Stitch, is regarded as seminal. Since the late eighties Rozanne began to attract the attention of critics and collectors alike and her work appeared in shows across Britain and Europe. She has since exhibited annually, showing in Japan, Europe and the United States, as well as throughout the UK.

One of her works, Pale Armistice is in the collection of the Imperial War Museum, a funeral wreath of white gloves with bleached bones nestled among artificial flowers, has become totemic of the death toll of the First World War.

Now in her seventies Hawksley is still a practicing artist. Much of her art, because it is shown as installation, has no permanent existence except in photographs, and many other pieces have never been seen at all.  During the Spring of 2009, Ruthin Craft Centre organised the first touring solo show devoted to Rozanne Hawksley. Entitled Offerings, which later toured to Mission Gallery in Swansea.

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About Kathryn Campbell

Gallery Assistant at Oriel Myrddin Gallery in Carmarthen, Wales UK
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