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Interview with Shelly Goldsmith, Textiles Artist

Dew Point, Shelly Goldsmith, 2000

Dew Point, Shelly Goldsmith, 2000

Goldsmith has exhibited at major galleries and museums in Britain, Europe, the USA and Japan. In 2002 she was awarded the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize for textiles.

Her work is in many notable public collections including: the V&A, Nottingham Castle Museum, the Crafts Council and the Whitworth Museum. During 1991 to 2006, she was Head of BA (Hons) and MA Textile Art at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton.

Did you undertake formal training in college or within the industry, or did you find your way into crafts via a different route?

I undertook formal art school training, firstly within the Textiles Department and latterly on my Masters degree within the Fine Art Department at the RCA. I learnt much of the craft and professional practice issues from working with other artists/makers.

1982-1985 BA (Hons) - Textiles. West Surrey College of Art and Design, Farnham.
1985-1987 MA - Tapestry. Royal College of Art
1984 Student placements and professional posts with a variety of studios/makers, such as West Dean Tapestry Studios, Jennie Moncur, William Jefferies, Sally Greaves Lord.

Fragmented Baptism, Shelly Goldsmith, 2003

Fragmented Baptism, Shelly Goldsmith, 2003

Ruminations on a pear shaped organ, Shelly Goldsmith, 2002

Ruminations on a pear shaped organ, Shelly Goldsmith, 2002

How would you describe your work and your position within the Crafts world?

I locate myself on the cusp of craft and fine art. Process and making are very important to me, my work is underpinned by ideas or concepts. The concepts dictate the choice of materials, methods and context in which the work is explored and produced.

What type of materials do you prefer to use?

I use range of materials that are appropriate to the ideas I am exploring at that time and so this necessitates a wide engagement with different approaches and methods. I am interested in the craft of weaving, especially woven tapestry, and stitch related to clothing. I have used materials as far-ranging as silk, wool, glass and coal.

What would you most like to make that you haven't made so far?

I would like to make a piece that extends the use of scale in my work. Generally I tend to work quite small, and I think this is due to lack of concentrated time in the studio over the last few years.  I would like to work on a large installation and/or commission.

Baptism, Shelly Goldsmith, 2003

Baptism, Shelly Goldsmith, 2003

Shelly Goldsmith, Forming Vapour, 2005. Photography: Andra Nelki

Shelly Goldsmith, Forming Vapour, 2005. Photography: Andra Nelki

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