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Published: 28 March 2020

By Andy Ross

Article of the week - Number Eight

Each week an article from the textile collection is featured. This time it is The Fisherman by Ann Sutton.

In 1955, at the finish of her design studies at Cardiff College of Art, Ann started this piece at home after acquiring a piece of velvet from THE department store in the city: Howells. According to the maker, the velvet was "the best quality. Closely-woven and fine so that it would not flop. I immediately thought it had to be a pair of fisherman's waders!" The rest of the piece followed and it was added to the collection in 2004 when it was part of Ann's retrospective at the Craft Council's gallery in Islington. 

The work features different fabrics - boucle and tweed among them, and this was one of the last pieces Ann created with embroidery as its focus. Shortly afterwards weaving took over. The fisherman is clothed in a jumper made out of tweed with red embroidery lines running through the body, and the same thread indicating cuffs and collar. He sports a flat cap made of a small piece of wool (?) fabric with embroidered patterning and, of course, the now-famous waders. The rest of the picture - two enormous fishes, birds, boats, sea, pier and railings are all decorated with embroidery too. It is a wonderfully evocative piece of 1950s design as you can see from the photographs. (Please forgive the imperfect pictures. The piece is framed in perspex and is difficult to photograph without reflections.)

This picture led to our friendship with Ann Sutton which in turn led to the development of the studio in Yell. Sixty five years old this embroidered piece is still having an impact.