Marian Clayden: A Dyer’s Journey

25 September 2014

Preston-born Marian Clayden’s career has taken her from the world of textile art to Hollywood and haute couture, and yet she is perhaps better known in the United States (where she lives) than in the UK.

We are delighted to have this opportunity to show work from this influential textile artist and designer in her home town.

A Dyer’s Journey Through Art and Fashion is a retrospective of Marian’s career; charting her development as an artist and celebrating her experiments in dyeing fabrics and fashion design.

The exhibition features eye-popping silk wall hangings, oozing with 1970s appeal and a small selection of her surprising structural works using donkey straps and ropes, all of which are handmade. There are also 38 garments from her 1990s fashion lines, which in themselves are pieces of art made to be worn in motion.

The exhibition will be officially opened on Saturday 27 September at 12pm by the Mayor of Preston, Cllr. Nick Pomfret. Special guests/speakers will include Mary Schoeser, curator of this touring exhibition, and Marian Clayden’s sister, Barbara Coombes.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, textile artist, Glennis Hulme will run FREE tie-dye taster sessions from 12.30pm-4pm on Saturday 27 September at the Harris. Visitors of all ages can have a go at tie-dyeing fabric and Glennis will demonstrate various tie-dyeing techniques throughout the afternoon.

Marian Clayden: A Dyer’s Journey Through Art and Fashion is a touring exhibition curated by Mary Schoeser, and is supported by the Friends of the Harris (Registered Charity 503726)

More information:

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 Notes to editors:

Photographers welcome to the opening on Saturday– please contact us in advance to notify us that you are coming.

Curator Mary Schoeser will be available for interview on Saturday 27 Sept, or telephone/email interview can be arranged.

Media enquiries to:

Sam Mason, Audience Development Officer, [email protected]  call 01772 905427 or
Hilary Machell, Business Development Manager, [email protected], 01772 903619.

About Marian Clayden
Marian Clayden (nee Bolton) was born in Preston in 1937. She studied education at Kesteven College in Lincolnshire and art at Nottingham School of Art. She exhibited paintings at the Harris Museum & Art Gallery on several occasions in the 1950s and taught at primary schools in Nottingham and Chorley from 1957-62, when she emigrated to Australia.
Despite only taking one short dyeing class in college, she began to experiment with dyeing in her kitchen. When she and her family moved to California in 1967, she established her own studio in Los Gatos. Soon she was part of the international fibre art scene.

Clayden first came to attention for her dyed fabrics produced for costumes and sets for the iconic musical Hair in 1970. In an unusual move, she changed direction in the early Eighties exchanging textile hangings for haute-couture. In 1981 she established her label, Clayden Inc. producing hand-made limited edition garments. Her designs were worn by Oprah Winfrey and many Hollywood stars. Having won the Golden Shears Award in 1995, in 2005 she produced her final collection.

More info at

The Harris Museum & Art Gallery welcomes over 215,000 visitors per year to its striking Grade 1 listed building in the heart of Preston to see its collections of fine art, contemporary art, history, ceramics & glass, and fashion & textiles.

Opening hours: Monday 11am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-5pm
Admission is free.

F: HarrisMuseumAndArtGallery
T: @Harrispreston

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