In response to the current situation, our gallery programme is suspended at this present time. Staff at the gallery are working remotely so continue to use our email: to direct any queries.
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Fold, Twist Bind, Knot:
Transformation and Resistance through Craft

exhibition info


Notes Towards Our Upcoming Programme

Documentation of materials from the archive of Anne Maile. Courtesy of LCF Archives, UAL
Documentation of materials from the archive of Anne Maile. Courtesy of LCF Archives, UAL

During this period of closure the Chelsea Space team will instead post regular updates online of our curatorial research and teaching activities, starting with the postponed exhibition, Fold, Twist, Bind, Knot: Transformation and Resistance through Craft, starting with Anne Maile Archive at London College of Fashion, which will feature as part of exhibition.

Access to this collection was enabled through the work of Jane Holt (former Senior Research Fellow LCF), and Eleanor Foden (former MA Fashion student). In recounting Maile’s biography, Holt emphasised Maile’s background and home life before working as a teacher specialising in tie-dye textiles in the 1960-70s, to underscore her pedagogical approach. The collection contains an abundance of notes and samples made as part of her experimentation with dyeing, as well as an unpublished children’s book that was illustrated by tie-dyed paper characters made by Maile.

Anne Maile attended the Leicester School of Art, where her training included drawing and pictorial design. She specialised in fashion design, winning the Princess of Wales Scholarship awarded to the best female entrant in 1930 for her designs, including the garments themselves. Her art school work reflected her skill in pattern design and figure illustration, an interest Maile retained throughout her career, as seen with the tie-dye garments she designed and wore herself.

After leaving art school in 1931, Maile worked in a Leicester knitwear factory designing clothes and creating Jaquard-type patterns for the knitting machines. This experience of using the grid for the purpose of detailed pattern design, relates to her later interest in the construct of tie-dye pattern and construction. Maile left the factory after three years, when she married and moved to London. Finding herself and her family life disrupted through the war, Maile reignited her interest in textiles by studying textile design at Camberwell School of Art in the early 1950s. As part of the course Maile was encouraged to experiment with Shibori dyeing and other resist dyeing techniques — visiting the collections at the V&A for inspiration. This experience formulated Maile’s pedagogical approach to teaching, which utilised the domestic scale possibilities that tie-dye enabled, and encouraged her children to become involved.

Anne Maile pioneered teaching, illustrating and writing about dye-crafts, going on to publish articles for educational and family magazines and three books, Tie-&-Dye as a Present-Day Craft (1963); Tie-&-Dye Made Easy (1971) and Tie-Dyed Paper (1975). She also developed hands-on instruction for television making a BBC programme for the Serendipity series, the Central Office of Information-sponsored cinemagazine Living Tomorrow and an episode of the ITV children’s programme Magpie.

Link to Eleanor Foden’s post about archiving the Anne Maile collection at LCF:

Link to a segment of the programme Living Tomorrow featuring Anne Maile, at the BFI:




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