Tributes were paid to an inspiring artist, teacher and founding member of the Fishguard Arts Society (FAS) who died last month.
Audrey Walker was born in 1928 in Workington, Cumbria. She attended the Edinburgh College of Art from 1944 to 1948 and obtained a degree in art, specializing in painting.
From 1948 to 1951 she studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, again specializing in painting, and taught drawing and painting in schools and at Whitelands College.
However, in 1961, she radically changed her own artistic practice and began to work in textiles.
Speaking to the Western Telegraph in 2007, she said she was inspired by the accidental sight of an exhibition of textile collages and also by the work produced by the students she taught at a large comprehensive school in London.
“Some of the kids did wonderful things with textiles. It opened my eyes and I realized that painting doesn’t have to be the path to art,” she said.
“Then I accidentally saw a textile collage exhibition. It stopped me dead. I thought ‘this is amazing.’ I just started collage and then I got hooked. I love it. that, I like to make surfaces with threads and fibers. ”
Audrey was an influential teacher and for thirteen
years, director of textiles at the prestigious Goldsmiths College, London.
She retired from teaching in 1988 and came to
live in Dinas Cross. She became a founding member of FAS, then a director, as well as one of the creative forces behind Fishguard’s famous Last Invasion Tapestry and more recently the Pembrokeshire banner.
She was well known for her technique of combining hand and machine embroidery with layers of fabrics to create a rich surface.
His work became more figurative later in life. She said she was inspired by “passing moments, looks and encounters as well as narrative themes” and has often based her work on observation, memories and myths.
In 2007, Audrey was the first textile artist to win the Sotheby’s Prize, saying at the time that “it delighted her” to be chosen.
Sotheby’s then bought and donated its Lot’s Wife piece to the Victoria and Albert Museum. In addition to the V&A, his work is included in many prestigious collections including that of the Crafts Council and private collections in Japan, America, Australia and Europe.
“Audrey was a highly regarded and admired artist within society,” said Gaynor MacMorrin of FAS. “It is with great regret that we learned of his passing.
“There will be a celebration of his life and work when circumstances permit.”