Sunday, January 15, 2017

Tadek Beutlich: an upcoming exhibition this Spring

Tadek Beutlich was an extraordinary weaver of bright constructions, and also a printmaker.  I mentioned his work in a Ragged Cloth Café post, and Liz Hankins, daughter of his assistant got in touch with me then, and again now to let me know of an upcoming exhibition and opportunity to buy his work.

The exhibition will be on from 3 - 12 March this year at The Jointure Studios, 11 South Street, Ditchling, Sussex BN6 8UQ - more information from the Emma Mason Gallery.
From Liz Hankins' email to me:
My mother Fay was assistant to Tadek in his Ditchling studio at Gospels (formerly Ethel Mairet's home and studio) and I had a few of his textiles come to me at my pop up gallery (Vision Gallery) about 6 yrs ago, which I sold, hence his widow Ellen Beutlich asking me to help find homes for the remainder of his studio works.when Tadek died in 2011.

The upshot of it all is that I have identified and catalogued all his works and taken on print specialists Emma Mason Gallery,fortunately based in Eastbourne to sell Tadek's prints and I am delighted that the V&A are taking some more textiles and prints to add to the ones they already hold by Tadek. I have found other Collections who will take pieces too, such as Folkestone Creative Foundation and Farnham Craft Study Centre and Ditchling Museum, but a large selection of the remainder will be on exhibition at The Jointure in Ditchling for one week 3rd to 12th March 2017.
Work will be for sale, so apart from being a chance for you to buy an original Beutlich, it is also a chance for admirers of Tadek's textiles and prints to get a closer look at his work before it is dispersed. We will have talks and workshops too including a talk by Fay Hankins about working with Tadek at Gospels and answering any questions.
There is also an exhibition at Ditchling Museum running until mid April with a selection I have given them to show, of Tadek's prints and smaller textiles as well as Ethel Mairet's own annotated copy of her Book of Vegetable Dyes from Gospels, which Ellen Beutlich donated to the Museum.
We would be glad to let as many people know as possible if you could share this on your blog and on Ragged Cloth and with any other groups or artists etc who might be interested, since our exhibition at the Jointure is only open for the one week and so many have been waiting for news of this.
Biography of Tadek Beutlich, 1922 - 2011 from the Emma Mason press release:

Tadeusz Franz Beutlich was born in Lwowek, Poland in 1922 moving to

Poznan in 1930 and it was in Poznan at age 15 that Beutlich started a
foundation course at art school, initially fascinated by painting, sculpture
and stained glass. His studies were halted by the outbreak of the Second World War leading Tadek to join the Second Polish Corps, part of the British 8th Army.
At the end of the war Beutlich was one of forty-nine officers and soldiers
selected to study art at the Rome Students Centre, which in the following
year moved to the UK. Arriving in Britain by ship in 1947, Beutlich took up a government grant offered to all ex-servicemen initially studying painting and drawing at the Sir John Cass Technical Institute.

In 1948 after seeing French tapestry weavers demonstrate weaving at the V&A, Beutlich was inspired to seek out the textile department at his college where he started by weaving small kilims. In Poznan, weaving was still a male profession and it was popular to display the kilims they wove on the walls of houses, including Beutlich’s own family home, which would have a lasting influence on him. Beutlich transferred to study textiles at Camberwell School of Art and Crafts, London where he graduated in 1950.  He subsequently taught at Camberwell from 1951 to 1974.
I was particularly interested to read about his printmaking, about which I had not really known before:
During this time he also experimented with printmaking, making large and very striking relief prints, most printed in the 1960s and 70s building on the early success of his print ‘Fish’ which was awarded second prize in the Giles Bequest Competition when it was exhibited at the V&A in 1956. Beutlich printed his prints by hand, without a press and many were printed for the print publishers, Editions Alecto.
As a student his tutor Barbara Sawyer had taken him to meet the weaver
and dyer Ethel Mairet at her home and workshop, Gospels in Ditchling,
Sussex. Mairet’s use of unusual fibres such as jute and sisal had a great
influence on his work and he also briefly experimented with some of
Mairet’s natural dyes. Some years after Mairet died the trustees of Gospels decided to sell the house and workshop but wanted it to pass to a weaver and they offered it to Beutlich, who moved there with his family in 1967.The space at Gospels gave him the opportunity to work to a larger scale, often making ‘off the loom’ wall hangings.
In1974 he and his family moved to Spain where he discovered new materials such as esparto grass, which enabled him to work without any looms. He and his family moved back to the UK in 1980, where he continuing to develop his work and ideas.


  1. I had not come across Beutlich's work before, Olga. Having read your post, I also googled him - it all looks wonderful. I doubt I will be able to make this exhibition, but look forward to seeing more images if you manage to go. Thank you for this.

    1. I'm not sure if I shall be able to go to the exhibition, but certainly his work is stunning.

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