Revolutionary Fabrics and Furniture 1957-1980

Shirley Craven and Hull Traders
Revolutionary Fabrics and Furniture 1957-1980
Bankfield Museum, Halifax: 13 March – 9 May 2010
www.hulltraders.co.uk Thanks to Curator Lesley Jackson for the information below
Big bold abstracts in eye-popping colours, Shirley Craven’s extraordinary textiles encapsulate the exuberance of the Swinging Sixties. A major exhibition at Bankfield Museum in Halifax celebrates her remarkable creative partnership with Hull Traders, the local company who printed her designs.
Hull Traders were based at Trawden, near Colne in Lancashire – not in Hull! They were named after Tristram Hull, who founded the company in 1957. Yorkshire-born Shirley Craven was their chief designer and art director for 20 years. She won a string of awards during the 1960s for her remarkable hand screen-printed furnishing fabrics with their giant painterly designs.
Shirley Craven sprang to prominence in 1959 at the age of 25 shortly after leaving the Royal College of Art. Pioneering a style more akin to painting than textiles, she broke all the rules, revolutionising post-war furnishings with her dramatic, unconventional, large-scale designs.
Hull Traders was distinctive from the outset. Its first collection featured designs by the maverick duo, sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi and photographer Nigel Henderson collaborating under the name Hammer Prints.
As Colour and Design Consultant, Shirley Craven was the creative lynchpin of Hull Traders from 1959-1979. She masterminded their entire collection, creating a third of the designs herself, as well as selecting work by emergent artists and designers. Craven’s choices were eclectic, visionary and avant-garde, ranging in style from Abstract Expressionism to Op Art to Pop Art.
In 1966 Hull Traders branched out into furniture with the tomotom range – an icon of the pop era. Designed by Craven’s husband, Bernard Holdaway, tomotom was made of giant cardboard tubes painted in bright colours. Cheap, stylish and fun, tomotom was a runaway success. George Best chose tomotom  for his Manchester fashion boutique in 1967.
Curated by Lesley Jackson, a leading authority on post-war design, this ambitious exhibition is the first devoted to Shirley Craven and Hull Traders. ‘Shirley Craven was a big name on the 60s design scene, but has since been forgotten,’ says Jackson. ‘This exhibition puts her firmly back in the spotlight where she belongs. Hull Traders’ textiles and furniture have an explosive visual impact and will transform people’s perception of post-war design.’
A major new book, Shirley Craven and Hull Traders – Revolutionary Fabrics and Furniture 1957-1980 by Lesley Jackson, is on sale at the exhibition for £20.
For further information about the exhibition and the book, visit www.hulltraders.co.uk
Bankfield Museum
Boothtown Road
Halifax
HX3 6HG
Tel. 01422 352334
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 10-5
Sunday 1.30-4 (Closed Mondays)
Last admission 30 mins before closing
Admission Free
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