RepositoryUniversity Archives and Special Collections Centre
TitleBarbara Sawyer Archive
DescriptionThe archive comprises weave samples, designs on paper, works on paper, sketchbooks, notebooks and resources relating to Sawyer’s teaching. It also contains industrial ephemera and published material relating to textile production.
CreatorBarbara Sawyer
Individual or organisational biographyBarbara Sawyer (1919-1982) was a textile artist and weaver. Sawyer lived and worked for most of her life in London and Kent.

Sawyer studied full-time at the Birmingham College of Art and took short courses at Ethel Mairet’s Gospels Workshop in Ditchling. After studying, Sawyer turned to teaching textiles. She taught weaving full-time at Hastings School of Art (1943-5) and at Hull School of Art (1945-7). She then taught part-time at Blackburn Technical College (1948-50) and on many weaving summer schools at Loughborough, Barry, and Glamorgan throughout the 1950s. In 1950 she joined the textile department at Camberwell School of Art & Craft on a part-time basis. By the 1970s she had rose to the position of Associate Lecturer and became more involved in creating the textile course curriculum. Sawyer continued to work at Camberwell until her death in 1982.

Sawyer’s artistic practice and contribution to the craft of fine weaving remains unsung in many accounts. However, she did receive the Gold Medal for Textile Design at Manchester in 1948.
Sawyer is best known for her woven raffia placemats, several of which are in the V&A Museum collection. She is also known through her working relationship with Peter Collingwood, who is regarded as a master weaver/pre-eminent weaver. Sawyer shared a studio with Collingwood in her later life.
TermTeaching materials
Textile arts
Design education
Textile industry
Design (research)
Extent326 Items (89 Boxes)
Access ConditionsThe University Archives and Special Collections Centre is open Monday - Friday 1-4 pm. It is advisable to book an appointment in advance. Part of the Barbara Sawyer Archive is digitised on the UAL Digital Collections site at:
Custodial HistoryAfter Sawyer’s death in 1982, it is believed the contents of her office was given to Camberwell College of Art and Design for use as a teaching collection under the auspices of Graham Smith (previously part Camberwell Textile Department). It was intended for use on the BA Conservation Organic Materials course. In 2017, Camberwell College stopped offering courses in Conservation and so the Collection was transferred to the Archives and Special Collections Centre at London College of Communications along with several other collections.
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