Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1932-1992 Sloane Square (Chelsea)

Textile designer Marianne Straub was born on 23 September 1909 in Amriswil, Thurgau. Her father was a textile merchant. At fifteen she decided to study textiles and in 1928 she entered the Zürich Kunstgewerbeschule. She studied hand-weaving under the tutelage of Heinz Otto Hürlimann, who had studied at the Bauhaus in 1920/1. Seeking power-loom training, Straub found that Swiss textile colleges barred women. Instead, she entered Bradford Technical College for the academic year 1932/3 where she was the only woman attending (the third in the history of the College). She took these skills to Gospels, Ethel Mairet’s hand-weaving studio-workshop in Ditchling, Sussex, where she was introduced to hand-spinning and natural dyeing. In her career as a designer she linked craft with manufacture. Her woven fabrics underpinned the reputation of Tamesa Fabrics (founded in 1964 by Isabel Tisdall, initially operating from a showroom near Sloane Square, and later moving to Kings Road, Chelsea). Ships, planes, trains, London tubes and buses, hospitals, and government buildings contained her cloths. Her design-skills made her sought after as an educational adviser and lecturer. Between 1947 and 1992, she taught part-time at the Central School of Arts and Crafts and at the Royal College of Art. In 1992 she retired to Berlingen, Switzerland, where she died in November 1994.

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