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The Christine Risley Award winners

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A purchase prize for outstanding art textile work by a graduating artist is made annually by Goldsmiths Textile Collection and Constance Howard Gallery in partnership with Twisted Thread, instigated by the generous bequest of Christine Risley.

The first Christine Risley Award was given in 2005 to Naoki Hamaguchi ('Stitching'), in 2007 to Linda Litchfield's ('Hunter' and 'Innocence') in 2008 to Paul Dearman for his work 'To the End', an image of Constance Howard as Britannia, and to Susie Vickery for 'On the Melancholy of tailors' in 2009.

2014 Award Winner

The 2014 Christine Risley Award was awarded to BA (Hons) Fine Art and History of Art graduate Sophia Freeman. The judging panel agreed that her works demonstrate a sensual engagement with materials in a way which considers a tactile relationship between object and viewer.

Dealing with subtle transitions and shifts in materiality, Sophia Freeman likens her sculptural pieces to an image in the opening scenes of Claire Denis’s film ‘Trouble Every Day’, where the surface of the river Seine temporarily engulfs the screen.

‘As Saige Walton (2013) argues, during this brief moment the water is presented to us “as if it were a moving textile”. She notes that as the dissolves continue, the image retreats, revealing bridges and street lighting - thus locating the restless screen of fabric horizontally, the material texture implied by fabric subtly shifts to the substance of water’. Sophia Freeman (2014).

In the same way that Denis creates slippages between perceived image and actual substance, Sophia uses the process of casting to subvert the material identity of her sculptures. Latex is used as a skin within which to create plaster objects. These are then re-cast. Through a process of twisting and manipulating the mould, the backs of the original plaster pieces are revealed, allowing the soft folds of the front of the sculptures to take on a dynamic fluidity which gravity originally defied. The treatment of the surfaces with car paint further obscures the material of their origin. ‘…the outward appearance is in subtle discord with its brittle physical matter. I indented the ‘twist’ to create an allusion to lightness - as if the sculpture had been delicately posed - again, in dissonance with its materiality’. Sophia Freeman (2014).

The works may evoke visions of dirty mattresses, discarded sleeping bags or contorted bed linen, yet they remain autonomous in their identity. ‘Perhaps it’s because of their “lack” - or failure as definitively recognizable object-world things, that the works invite, as Laura Marks (2010) writes, a “haptic visuality” - a kind of “viewing which draws on other forms of sense experience (...) thus (being) a ‘tactile’ way of seeing and knowing which more directly involves the viewer’s body.”’ Sophia Freeman (2014).

Image: Detail of ‘Untitled (2014)’, Sophia Freeman

2011 Award Winner

The 2011 prize was awarded to Neel Schøbel, Goldsmiths Fine Art BA Hons graduate, for the video works 'A matter of space'.

2010 Award Winner

The 2010 prize was awarded to Goldsmiths graduate Lenka Horakova for 'Ideology' and 'After the Fall'

The award consists of: 

  • A cash prize of £500
  • An exhibition of the successful work in the Constance Howard Gallery and the Knitting and Stitching Show.
  • A further exhibition of new work in the gallery and exhibition at the following year's Knitting and Stitching Show.

About The Christine Risley Award

Christine Risley was a key member of Constance Howard's remarkable department of textile from its beginning in 1948. Christine retired in 1990 and died in 2003. Her special collection of clothes were donated to the Centre to be sold to raise the initial amount to provide a purchasing fund for the CHRRCT Material Collection.

The Centre's collection is based on the development of contemporary textiles through education during the 20th Century and beyond. A broad historical and cultural mix, that incorporates Constance Howard's personal and teaching collection, the collections of her associates and more.

Thanks to generous donations we have now achieved a capital sum and with further donations, the interest from the fund will sustain the award into the future.

If you would like further information about the ' The Christine Risley Award' and its previous recipients, please do not hesitate to contact us.