www.nadfas.org.ukNADFAS REVIEW / SUMMER201033JEAN MUIR ARCHIVEMuir was a long-term supporter ofNational Museums Scotland - shebecame a member of the fundraisingcommittee of the Museum of Scotlandin Edinburgh and is acknowledged as aFounder on the founders' stone. In2008, the National Museum of Scotlandin Edinburgh held an exhibition entitledJean Muir: A Fashion Icon, whichtransferred to the National Museum ofCostume in Dumfries in 2009. Theexhibition featured highlights from thecollection and celebrated the life andwork of the designer. Because thearchive is such an important resource,National Museums Scotland isconsidering the potential for long-termpublic display. Until then, the collectionis available to study groups, and thanksto the efforts of the Edinburgh DFASHeritage Volunteers and those atNational Museums Scotland, Muir'slegacy will be available for examinationfor many years to come. Clockwise fromtop:OriginalsketchesdemonstrateMuir's love ofcolour; theNADFAS HeritageVolunteers atwork; blue mattejersey withabstract print(Jean Muir Ltd1980s); floralprint viscosechiffon dress(Jean Muir Ltd,1979)Born in London in 1928, Jean Muirstarted in fashion in 1950 when she gota job as junior stockroom assistant forthe Young Liberty section at Liberty ofLondon. From this she went on todesign for Jaeger and Jane & Jane. In1966, she set up the Jean Muir label.Muir's name is perhaps most commonlyassociated with the 1960s, though hercompany continued to producecollections after her death from breastcancer in 1995 until 2007, shortly afterits 40th anniversary.Muir's garments were famed for theirelegance and timeless style. Theyappeared to be extremely simple, but infact they were made with strict attentionto detail and an emphasis on technicalexcellence. The desgner calledit"engineering with cloth" and fansincluded Lauren Bacall, Barbra Streisandand Joanna Lumley. Muir's work was heavily influencedby her grandfather's Scottish heritage.Her knitwear was created in Scotlandfrom the finest cashmere and lambswooland she used Scottish craftspeoplethroughout her career. Her collectionswere often influenced by nature and thiswould be reflected in the colourpalette -she was something of aperfectionist on this point and workedclosely with suppliers to achieve theexact shade she was after. Her fabrics,too, were carefully chosen: she favouredmatte jersey, wool crepe, suede, leatherand knitwear, embellished with detailssuch as pin-tucking, top-stitching andhandmade buttons."I have been surprised at the amount of colour she used. In fact, in the 1970s she used an extraordinaryrange of colours. My revelation wasseeing the designs that were made forthe Australian Bicentennial in 1988,inspired by the Great Barrier Reef -those were extraordinary, really creative,"comments Midge.
34NADFAS REVIEW / SUMMER 2010www.nadfas.org.ukAbove:Calligraphicstoneware artistLaurenceMcGowan atwork. One of hisfinished platescan be seenoppositeThe coordinators looking after thenumerous disciplines at the 32ndArt in Actionin July are vocalwhen asked about the 300 artists,craftspeople, lecturers and teacherswho have been booked to demonstratetheir genius to a watching public. The24,000 visitors to this annual four-dayevent at Waterperry, near Oxford, canexpect to see people of immense talentemploying traditional and ground-breaking skills to create work of greatbeauty and appeal. Heirlooms of thefuture? Definitely.In Sculpture, organiser JoannaMigdal points to the timeless formsThehumantouchWatching talentedcraftspeople create theheirlooms of the future is onlypart of what makessummer'sArt in Actioneventsospecial. Shirley Burchasks the art coordinatorsfrom each sector to talk usthrough this year's highlightsembodying beauty and stillness createdby American sculptor Ginger Gilmour,whose Olympic-inspired Flame of theSpiritcurrently captivates travellersdeparting from Terminal 5 at HeathrowAirport as part of BAA's Expo initiativefor international artists. Joanna says:"Ginger is wonderful and this project is areal coup. She has put beauty first in herlife and she has stayed true to thatalways." A website browse of GingerGilmour's Gallery (www.gingerart.net)reveals a galaxy of extraordinarilyelegant and fluid forms portrayingemotions, movement and space. Gingerterms her work "the art of living beauty". ART IN ACTION