Crompton, Rebecca

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Crompton, Rebecca

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1895-1947

History

Rebecca Crompton gained a reputation as a teacher of dress design and embroidery in the Croydon School of Art and was remembered for her highly coloured wool embroidered cloths and experimental embroidery technique. Influenced by the work of the Wiener Werkstätte in Austria, whose highly advanced examples of embroidery design were displayed in the first public exhibition of the Embroiderers’ Guild in November 1923, Crompton was also keen on monochromatic schemes and worked some of her most successful embroideries in whites, greys and blacks, using transparent fabrics. She had been fascinated by the possibilities of machine stitching since she had seen some of the remarkable pictures produced at the end of the 19th century on the Singer domestic sewing machine. By the 1930s she was combining machine and hand embroidery to produce her highly individual designs. A pioneer of mixed techniques and fabrics, Crompton utilised raw edges as part of the design process, as seen in this piece from about 1936. Although criticised by traditional embroiderers for her experimentation, Crompton revolutionised many of the previous thoughts on embroidery and dress in the schools of art, stating ‘extreme neatness in design is not necessarily a good thing artistically.’

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