New exhibition to mark life of trailblazing teacher

The life and work of a pioneering textile artist, designer and teacher is to be celebrated in the next exhibition at the University of Dundee’s Lamb Gallery.

Marion Stewart taught embroidery and stitched textile design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art for 25 years, inspiring a generation of students.

Born as Marion Gracie in Glasgow in 1931, she studied at the Glasgow School of Art under influential tutor Kathleen Whyte, and taught in Glasgow and at Gray’s School of Art in Aberdeen before coming to Dundee in 1959.

Matthew Jarron, University Museum Curator, said, “As a teacher, Marion was renowned for her formidable work ethic and for pushing her students to their limits, but she was also famous for her great sense of humour. Above all, she was an inspirational teacher and an important role model for professional married women.”

Marion died in 2017 and this exhibition has been curated by two of her former students, Sheila Mortlock and Frances Justice – both successful textile artists in their own right.

“Marion kept in touch with many of her students after graduating, and in 1980 she encouraged the formation of the influential textile group Embryo,” said Sheila.

“It’s no surprise that so many of her students have gone on to forge successful careers in art, design and education. We’re delighted to be paying tribute to her in this exhibition.”

The exhibition features work by Marion and by many of the students who were inspired by her. Much of the material has been loaned by Marion’s family and has never been exhibited in public before.

The exhibition is called Sew: Together – The Legacy of Marion Stewart, and runs in the Lamb Gallery, Tower Building, from 11 May – 20 July. It will be open Mon-Fri 9.30am-7pm, and Sat 1-5pm. Admission is free.