V & A exhibition - British Design Innovations 1948 - 2012

V & A exhibition – British Design Innovations 1948 – 2012 (“Moiré” – middle textile on right hand panel)


This is a collection of my work, which spans the early 50’s to the present day.

Earlier works by my late husband and I from 1951 are held in the People’s History Museum in Manchester, and various private collections throughout the world. Mine include paintings of landscapes and also painted portraits of various people in my life.

In fact, from the early 50’s my husband and art partner Francis Carr became the first artist in the UK, and probably Europe, to recognise and use screen printing as a fine art process. I quickly joined in with him to create hands on limited editions of fine art prints, many of which are represented in major museums and collections in the UK, Australia, and Europe. My husband was probably the first artist to print all his own work by hand, and we both continued to do so throughout the 60’s, and beyond.

I went on to use the process for wall hangings, wallpapers (where I designed for the iconic Cole & Son Ltd.,), textiles, installations and large paintings on canvas. I designed the first new style textile designs for Heals Furnishing Fabrics (see this) for their 1958 range and represented Heals at the Brussels World Fair of that same year.

Seminal fabrics also followed for the then top design companies Textra, Primavera, Turnbull and Stockdale Ltd., and Hull Traders (see right hand column, fourteenth down) and in recognition of my contribution via Hull Traders, my piece “Moiré” was exhibited at the V&A exhibition, ‘British Design 1948–2012: Innovation in the Modern Age’, 31 March – 12 August 2012 and they also hold various pieces of my art works in a variety of media (see here). The Independent newspaper also published an article about the “Jackson Pollock exhibition is at the Tate Gallery, Millbank, London SW1 from 11 March to 6 June 1999”, saying that Pollock inspired a generation of future top designers and artists, including me (see here).

SaraFirmin - General view of the "Library of Strange Books" Swiss Cottage

“Library of Strange Books” Swiss Cottage Library Gallery, London, 1981. Showing: “Stack of Dangerous Books”, “Heap of Scrap Books”, “Nest of Coffee Table Books”

“The Library of Strange Books” took off in the 70’s and has been added to over time. Images are now in The Tate Britain “Ephemera collection”.

“A difficult Book to Read 2” or “Computer Buch” as they called it (click here for bigger image) from the The Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry will be included in the forthcoming anthology of paper works, called “RENEGADE – an international collection of visual poetry, language & book arts”.

Hand made paper and recycling fascinated me, as it was a very basic material that we use in everyday life, with its roots in ancient Japan and China. This prompted the formation of the “Paper Group” in 1986.

Art for health and energy has interested me for a long time, especially the “Human Aura”, and the unseen energy around us on a daily basis. This became the title for an event and exhibition at the ICA, in London, in 1970.

For the last 10 years, my work has spilled across the boundaries of art and science. I follow events at CERN, using the experience from the point of view of a visual artist.

My name is Dorothy Carr. As I became a nationally successful and established designer of fabrics, textiles and wallpaper designs for the top interior design firms of that era, even going on to represent the UK internationally, I later decided to branch out and establish myself as an artist who crossed over boundaries of many disciplines. I needed to have a pseudonym to help me cement that step forward, so I chose my father’s mother’s name, Sarah Firmin; just I made a little mistake, the spelling should be Firman!

Dorothy Carr, AKA Sarah Firmin