| Malcolm Harrison|
| 3 September 1941Christchurch, New Zealand|
2 November 2007
Auckland, New Zealand
Clothing design, textile art
2004: Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship
Malcolm Harrison Wikipedia
Malcolm Armstrong Harrison (3 September 1941 – 2 November 2007) was a New Zealand clothing designer and textile artist.
Harrison was born in Christchurch in 1941. In the 1960s he worked as a clothing designer in Auckland.
In 1962 Harrison won second prize in the New Zealand Gown of the Year competition with an embroidered and beaded dress called Scheherazade. In the 1970s, he shifted his practice from clothing production to quiltmaking, beginning a successful career as a textile artist. His first quilt exhibition was shown in 1979 at the Denis Cohn Gallery in Auckland. These works 'reflected fabric art trends of the time - traditional American quilting techniques depicted subjects including Kiwi aviation pioneer Richard Pearse'.
Denis Cohn introduced Harrison to Wellington art dealer Janne Land, who showed his work regularly until his death. Throughout his textile career, his work ranged from large-scale quilts to smaller needlepoint canvases and simple works stitched on cloth. Textile historian Ann Packer recognises Harrison as “the man who pioneered quilting as an art form in New Zealand...a storyteller par excellence who creates his narratives in stitch.”
The Family is a highly popular and well known collection of 35 dolls crafted by Harrison over 30 years and exhibited widely throughout New Zealand. The Family was first exhibited at The Dowse Art Museum in 1987, and was re-exhibited several times, including in 2005 and 2014.
In 1994, the Parliamentary Service Commission appointed Harrison to design and oversee the creation of two large-scale works for Wellington’s parliament buildings.
The two works, These are Matters of Pride and Whanaungatanga (Relationships), combined Māori weaving traditions with European embroidery practices and drew upon the skills of four Māori weavers and over 700 embroiderers. They took two years to complete. Other commissions include Oceania, located in the Bank of New Zealand tower in Queen Street in Auckland, and a work in the North Shore City Council Chambers.
In 2004 Harrison was awarded the inaugural Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Art Fellowship, worth $65,000.
His work is held in the collections of Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa and The Dowse Art Museum.