500th Talks: Ptolemy Mann

Ptolemy Mann studied at Central St Martins and the Royal College of Art after her secondary education and A-levels at Cranbrook and a Foundation Art course in Maidstone. She has gone onto create a myriad of stunning images in textiles and position herself a leading textiles designer and entrepreneur. A good sized audience of students, staff, parents and people from the local community were treated to a highly absorbing slidestrip of the most beautiful pieces of Ptolemy’s work.

At the root of her artistic philosophy is a deep-seated love of weaving, in which craft she has developed outstanding technical skills. Secondly, Ptolemy is a great advocate of colour and illustrated her talk with sumptuous images of gloriously colourful building designs, wall coverings, carpets, Bauhaus-style furniture and even the odd John Lewis cushion cover!

She spoke glowingly of the influence Cranbrook School had had on her artistic development, especially the expedition to Tanzania she was involved in). She provided inspiration to students attending by stressing the need to marry “art” with “craft” in their artistic pursuits. Equally telling was her candour about the ups and downs of the business world and her major influences – Bauhaus, Anni Albers (currently the subject of a major exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery in London) and the Ikat school of fabric design.

The talk was a very worthy addition to an outstanding series of lectures by Old Cranbrookians this year on a stunningly diverse range of topics.

Image: © Crafts Magazine