Browsing articles from "September, 2008"

Textiles For These Times –

Sep 30, 2008 | 1 Comment

I was thinking yesterday – as I pinned on my new Obama button – that there really should be some textile keepsakes for this election. Yes, there are lots of t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc. But what about more domestic paraphernalia – handkerchiefs, dishtowels, cushion covers, etc? Yes it’s kind of retro, and yes it’s true none of those items would really be seen out in public where one’s political leanings can be promoted. But all that aside, textiles are such a wonderful medium for commemoration — not only for campaigns, but for all manner of historical moments, movements, etc. I posted on this general topic awhile ago – here – as well as here. The scarf above is posted on the Art Tattler website and was designed by Picasso for the World Festival of Youth and Students for Peace, Berlin 1951. Looking around, I think we’re overdue for another festival!

George Haite –

Sep 25, 2008 | 1 Comment

Browsing blogs this evening – and looking at some beautiful ones I haven’t explored before – I fell upon a posting by Fly about 19th century textile designer George Haite (1825-1871). A google search on the name brought me to this page with a brief write-up on him and a few images of his work. In brief: he was a “one of the most important pattern designers of ‘old school’ during Queen Victoria’s ascension.” (Not sure what “old school” refers to here…). In any case, his patterns remind me how flamboyant and color-saturated the 19th century could be. (Have I talked about this before? This is all sounding familiar in my head.) Anyway, so many period movies about the era give a kind of musty, burgundy-and-brown-only impression but it was also an era of pink! and turquoise! Etc.

P.S. The book referred to in the second link above can be found on Alibris (but not Amazon): Designs For Shawls by Hillary Young.

The Gods –

Sep 21, 2008 | 2 Comments

When my grandmother (Oma) was still alive she always referred to God in the plural, believing there were many protectors. I’m not sure when she picked this up (she grew up in Michigan during the Great Depression) but she was a big fan of ancient Greece when I knew her and even claimed to be have been visited in visions by toga wearing sages. I can only hope the Gods my grandmother believed in are with us now as the United States takes on more of the contours of a Greek Tragedy rather than the American Dream. The fabric above – called Jules et Jim by Clarence House – got me thinking in these terms.

Grain Sack Chic –

Sep 16, 2008 | 2 Comments

The 9/7/08 issue of The New York Times (“Sunday Styles” section) had a brief feature on eco-friendly gifting and included pillow covers made from used grain sacks, sold at the Melange Collection. I can’t get too excited about snuggling up to a grain sack pillow, but I enthusiastically endorse the grain sack grocery bags filtering into the marketplace, both at Melange Collection and through Reusable Bags. Since the beginning of the year I’ve steadily weaned myself from “paper or plastic?” at the grocery store and my eco-frendly conscience always feels good when I offer my own bag. Above and to the left is the tote-sized one I purchased in quadruplicate at Reusable Bags (a bit pricey but worth it, and the size almost perfectly duplicates the capacity of a normal paper grocery bag). To the right is one from Melange Collection.

Vlisco –

Sep 11, 2008 | 3 Comments

Holy smokes this is a find! Thanks to a comment by Cristina on an earlier post I’m now in wax-print heaven over here at Vlisco – founded on Holland in 1846 and still going strong!

Rosa Pomar –

Sep 8, 2008 | 1 Comment

Rosa commented on my previous post and introduced me to her beautiful blog and the wax prints she sells on a parallel site. It’s all eye candy to me — and tantalizingly out of reach since her blog is in Portuguese. The fabric above is so pretty though, especially the crisp contrast between the vibrant blue and orange. It looks like Rosa gives a wonderful description of it – but I’m afraid google translator hasn’t served me very well: something about “Reza” (the type of cloth?) being born in Kenya in the mid 19th century — and having something to do with Portuguese trade. Or is it that they are Indian scarves that were traded as currency in Kenya? Something like that.

9/17/08 ADDENDUM

Rosa wrote me with some added explanation of the fabric:

The fabric in the photo is a traditional headscarf from Mozambique (a former portuguese colony in East Africa), and my post is about the history of the kanga/chitenge, also known as pagne or capulana. Chitenge was originally made from six headscarves like the one in the photo sewn together ( ).

Thank you Rosa!

Ananse Village –

Sep 5, 2008 | 3 Comments

I got an email from Ananse Village today alerting me to their collection of African textiles. I’m fascinated by the pattern of this Ghana wax print – along with some others on their site. (What’s the inspiration behind the trio of hands, or are they pairs of hands praying?) This also reminds me of an earlier posting (mystery still unsolved) of a fabric owned by a dear friend.

Mekong Blue –

Sep 4, 2008 | Leave a Comment

I’ve been so consumed by the highs and lows of presidential politics recently that the wonderful world of textiles has fallen by the wayside. But now I’m craving some relief!

The NPR show Marketplace aired a story about a silk production company in Cambodia – Mekong Blue – earlier this week. I can’t say I’m in love with the products shown on their website but they look like a great source for custom production and they’re certainly a good addition to any list of textile companies focusing on fair trade, positive rural development, etc.