Happy Stripes and Wanderlust –

Aug 16, 2009 | Leave a Comment

I’m having trouble conjuring up a more idyllic domestic vision (and/or get-away) than the one above, provided by this Times Online slide show of Josie Curran’s houseboat on the Thames. She has lots of carpets from Vanderhurd Studio (a company previously posted about here) as well as textiles gathered up in India and Morocco, the later of which are featured in the picture above. Inspired by the stripes, I found these happy dhurries from Kathy M. Ireland, provided by Elson & Company.

Commemorative Cloth –

Aug 14, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Just back from Seattle and saw some interesting “commemorative cloths” featuring political leaders on display at the Seattle Art Museum, including one of Obama (though not the one shown here). It’s an interesting tradition and one I’d love to see more of  state-side. Here’s a link to a write-up of the history of this type of fabric along with several examples.

The first paragraph begins this way:

“Fancy print” textiles produced in Europe for the markets of colonial Africa emerged in the 1920s as a cheaper substitute for so-called “Dutch wax” resin-resist prints. Although they were of lower quality and the design was only on one face, they had one distinct advantage which soon opened up a new range of decorative possibilities and hence a novel social role. Unlike wax prints, the technology of fancy prints allowed for the reproduction of photographic imagery. Very quickly the technique was adopted to produce what have become known as commemorative cloths.

The textile shown in the image above (via True Up) is a more graphic take. — I know we’re well past the election at this point but sheesh, I think Obama needs some positive vibes at the moment! So yes, “hooray for the president”.

For more actual wax prints visit previous posts on Vlisco and Ananse Village.

August Recess –

Aug 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment

I’m heading off to a land of wild roses and sleepy roads and will be back on-line in about ten days!

Dosa’s Jamdani –

Aug 5, 2009 | Leave a Comment

A carry-over discovery from my previous post is that David Earp’s charity Shuktara supplies handmade textiles to Dosa, a company started by clothing designer Christina Kim. Part of Kim’s creative mission is to recycle and reuse fabrics to the maximum degree possible and she accomplishes this beautifully in her work with jamdani fabrics from India. (I think a safe / simple definition of jamdani is that it’s a very finely woven cotton, typically used for saris.)

Dosa’s website isn’t set up for linking directly to individual pages but if you’d like to read more about the history of jamdani (very interesting!) and how Dosa is using it today go to the home page, then “special projects”, then “life of jamdani”.

Framed Scarves –

Aug 3, 2009 | 3 Comments

The August cover of  The World Of Interiors (detail above) features the Indian apartment of David Earp, a native of London who moved to Calcutta 11 years ago and since founded a charity there – Shuktara – for children in need. His love of textiles is in bright display throughout the magazine’s eight-page spread (text and photography by Henry Wilson), most especially Earp’s amazing collection of framed scarves:

“The stunning framed scarves that hang on all the walls demand attention. Most of them are by Ascher or Jacqmar, the majority woven in rayon and designed by such luminaries as Cecil Beaton, Oliver Messel and Feliks Topolski…”

Gypsy Rosalie –

Jul 31, 2009 | 1 Comment

What is it about linens from the 1940’s and 1950’s (and even the 1960’s I suppose) that give them such a distinct – and distinctly appealing – look? I was musing about this last Sunday while admiring a collection of tablecloths, napkins, and handkerchiefs  handed down to a friend from her mother. Part of it is just the quality of softly worn age that cotton can take on after decades of washing and pressing, but there’s also the texture and weight of the fabric itself. And what exactly is it about such a range of patterns that make them so easily pinned to that time period? (A good topic for research.)

With these questions in mind I went on a brief tear around the internet and found the following links. No historical overviews here, but lots of patterns to look at:

Gypsy Rosalie (the above image is a detail shot of an already-sold table cloth from the site)

Echoes of the Past Online

Gramas Attic


Laurel Leaf Farm

Printed Cloth for the Bazaars –

Jul 29, 2009 | Leave a Comment

Sara of 5 o’clock crows posted some great large-scale images (detail above) from the book Russian Textiles: Printed Cloth for the Bazaars of Central Asia by Susan Meller. I’ve seen the book in passing but now it’s officially on my wish list — what amazing color and pattern! (And might I comment on the coincidence of how color coordinated this detail shot is with my previous two posts!)

Amadi Carpets –

Jul 26, 2009 | 1 Comment

There can never be too many good looking carpet companies; here’s another.

Louise Baldwin –

Jul 23, 2009 | 2 Comments

I’m tantalized but ultimately left frustrated after coming across links to (and images of)  textile / multi media artist Louise Baldwin’s work. The UK’s Embroiderer’s Guild seems to have the most to show but there’s no bio, no personal website, and no fuller catalog of work. At least this post will remind me to look for her again in the future, in case anything more shows up online.

Stanley Bulbach –

Jul 20, 2009 | Leave a Comment

About a month ago there was a lot of media attention (articles in The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine, an interview on The Colbert Show, etc.) about a new book by Mathew Crawford called Shop Class As Soul Craft. I haven’t read the book but what I’ve gleaned of Crawford’s argument appeals to me:  it’s that hand-work (in his case motorcycle repair)  should be recognized as genuinely useful and intellectually challenging work and not “less than” the work happening in office buildings.  Coinciding with economic hard times I imagine it’s a heartening – and even liberating – thesis to many re-evaluating the trajectory of their worklife. Others, like Manhattan based carpet weaver Stanley Bulbach already seem quite comfortable living and working as intellectual craftsmen, and in Bulbach’s case vigorously so. His website features his own handwoven carpets, links to numerous articles he’s written about fiber arts, and extensive reviews of books covering a wide range of art-related topics. Regardless of their individual philosophies, both Crawford and Bulbach embody an idea everyone should be able to get behind, office buildings or not: whatever you do, do it passionately!

Above, a detail of Bulbach’s prayer carpet titled “Sumac Auspices”.