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T H E FA B R I C O F YO U R L I F E

THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: COTTON JULY 2018

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THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE

At Selvedge, we acknowledge the significance textiles have in everyone’s story. We are surrounded by cloth from the cradle to the grave and by exploring our emotional connection to fibre we share the stories and values that mean the most to us. Through reading Selvedge you become a part of the textile conversation between artists, designers and admirers. www.selvedge.org MAKE OUR STORIES PART OF YOUR STORY


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Cover Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Models At A Beach, 1959, Conde Nast Selvedge Magazine 14 Milton Park, Highgate, London, N6 5QA T: +44 (0)20 3790 8659 www.selvedge.org Publisher: Selvedge Ltd Founder: Polly Leonard editor@selvedge.org Features Editor: Niamh McCooey editorial@selvedge.org Copy Editor: Peter Shaw Head of Communications: Clare Bungey communications@selvedge.org Events Director: Penny Gray events@selvedge.org Head of Special Projects: Ronja Brown shop@selvedge.org

Selvedge (ISSN No: 1742-254X, USPS No: 21430) is published bi-monthly - January, March, May, July, September & November - by Selvedge Ltd, UK and is distributed in the USA by RRD/Spatial, 1250 Valley Brook Ave, Lyndhurst NJ 07071. Periodicals postage paid at South Hackensack, NJ 07606. POSTMASTER: send address changes to selvedge, c/o RRD, 1250 Valley Brook Ave, Lyndhurst NJ 07071. Registered Office 14 Milton Park, Highgate, London, N6 5QA. Copyright © Selvedge Ltd 2018. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The editor reserves the right to edit, shorten or modify any material submitted. The editor’s decision on all printed material is final. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of Selvedge magazine, Selvedge Ltd or the editor. Unsolicited material will be considered but cannot be returned. Printing: Westdale Press Ltd UK. Colour Origination: PH Media. Web Design: datadial. Distribution: Spatial Mail. Postmaster send address corrections to Selvedge Magazine, Spatial House, Willow Farm Business Park, Castle Donnington, Derby, DE74 2TW. Subscription rates for one year (6 issues): Paper Magazine, UK £70.00; Europe €100.00; USA & Rest of World £120.00

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CONT RIBUTORS We asked our contributors: What does cotton mean to you?

The making of textiles is time consuming, with the preparation of fibre being the most labour-intensive element.The desire to speed this process has preoccupied the industrial world for the last 200 years and it is with cotton fibre that there has been the greatest success. 60% of all clothing is now made of cotton. While it is natural and biodegradable, cotton’s negative environmental impacts result from the use of pesticides and the consumption of water used to accellerate production. After spending the last two centuries producing more and more cotton, the biggest issue facing the textile industry today is how to dispose of the excess. There is much in the news on the environmental impact of single plastic, but textile waste is as big a problem, with the average garment being worn just three times. What can the individual do? We have inspiring answers to this question, from a story about the 1718 coverlet, on display at The Festival of Quilts, to the Dutch Nationale Feestrok as well as Jessica Ogden’s Caribbean practice. Patchwork is a great way to extend the life of textiles, as is buying less but buying better: a philosophy adhered to by Adele Stafford and her Voices of Industry project. She sources organic cotton in her field-to-fibre initiative; similarly Jessica Green in her Appalachian homestead utilises home-grown fibre to grant continuity to the American coverlet tradition.Their work will be treasured for generations rather than finding its way into landfill.We look too at the significance of textiles in the life of Frida Kahlo, whose clothing and personal effects will be exhibited at London’s V&A Museum this summer.We examine her life, her house and take a tour of the country she called home. Polly Leonard, Founder

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I am conscious about what we are doing to our planet and try wherever possible to help environmentally and pass on the message to my daughter. I very rarely buy cheap clothes – preferring quality above all else. I will spend more knowing a garment will last me longer. The one thing I remember, is a quote from Livia Firth: ‘The biggest message is every time you buy something, always think, ‘will I wear it a minimum of 30 times?’ If the answer is yes, then buy it.' I tend to shop in second-hand stores and I find that a great way of avoiding contributing to the mass-consumption of cotton. There is a wonderful choice of vintage shops in London, from chic and niche, to quirky and retro ones. I especially love the charity shops around Notting Hill and Primrose Hill, where you can still find gems. Since I regularly get bored of my wardrobe, I think that giving a new life to second-hand garments is a brilliant way to keep the clothes’ life-cycle flowing!

Abbie Melle

Marie Taillefer

In the summer of 1948, the Empire Windrush docked in Kingston, Jamaica, in order to pick up servicemen on leave. The ship was far from full, and so an opportunistic advertisement was placed in a Jamaican newspaper offering inexpensive transport for anybody who wanted to come and work in the UK to help rebuild the country after WW2 - a journey that had been made many times before by ships carrying cotton.

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In my mid-life, my husband’s new job required us to move from the upper midwest to North Carolina. I had always lived where wool was the fiber of necessity, but I suddenly found myself transplanted to the land of cotton. I now judge seasonal changes by watching the cotton go from boll to harvest. Cotton yarns in an array of colours are so readily available that cotton soon became my fiber of choice for weaving. Now after so many years here, I’ve come to think that I was just born a long way from home.


CONTENTS

ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives 42 COVER STORY The 1718 patchwork coverlet by Sue Marks 46 PATCH UP The skirts that helped heal a nation by Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood 68 FOLD UNFOLD The American coverlet by Catherine Billingsley 72 PLASTIC FANTASTIC Reusable shopping bags from Mexico and Vietnam by Catherine Legrand

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We live in a world where art and artist have merged. You only have to look at social media to see that the lines between public works and private lives have all but vanished. Artists have become ‘icons’ inseparable from their art, and it can be tempting to think that this development is a recent consequence of the social media boom – but this is not actually the case.

Upon her death in 1954, Kahlo’s clothes and personal effects were locked away by her husband Rivera, who was afraid that they may be misunderstood. The bathroom where they were stored remained locked until 2004, when the collection was catalogued and documented by Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako. Commissioned for her profound understanding of trauma, Miyako grew up in post-war Japan, and has also photographed the clothing remains of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. 4

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #23”

The exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, examines the life of Kahlo through her clothing and personal effects. As one of the first ‘icon’ painters, her public image is everywhere; her face appears on everything from stationery to toiletries, saturating the mass market. In fact, knowledge of her near-fatal bus accident in her teens, rendering her immobilised for prolonged periods, forms part of the collective consciousness ahead of her art. We know too, of her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera – another artist whose hedonistic private life contributed to his public persona and success.

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' Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

GLOBAL textiles from around the world 20 OH OAXACA Head Back Down South by Rebecca Devaney 60 IN THE JUMBLE The afterlife of second-hand clothes by Sophie Vent, photography by Tim Mitchell and Lucy Norris 96 SWATCH Favourite Fabric no. 43: Chenille by Sarah Jane Downing, illustrated by Nina Fuga

SURVIVAL SKILLS Frida Kahlo: making her self up

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #36”

INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire 11SOUTH OF THE BORDER Shopping down Mexico way by Polly Leonard 12 HOW TO Dye table linen by Babs Behan of Botanical Inks 78 SHOP TALK NO 10 Jane Audas goes shopping at Cassie Mercantile

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walls were erected to enclose a newly-purchased lot of 1,040 square meters now occupied by the garden, thereby affording the Soviet intellectual a measure of protection from the pursuit of Joseph Stalin’s hired assassins. In 1946 Diego Rivera asked Juan O’Gorman to build a studio for Frida, proposing that he use local materials such as basalt, the volcanic stone employed by the Aztecs to build their pyramids and carve their ceremonial pieces. The studio was designed in a functionalist style and decorated with works of Mexican folk art. In this part of the house, Diego lined the ceilings with mosaics and the walls with seashells, also embedding clay pitchers in the exterior walls to provide nesting spaces for doves and pigeons. Before he died, Diego asked Dolores Olmedo, his friend and patron, not to open the bathroom of his own bedroom in the Blue House for a period of 15 years. Time passed, and Lola respected the wishes of her friend during her own lifetime. She kept the space locked up, as well as the bathroom of Frida’s bedroom, a small storage space, and various trunks, wardrobes, and drawers. Diego had left a brief inventory of the objects stored in his bathroom, but until recently nothing was known about the contents of the other spaces. For almost three years, with the support of the non-profit organisation Apoyo al Desarrollo de Archivosy Bibliotecas de México (ADABI), which provides financial aid to archives and libraries, a group of experts was able to organise, classify, and digitalise the newly-discovered collection: 22,000 documents, 6,500 photographs, magazines and periodicals, books, dozens of drawings,

personal objects, clothing, corsets, medicines, toys… The task of making this archive public coincided with the centennial celebration of Frida’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the death of Diego Rivera. The archives and objects brought to light were genuinely fascinating, providing clues that will enrich the biographies of both artists. Many scholars visiting the exhibition have commented in surprise that the stories of Frida and Diego need to be rewritten, since many suppositions have been proven false or misleading. These documents and drawings provide fascinating clues about Frida’s work. They include, for example, illustrations and drawings of the womb and the development of the human foetus, which would later be used to decorate the wooden frame of the diptych Still Life. Hidden away in the back of the closet, behind some books, was a small sketchbook containing the small but important drawing Appearances Can Be Deceiving. Stored in the same place were several drafts of the text Frida wrote about Diego (Portrait of Diego Rivera) for the tribute to the muralist held at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The authorship of this text had been questioned (and even attributed to Alfonso Reyes), but thanks to this new archive we can now be sure that Frida herself wrote it. All this is preserved in Frida’s house, a building that constitutes a living spring of passionate experiences. ••• Hilda Trujillo The Frida Kahlo Museum, Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico www.museofridakahlo.org.mx

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ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends 14 SURVIVAL SKILLS Firda Kahlo: making her self up by Phoenix Leonard-Shaw, photography by Ishiuchi Miyako 50 WHEN I REACHED JAMAICA I MADE A STOP Jessica Ogden a girl, from Kingston town by Carol Tulloch photography by Alfredo Piola

Although she has since returned to live in California, her interest in the surrounding southern farm culture continues. ‘I'm more drawn to multi-generational farming stories, those that have struggled with maintaining that way of life,’ she said. ‘My most recent work is entirely focused on cotton in the Deep South. I’m feeling more emboldened about confronting challenging issues in the work.’ When Stafford conceives of a piece, the garments are typically informed by the fiber and resulting cloth. ‘Once I harvest the fiber, I design the yarn based on the story I want the material to tell,’ she said. ‘Once yarn is in hand, I spend a good amount of time sampling weaving patterns to further the narrative. From there, the cloth is woven and the garments are cut and sewn.’ She works with Jisun Lee, who she calls her ‘meticulous pattern maker and tailor’, to finish each garment marked out on her week's worth of cloth. And the completed garments are breathtaking, with their buckled, Black Thorn wool giving shape to a boxy pullover; a blonde cotton tunic and two-tone striped cotton T-shirt emerging from Sally Fox's organic cotton.

COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed 26 CASA AZUL Frida Kahlo’s private universe by Hilda Trujillo 64 ON THE HOME FRONT Jessica Green’s hand work hard at work photography by Rinne Allen 74 TRAILER PARK TREASURE Setting up camp with Ruth Ribeaucourt by Oliver Maclennan, photographs by Joanna Maclennan

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Rinne Allen

INDUSTRY from craft to commerce 32 LOUD AND CLEAR Voices of Industry speaks of heirloom fibres by Kate Cavendish, photography by Leslie Williamson 38 OUT OF AFRICA Polly Leonard gets to know Mungo's magnificent new mill 56 A STATE OF REPAIR The culture of kantha in Bengal by John Gillow

It can take a long time for Stafford to complete a piece, so when a garment is finished, it includes information on the farmer and weave, allowing customers to appreciate its history. And every time the cloth is worn, the customer continues to add to its narrative, intertwining farmer, weaver and wearer. • • • Kate Cavendish

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EVENTS dates for your diary

This recent collaboration is no exception. Jessica has given the collection the private title of patchwork houses, a theme that expands on a conversation she had while working on the exhibition Jessica Ogden: Still. Patchwork is an aesthetic of Jamaica’s landscape, as the patchwork homes of corrugated tin in different colours are not unlike an abstract painting. I tend to call these semi-permanent homes ‘survival patchwork’, an essential technique employed to live, to be. All this reaffirms for Jessica, the need to make. ••• Carol Tulloch

Alfredo Piola

driven her practice for so long – history, experiences, memory, collaboration, possibilities and, as she often says, ‘to dream’. This informs the A.P.C. quilts Jessica has designed in homage to the artist Josef Albers’ ‘interaction of colour’. Jessica’s ‘homage’ here is recognising the inspiration to explore and interpret through quilts and quilted cushions made in cotton, corduroy or wool, ranging from serene shades of blues, greys and taupe to rich clashes of colour that are connected through the abstract use of shapes and colour, driven by asymmetry or mirrored composition. The photographic documentation of these designs is produced through a partnership between the photographer Alfredo Piola and Jessica herself. These have taken place in Jamaica since Jessica returned to live in her place of birth in 2016. The backdrop to the quilts incorporates the varied intense beauty of Jamaica, as in the patchwork houses that vibrate across its landscape.

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p54-55 Right: Clothing is sorted by colour before being recycled in a textile factory in India

IN THE JUMBLE The afterlife of second-hand clothes

An item of clothing may have multiple lives before finally reaching the rag pile. From first purchase in the UK, a garment may undergo several cultural and geographical shifts before becoming landfill or rag to be shredded for insulation. Multi-layered currents of second-hand clothing circulate around the world, from evolving trends in collectable vintage to the mountains of unwanted clothing generated by an accelerating fashion industry. At the top of the pile, changing trends on the catwalks and in culture fetishise styles and logos from specific time periods and disparate locations. Vintage sourcers scour the globe for a diminishing source of rare vintage, ‘the real deal’

to sell on to fashion houses for inspiration in cut, detail or pattern. In this unlikely way, the afterlife of a vintage garment may continue to drive the industry forward. Helena Gavshon, a pioneer in vintage textile design, describes how the locations for sourcing have changed over 30 years in the industry. Helena explains: ‘Our focus has changed from sourcing in Europe to much further afield as the demand has changed from familiar florals to global pattern and embellishments. This embraces less European looking prints, techniques and fabrics which inspire our clients to trigger new trends in the clothing industry.’ Helena goes on to explain that Japanese vintage has been dominant in the industry for the past ten years due to the exceptional level of craftsmanship. Whilst Japanese vintage is popular in the UK, American vintage is the favourite in Japan, particularly 1950s denim, first introduced by American Marines after World War Two and popularised by Japanese youth culture. It is not only rare one-off pieces that will find a second life in the fashion industry. Recent trends have created a new ‘vintage’ era filled with mass produced sportswear and designer labels. Menswear designer, Gosha Rubchinskiy creates collections channelling post-Soviet streetwear, exploring Russia’s adoption of Western consumerism, complete with counterfeit logos. Collaborating with brands such as Levis, Dr Martens and Adidas, he creates new looks with a heavily nostalgic feel and in doing so fuels an expanding market of nineties vintage. Influential

site Wavey Garms has been instrumental in developing the context for this new vintage market. It began as a facebook group for likeminded people to trade nineties rave clothing. Now second-hand Versace, Moschino and Lacoste fill the London store, creating a portal to a bygone era.

Although we may wishfully think that all of our past purchases may one day be collectable, in truth only around 10% of clothing donated to charity will be retailed again in the UK.The remainder will begin a complex and uneasy journey across continents. Our love of fashion has created an embarrassing bulge in our wardrobes, which will inevitably end up in a bag for the charity shop. As we attempt to navigate the transient fashion trends that drive the industry, old garments in perfect condition are no longer considered wearable. This idea of ‘donating’ and ‘recycling’ has provided western consumers with a guilt free solution to their overconsumption. But where are these out-of-date micro trends and one-off party dresses actually going?

The flurry of e-commerce sites has created a global platform for this new vintage scene to flourish, free from the retro connotations previously associated with the industry. Lucky Girl Vintage, an online shop based in Krakow, specialises in this style of vintage sourced from local second- hand stores. Many of the items in the store were originally sold in the UK, before being exported to Poland as second-hand and now sold back to a fashionable UK Market through careful styling and marketing. In his fascinating book Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes, Dr Andrew Brooks explores the function of this process of rebranding; ‘Vintage clothing is curated, as, like an ancient museum artefact or an artwork on display, it has to be carefully situated and presented to the consumer so as to maximize its symbolic value.’ The cultural context created by the vintage industry creates value from our waste, transforming a tonne of second hand clothes to retail at around £20,000 for collectable items, as opposed to £25 per tonne for recycling grade garments by clothing recycling organisations such as Choice Textiles or Oxfam Wastesavers.

Photograph © Tim Mitchell and Lucy Norris

A child’s sweatshirt lies on a dusty pile of fabrics in an antiques shop in Pushkar. Printed across the front is the worn logo ‘Domingo’; a tobacco brand from Poland. What makes the little jumper stand out is not the fact that tobacco merchandise has been created in such a small size, or how this jumper has travelled so far from its origin, but the colourful hand embroidery that embellishes the shoulders and areas of the sleeves. Vibrant chain stitches decorated with fragments of mirrors show the unique embroidery of the Rabari, a community from Gujarat known for their bright clothing. Displaced from its original context, this tiny artefact suggests something of its journey; mass produced, aged by wear, discarded, found and then poetically embellished for its second life, its afterlife.

Sustainable fashion journalist, Lucy Siegel, has conducted extensive research on the journey of second-hand clothes and shares her observations in her book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? Siegel describes a surreal sight in the Mali dustbowl of local men wearing women’s trench coats in pale colours with three-quarter length sleeves, which she recognises as a fashion she had subscribed to a few Spring / Summers previously. Dr Brooks also shares some firsthand observations from Papua New Guinea: ‘Second-hand clothing gets used in unusual ways. In one Highlands village men took to wearing flowing ladies’ floral dressing gowns, garments that became a way to show off; it was a statement associated with masculinity that was completely divorced from the gowns’ previous symbolic value.’ Halfway 4

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A special song was also written in order to emphasise the symbolic meaning of the skirts. During Queen Wilhelmina’s 50th and last jubilee on the 31st of August 1948, the queen was serenaded with this song by over 1000 women, all of whom were wearing their own feestrok.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

A few days later, on the 2nd of September 1948, a special exhibition was opened called De Nederlandse Vrouw 1898-1948 at the Houtrusthallen in The Hague. A special sticker associated with this exhibition can be seen on Mrs S. M. Slavekoorde’s registration card. It shows the figure of a woman on a pedestal. Her form and clothing is made up of the Dutch flag, while her arms are orange pennants, which symbolise the Dutch royal family. This exhibition, and in many ways the feestrok alongside it, is often regarded as the start of the ‘modern’ feminist movement in the Netherlands and an official acknowledgement of the many important and diverse roles women have played throughout the early parts of the 20th century and the Second World War. ••• Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood www.trc-leiden.nl w w w. m o d e - m u z e . n l / t h e m a s / d e bevrijdingsrok-nationale-feestrok

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Bags and baskets made from plastic

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Practical and colourful, strong and fun, plastic baskets are produced in various places in the world, from Mexico to Vietnam. More often than not, they combine the know-how of traditional basketery weaving and a contemporary, industrial material: plastic thread, or plastic ribbon. Declining natural resources can partly explain this design evolution – as would economic factors, since an industrial or semi-industrial factory produces cheaper baskets than those that are hand-woven with vegetable fibers by skilled craftspeople. Another positive aspect of these accessories is that the maker can avoid the tedious work of planting, picking, cutting, softening and skinning the stems: plastic thread is an industrial product available in rolls or skeins. And this plastic bag is not only cheap and strong but, because of its bright colours, it is also a seductive item. In some cases, vegetable fibers and plastic thread can be woven together and mixed in order to add colour to the monochromatic straw. It is important to note that traditional weaving techniques are respected, even when baskets are manufactured in a factory, with handles or bottoms being secured the same way as they would in a woven straw bag. Traditional shapes are often followed and copied in plastic to the point that, for example, Miao and Hmong minorities in China or Vietnam, who are so used to carrying wicker panniers on their backs, use them when going to markets or working in fields. Today, they can find exact replicas in colourful, woven plastic. However, from an ecological point of view, this evolution of baskets made of plastic instead of straw is less satisfying, to say the least. Right now, we stand far from a biodegradable product crafted with surrounding local plants. That is the actual worldwide dilemma. ••• Edited extract from De La Tête Aux Pieds by Catherine Legrand, Éditions de la Martinière, 2017, €35.00, ISBN: 9782732480008, www.editionsdela-martiniere.fr

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A collection of catalogues from Browngrotta Arts worth a total of £300, www.browngrotta.com A roll of Susy Paisley Cactus Mexicanos wallpaper in Blush worth £245, www.theroomservice.com Hand & Lock is offering Selvedge readers £360 worth of classes www.handembroidery.com/school

INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings

(northwest of Nijmegen). The skirt has the registration number 1964 embroidered onto it. Once a skirt was accepted and registered it could be worn on the 5th of May anniversaries (bevrijdingsfeest), Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) and other important Dutch national holidays.

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1 September 2018, Tapestry Weaving with Fiona Rutherford, London, UK 20 October 2018, Picnic Baskets with Hilary Burns, London, UK 10 November 2018, Covered Buttons & Mark Making with Rachael Howard, London, UK 24 November 2018, Paper Intricacies with Claire Brewster, London, UK 2 February 2019, Stitch with Julie Arkell, London, UK 9 March 2019, Illustrative Stitch with Sue Stone, London, UK 17-24 August 2019, Nicola Cliff of madder and Cutch, Fine Print, Screen Printing with Natural Dyes, Chateau Dumas, France 17-24 August 2019, Lora Avedian, Blooming Marvellous, Two and Three Dimensional Fabric Flowers, Chateau Dumas, France 24-31 August 2019, Carla and Jeremy Bonner, Bag of Tricks, Contemporary Leatherwork, Chateau Dumas, France 24-31 August 2019, Claire Wellersly-Smith, Slow Stitch, Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art, Chateau Dumas, France

05 BIAS/CONTRIBUTORS A letter from the founder, Polly Leonard and comments from our contributors. 07 NEWS Our Linen stories, Christina Kim wins National Design Award, 90 years of Dette Trout Flies, 2019 Cordis Prize, Samantha Bittman at MAD new york, Prince Charles curates an exhibition at Buckinham Palace. 84 READ Clothing and Landscape

in Victorian England: Working Class Dress and Rural Life by Rachel Worth reviewed Sarah Jane Downing. The Erotic Cloth: Seduction and Fetishism in Textiles edited by Lesley Millar and Alice Kettle, reviewed by Kate Cavendish. 86 VIEW Jean Shin: Collections, Philadelphia Museum of Art, reviewed by JoAnn Greco Colour & Abstraction: Generations in Dialogue, Textiel Museum,

Tilburg, The Netherlands, by Dr Gillian VogelsangEastwood, Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,The Met, Fifth Avenue reviewed by JoAnn Greco, Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, The Design Museum reviewed by Jane Audas. 95 COMING NEXT SURFACE: Feel-good fabrics, with Magdelana Abercanovitz, Jilly Edwards, Hildur Bjarnadottir and more.

SELVEDGE ('selvid3) n. 1. finished differently 2. the non-fraying edge of a length of woven fabric. [: from SELF + EDGE]

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OUR LINEN STORIES Rekindling the love for flax and linen

and workers, of migrant skills, and of trade routes and industrial might. It also shows what’s being done with the material today, and how it can help us build a sustainable, innovative, high tech future. ‘When people think of Scottish textiles it’s often tartans, tweeds and Paisley shawls that spring to mind,’ says John Ennis, the man behind this initiative. ‘But linen should be up there too,’ he continues. ‘Its role in the story of Scotland

Felicity Bristow Awarded the 2018 Gayfield Projects R + D Commission #textusventilus

A new exhibition, beginning its tour at Custom Lane in Leith before going on display around Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Netherlands, tells the story of flax and linen as seen through the eyes of leading artists and designers. Titled Our Linen Stories, this show aims to rekindle Scotland’s love of linen in the 21st century. It celebrates the role that this material has played in the past – telling tales of weavers

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was huge but it’s slipping out of history and at risk of being forgotten.’ Featuring work by over a dozen exhibitors, the show includes new work by textile artist Linda Green, alongside the work of Dutch designer Christien Meindertsma, among many others. Our Linen Stories. Tour to include Selkirk, Kirkcaldy, Badenoch, Lisburn, Amsterdam see www.ourlinenstories.com for dates


STOP THE PRESS The Cooper Hewitt announces Christina Kim as winner of the Fashon category in the 2018 National Design Awards. Christina Kim is the co-founder and designer at dosa, a Los Angeles-based clothing company established with a focus on rethinking conventional industrial production and sustaining artisan cultures. In-house production encourages an evolving system for efficient use of resources, recycling and creative reuse. Kim draws on traditional handwork techniques, particularly from India, Mexico and Colombia, engaging artisans and communities in long-term collaborations – recognized globally for sustainable-design practices. www.dosainc.com The Cordis Prize for Tapestry celebrates ambition in weaving on an international scale, and offers £8,000 in prize money. Aiming to attract both domestic and international entries from established artists working in tapestry, the judges are looking for works that are essentially woven, referencing traditional Gobelin techniques, but that need not be wholly constructed using this method. Ambitious and non-conventional approaches are encouraged in two or three dimensions, using traditional, new or found materials. The shortlist will be drawn up by a panel including Fiona Mathison, Jo Barker, and Miranda Harvey of the Cordis Trust. The deadline is 11 January 2019. The 4th Cordis Prize for Tapestry, 16 March 2019 - 27 May 2019, Inverleith House Gallery Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh, www.thetapestryprize.org

Pippa Small's work for Tuquoise Mountain

To mark the 70th birthday of The Prince of Wales, the Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace will include a display of artworks selected by His Royal Highness. The exhibition, wil include some of the Prince’s favourite pieces from the Royal Collection alongside works by artists supported by his charities; including Turquoise Mountain. Prince and Patron, 21 July - 30 September,Buckingham Palace,www.royalcollection.org.uk


Photography by Jenna Bascom. Courtesy of the Museum of Arts and Design

To mark the 90th anniversary of Dette, the oldest family-run fly fishing shop in the world, Best Made company have launched a set of Fly Fishing embroidered badges in honour of this milestone. Twelve of their favorite Dette flys have been immortalized in felt and thread, which serve as markers for the camaraderie felt amongst all anglers. Chosen from Best Made’s collection of Dette flies, these badges are intended to be bestowed as a reward for a young angler’s first landing, or as mementos from new waterways traveled. With enticing names such as the the Kennebago and Pink Ghost, these badges memorialise the beauty of a well-tied fly, and the thrill of a hard-earned steelhead strike. Each badge echoes Best Made’s ethos of making products that inspire people: to travel, learn, accomplish things with their own two hands, and enjoy enriching experiences. These fly fishing badges are just the latest tokens of empowerment from Best Made. www.bestmadeco.com

Samantha Bittman is known for creating consuming experiences. Born in Chicago and now working in Brooklyn, Bittman takes details from the textile industry and uses them to reveal visual phenomena. Playing with shapes, symmetrical layouts, and a pared-down palettes, her latest installation comes in the form of Interlace: a site-specific, immersive work created for the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. On display as part of the Museum’s project 1st Site, located in the reception area of their Columbus Circle location, Interlace is a large-scale vinyl mural that wraps the entry-level elevator bank in a colourful, oversized weaving draft. Weavers visiting the exhibition might recognise this bold design, as it is based on the pattern weavers follow to work out their designs. For this piece, Bittman uses a particular weaving draft that represents a ‘sample blanket’; a textile that uses different warp and weft combinations in small sections in order to experiment with weave structures, yarn and colour. Printed at this scale, the pattern is easily identifiable as a tool specific to textile work, while resembling pixels associated with the digital – a reference that features regularly in the artist’s practice. Taking influence from Anni Albers, Bittman creates an new world of warp and weft. Samantha Bittman: Interlace, until 9 September 2018,The Museum of Arts and Design, www.madmuseum.org


   

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01 Acapulco Chair, turquoise & Mexican pink €299 www.sillaacapulco.com • 02 Graphic Design by Mia Papel Picado Clipart $4.20 www.etsy.com • 03 X-large floor pillow in boucle cotorin texture ochre mustard wool, $350 www.mexchic.co • 0 4 Mexican woven plastic plates $15 www.nonperishablegoods.com • 0 5 Multi-coloured embroidery Otomi Bolster cushion £160 www.montesandclark.co.uk • 06 Cakes decorated to order from £350 www.cressidabell.co.uk • 0 7 Medium cactus bag £20 www.montesandclark.co.uk • 0 8 Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being by Susana Martinez Vidal $195 www.assouline.com • 0 9 Laser-cut Frida floral brooch by Iris De La Torre £30 www.vam.ac.uk •

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HOW TO Dye table linen There’s something special about using food waste to make beautiful, decorative table linen – and it’s a great conversation piece when you gather around the table with friends...

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Consider the range of colours you can create: rich bronze from onion skins, dusty pinks from avocado rind and pit, purple from red cabbage and yellow from carrot tops. Lengths of yellow onion-dyed linen, with soft edges, add a touch of romantic style. I love the rustic look of linen, but you can try any natural fabrics for making runners and napkins. You can also make full tablecloths or bed throws. DYE MATERIAL Onion skins. You’ll need 100% of the weight of the washed, scoured and dried fabric in skins – for 500g fabric, you need 500g dry onion skins. FABRIC Irish linen (plant fibre). You can also use organic cotton, which would give a similar rustic finish. Silk (animal fibre) can give a more romantic look.

Kim Lightbody

MORDANT Most dyes need a mordant to fix the colour to the fibre. Plant fibres can be mordanted with with a plant based mordant such as tannic acid (extracted from aak galls, as well as acorns, chestnuts and oak bark) or mineral based mordants such as Iron and alum. Animal fibres can by mordanted similarly with rhubarb leaf or alum. Please see www.selvedge.org for mordanting recipies. MAKING A DYE BATH Weigh the fibre after it’s been washed, scoured and dried. For a deep shade, use 50% of the weight of the fibre in skin – for example, for 400g

fibre, use 200g onion. Onion skins are super-easy and quick to dye with. No need to chop them, simply put them in the dye pot and pour in enough water to allow the fibre to move freely. Bring to a simmer, and simmer for 30 minutes. The colour of the water will change and deepen quite quickly. Strain out the onion skins and use the liquid as the dye bath. • • • Botanical Inks: Plant-to-Print Dyes, Techniques & Projects by Babs Behan,

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Quadrille Books, 2018, £16.99, All Selvedge readers can buy Botanical Inks at the special price of £12.00 (rrp £16.99) with free p&p. To order your copy, call: 01256 302699 quoting:


SURVIVAL SKILLS

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Frida Kahlo: making her self up

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We live in a world where art and artist have merged. You only have to look at social media to see that the lines between public works and private lives have all but vanished. Artists have become ‘icons’ inseparable from their art, and it can be tempting to think that this development is a recent consequence of the social media boom – but this is not actually the case.

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #36”

Upon her death in 1954, Kahlo’s clothes and personal effects were locked away by her husband Rivera, who was afraid that they may be misunderstood. The bathroom where they were stored remained locked until 2004, when the collection was catalogued and documented by Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako. Commissioned for her profound understanding of trauma, Miyako grew up in post-war Japan, and has also photographed the clothing remains of the Hiroshima atomic bomb. 4

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #23”

The exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, examines the life of Kahlo through her clothing and personal effects. As one of the first ‘icon’ painters, her public image is everywhere; her face appears on everything from stationery to toiletries, saturating the mass market. In fact, knowledge of her near-fatal bus accident in her teens, rendering her immobilised for prolonged periods, forms part of the collective consciousness ahead of her art. We know too, of her tumultuous relationship with Diego Rivera – another artist whose hedonistic private life contributed to his public persona and success.

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' Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

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(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #15”

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Kahlo was proud of her mixed race heritage. She understood the importance of strong women and gender equality, identifying with the indigenous people of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region in Southern Mexico. This matriachal society inspired Kahlo and she adopted their traditional dress in an enthusiastic desire to embrace a national identity. Her wardrobe contained rebozos; traditional Mexican shawls, huipiles; embroidered square-cut tops, and enaguas and holanes; long skirts with flounces. Particularly notable is the resplandor; a traditional lace headdress that curator Claire Wilcox has paired with a self-portrait of Kahlo wearing it.

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #36”

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #16”

The objects in this show formed the fabric of Kahlo’s life; her everyday existence. She used them to both reconcile the reality of her limitations and to empower herself. Much more was understood about her accident after the discovery of items such as her medicines and orthopaedic aids, including supportive bodices and back braces, and corsets that she painted with religious and communist symbolism, as well as tragic imagery relating to her miscarriages.

Kahlo politicised her image. Mexico flourished in the 1920s and 1930s following the revolution, attracting artists, writers, photographers and film makers, including Leon Trotsky, in what became known as the Mexican Renaissance. Kahlo used style as a vehicle through which to promote her ideology and to publicise her triumph over adversity. This she did with remarkable stoicism – 4

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(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #34”

While such a voyeuristic view of Kahlo’s life provides us with a grounded understanding of who she was, we may never fully understand her work: but surely everyday textiles provide a starting point. All female life is here: miscarriage, gender equality, body image, heartbreak, infidelity. They represent a life lived to the full – and in our social-media saturated world, it is a life more relevant than ever. ••• Phoenix Leonard-Shaw Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up,Victoria and Albert Museum, London 16 June - 4 November 2018, www.vam.ac.uk

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #92”

Kahlo used the self-portrait to present an emancipated image of herself. Her recognisable style was fashioned in part by her make-up selection: her eyebrow pencil ‘Ebony’ (still within its original packaging) which she used to emphasise her signature mono brow, her favourite lipstick, Revlon’s ‘Everything’s Rosy’ and red nail varnish will all form part of the exhibition. Wilcox, Senior Curator of Fashion at the V&A and exhibition co-curator, commented: ‘A countercultural and feminist symbol, this show offers a powerful insight into how Kahlo constructed her own identity. It is a rare opportunity for visitors, offering unique access to an archive that has never left Mexico before.’

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(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #40”

(c)Ishiuchi Miyako”Frida by Ishiuchi #44”

the more pain she felt, the more brightly she dressed. She had relatives weave fresh flowers and ribbons into her hair, and when her leg was amputated to prevent the spread of gangrene, Kahlo designed a prosthetic, with a boot covered in embroidery and a little bell attached.


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OH OAXACA Head Back Down South

Oaxaca will sweep you off your feet and take you on a dazzling journey of discovery through its diverse cultures, breath-taking landscapes, lovingly restored colonial architecture, mouth-watering cuisine, ancient archaeological ruins, cheerful music, exquisite craft and atmospheric festivals. As an introduction to the vast and beautiful country of Mexico there is no better place to start! This city is home to one of the largest populations of indigenous people in Mexico and this astonishingly rich cultural heritage is a source of pride amongst Oaxaqueños. The majority of the ethnic groups are Zapotecos and Mixtecos as well as Amuzgos, Chatinos, Chinantecos, Cuicatecos, Huaves, Mazatecos, Tacuates, Mixes, Triquis, Zapotecos Istmeno and Afro-Mexicano. Their diversity is reflected in language, dialect, custom, music, craft, costume and cuisine making a vibrant melting-pot of cultures. Its extraordinary biodiversity makes Oaxaca a nature-lover’s paradise with towering pine forests in the Sierra Madre del Sur, rugged planes populated with cacti in the Valles Centrales, miles of pristine beaches and turtle nesting grounds on the Pacific coastline, sweltering tropical jungles

and swamps in the Isthmus de Tehuentepec and the atmospheric cloud forests of the Sierra de Juarez where jaguars and pumas slink between bromeliads, ferns and orchids. This abundance of natural beauty and its significance to local communities is explored in the outstanding Jardin Étnobotánico de Oaxaca. Nestled in a valley surrounded by rugged mountains is the picturesque capital of the state Oaxaca de Juarez. The Historic Centre is ideal for strolling through the cobbled streets lined with cheerfully painted colonial mansions, hidden courtyards and tranquil plazas shaded by fragrant frangipani trees. Wander along the pedestrianised Alcalá and enjoy the charming boutiques, cafes and bookshops. Marvel at the baroque architecture in Santo Domingo de Guzmán cathedral and soak up the rich heritage at one of the many excellent museums such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Museum of Cultures, the Museum of Rufino Tamayo and the Institute of Graphic Art. A must-see is the wonderful Textile Museum of Oaxaca. Take a moment to watch the world go by at one of the cafés lining the Zocaló where you may be uplifted by the joyful tunes of marimba.4

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serenaded by mariachis or even enticed to join the locals who go there to dance in the evenings. Oaxaca has become a culinary destination and it doesn’t disappoint, as world famous chefs create celebrated dishes like Mole Oaxaqueño in truly romantic restaurant settings. At street stalls you can snack on tacos, tamales, mamales and the delicious esquites, grilled corn served with cream, cheese, chilli and lime juice. Venture to the bustling food market, 20 de Noviembre, where the narrow passages are lined with stalls overflowing with towers of the freshest tomatoes, onions and cactus leaves, brimming sacks of chillies, corn, and beans, bunches of coriander, chamomile, and spearmint, parcels of exotic epazote, amaranth and azafrán and baskets of chapulines (fried grasshoppers). Take a seat at one of the many comedors and try a Tlayuda, a giant tortilla topped with courgette flowers and quesillo, Oaxaca's famously chewy and creamy cheese. Not to be missed is El Pasillo de las Carnes Asadas, a corridor lined with vendors fanning the flames of their smokey grills. Squeeze in beside the locals on a bench and order your cut of beef or string of chorizo and the accompanying tortillas, salsas, onions, chillies, avocado and whatever else takes your fancy. Be prepared for one of the most memorable and mouth-watering meals of your life! Step back in time with a day trip to see the archaeological treasures of the Zapotec civilisation. The lofty position of Monte Albán, once

the political hub of the empire, has stunning panoramic vistas across the arid valley. Mitla was known as the place of the dead and its structures are decorated with intricate fretwork, mosaics and friezes, unique in Mesoamerica. The caves of Yugla have revealed the earliest examples of cultivation, the squash, maize and bean seeds signifying the transition of ancient people from hunter-gatherers to settled communities. Take a detour to the sleepy village of Santa Mariá del Tule to see the awe-inspiring 2,000 year old cypress tree in the grounds of their church. Oaxaca is a craft-lover’s El Dorado and you may find yourself re-organising your luggage to squeeze in your treasured purchases. Throughout the state the artisans of the indigenous communities continue the traditions of their ancestors to create magnificent works of art; intricately carved black pottery, sacred hearts and dancing skeletons in embossed tin, sumptuous satchels and huaraches in leather, cheerful piñatas and fantastical alebrijes in papier-mâché, exquisite woven and embroidered textiles. These can be purchased at the Benito Juarez market or better yet in one of the co-operatives that supports the craftspeople such as La Casa de Artesanías de Oaxaca or the Oaxacan Institute of Craftspeople (ARIPO). Fiestas are synonymous with Mexico and once again Oaxaca is the place to be to join in and celebrate Carnaval, the Day of the Dead or the surprising Festival of Radishes. An unforgettable experience is the4

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The city is buzzing with energy and the festival includes parades, concerts, markets and exhibitions. There is a dizzying array of music, dance, costume, crafts, cuisine and of course – mezcal! Impromptu performances are seen on the cobbled streets and plazas as the young dancers are easily cajoled by the adoring crowds, their colourful skirts mesmerizing as they swirl and twirl through the colonial city. Many of the dances are about earnest suitors trying to capture the hearts of disinterested beauties whose heads are easily turned by swaggering rivals and raucous laughter ripples through the crowds as hilarity ensues. These delegations of dancers and musicians travel from Oaxaca’s eight regions and are selected to perform their wonderful traditional folkloric dances to delighted crowds of locals and tourists. At the end of each dance gifts are thrown into the crowds such as tortillas, ears of corn, fruit and chocolate. Not to be missed is the magnificent ‘Baile de Pina’ or ‘Dance of the Pineapple’ performed by the women of Tuxtepec in their vibrant woven tunics and if you are lucky you may catch one of the pineapples hurled into the adoring crowds after their performance. Another

remarkable performance is given by the communities from the Tehuantepec Isthmus. The women are lovingly compared to peacocks because of their extravagant gala costume, with white lace head-dresses, gorgeous ribboned hairstyles festooned with tropical flowers, glittering gold filigree jewellery and breathtakingly embroidered traditional dress which was made famous by Frida Kahlo. If you are inspired by the costumes on stage then make sure to visit the Encuentro Artesanal which is organised to coincide with the Guelagetza. Here you can meet the artisans who travelled from across the state of Oaxaca to attend the event. You will discover how proud the craftspeople are of their heritage and traditional skills passed down through generations of women. The textiles at the Encuentro Artesanalare a symphony of vibrant colours and the range of patterns and motifs is mesmerising. Many of the marvellous blouses, huipiles, tunics, skirts and dresses take over a year to create as they are embroidered by hand or woven on back-strap looms. The women often describe the cultural significance of the textiles to their communities, if they are worn at baptisms, weddings, ceremonies, festivals, to go to the market or to receive visitors in the home. Most interesting of all, the women emphasise that embedded in the colours, designs, warp, weft and stitches of their woven and embroidered textiles are their own personal expressions of creativity, emotion, and memory. ••• Rebecca Devaney

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Alamy images

spectacular Guelaguetza festival. It is a Pre-Hispanic ceremony that means ‘gift’ in the ancient Zapotec language and gives thanks to the gods through music, dance and offerings. The major celebration is held in the huge open-air auditorium on Cerro del Fortin in Oaxaca City over two consecutive Mondays in July.


CASA AZUL Frida Kahlo’s Private Universe

‘Never in life will I forget your presence. You found me torn apart and you took me back, full and complete’ – Frida Kahlo

Located in one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in Mexico City, the Blue House was made into a museum in 1958, four years after the death of the painter. Today it is one of the most popular museums in the Mexican capital. Popularly known as the Casa Azul (the ‘Blue House’), the Museo Frida Kahlo preserves the personal objects that reveal the private universe of Latin America’s most celebrated

woman artist. The Blue House also contains some of the painter’s most important works: Long Live Life (1954), Frida and the Caesarian Operation (1931), and Portrait of My Father Wilhelm Kahlo (1952), among others. In the room she used during the day is the bed with the mirror on the ceiling, set up by her mother after the bus accident in which Frida was involved on her way home from the National Preparatory School. During her long convalescence, while she was bedridden for nine months, Frida began to paint portraits. At the foot of the bed – a reminder of those days – are the portraits of Lenin, Stalin, and Mao Tsetung. In the studio is the easel given to Frida by Nelson Rockerfeller, along with her brushes and books, and in her night-time bedroom is a collection of butterflies – a gift of the Japanese sculptor Isamu Noguchi – as well as a portrait of her by her friend 4

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Alamy Images

As one explores Frida Kahlo’s work more deeply and enjoys the privilege of getting to know her home, one begins to discover the intense interrelations between Frida, her work, and her house. Her creative universe is to be found in the Blue House, the place where she was born and where she died. Following her marriage to Diego Rivera, Frida lived in different places in Mexico City and abroad, but she always returned to her family home in Coyoacán.


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The Blue House was transformed into a synthesis of Frida and Diego’s tastes and their admiration for Mexican art and culture. Both painters collected traditional folk art with a sure aesthetic sense. Diego in particular had a love for pre-Hispanic art, as seen in the decoration of the gardens and the Blue House interior. Frida’s home was turned into a museum because both she and Diego cherished the idea of donating their works and possessions to the Mexican people. Diego asked the poet and museographer Carlos Pellicer to redesign

the space so that the house could be opened to the public as a museum. In November 1955, Pellicer described the house in the following terms: ‘Painted blue within and without, it seems to harbor a little bit of sky. It is the typical tranquil village house where good food and deep sleep give one the energy needed to live without serious alarms and to die in peace.’ Diego also lived in the Blue House for long periods. It was the muralist who ended up buying the property, paying off the mortgages and debts left by Guillermo Kahlo. Frida’s father had been an important photographer during the Porfiriato, but his fortunes had declined in the wake of the Revolution. Moreover, the medical costs incurred as a result of Frida’s accident left the family in debt. Built in 1904, the house is not particularly spacious. It now has a constructed surface area of 800 square meters on a lot of 1,200 square meters. According to historian Beatriz Scharrer, Guillermo Kahlo (who had been born in the Austro-Hungarian Empire) built the house in the style of the age: a central patio surrounded by the rooms. The exterior was designed in a thoroughly French style. It was Diego and Frida who later gave the house its distinctive air and who imprinted on it – by means of colours and traditional decorative elements – their admiration for the indigenous peoples of Mexico. Beatriz Scharrer has explained how the construction underwent certain modifications over the years. When the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky lived with Diego and Frida in 1937, the blue painted exterior 4

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Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera Archives. Bank of Mexico, Fiduciary in the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Museum Trust

and lover, the photographer Nickolas Muray. Every object in the Blue House tells us something about the painter: the crutches, corsets and medicines attest to her physical sufferings and the many operations she had to undergo. The ex-votive tablets, toys, clothing, and jewelry reveal a Frida who was obsessed with hoarding objects. The house itself speaks of the artist’s daily life. The kitchen, for example, is typical of Mexican colonial houses, with clay pots hanging on the wall and casserole dishes set out on the range: a testimony to the variety of cuisine prepared in the Blue House. Both Frida and Diego enjoyed offering their guests a whole range of traditional Mexican dishes. Many prominent cultural figures and outstanding artists gathered around the dining table: André Breton, Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Leon Trotsky, Juan O’Gorman, Carlos Pellicer, José Clemente Orozco, Isamu Noguchi, Nickolas Muray, Sergei Eisenstein, Dr. Atl, Carmen Mondragón, Arcady Boytler, Gisèle Freund, Rosa and Miguel Covarrubias, Aurora Reyes, and Isabel Villaseñor, among many others.


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walls were erected to enclose a newly-purchased lot of 1,040 square meters now occupied by the garden, thereby affording the Soviet intellectual a measure of protection from the pursuit of Joseph Stalin’s hired assassins. In 1946 Diego Rivera asked Juan O’Gorman to build a studio for Frida, proposing that he use local materials such as basalt, the volcanic stone employed by the Aztecs to build their pyramids and carve their ceremonial pieces. The studio was designed in a functionalist style and decorated with works of Mexican folk art. In this part of the house, Diego lined the ceilings with mosaics and the walls with seashells, also embedding clay pitchers in the exterior walls to provide nesting spaces for doves and pigeons. Before he died, Diego asked Dolores Olmedo, his friend and patron, not to open the bathroom of his own bedroom in the Blue House for a period of 15 years. Time passed, and Lola respected the wishes of her friend during her own lifetime. She kept the space locked up, as well as the bathroom of Frida’s bedroom, a small storage space, and various trunks, wardrobes, and drawers. Diego had left a brief inventory of the objects stored in his bathroom, but until recently nothing was known about the contents of the other spaces. For almost three years, with the support of the non-profit organisation Apoyo al Desarrollo de Archivosy Bibliotecas de México (ADABI), which provides financial aid to archives and libraries, a group of experts was able to organise, classify, and digitalise the newly-discovered collection: 22,000 documents, 6,500 photographs, magazines and periodicals, books, dozens of drawings,

personal objects, clothing, corsets, medicines, toys… The task of making this archive public coincided with the centennial celebration of Frida’s birth and the 50th anniversary of the death of Diego Rivera. The archives and objects brought to light were genuinely fascinating, providing clues that will enrich the biographies of both artists. Many scholars visiting the exhibition have commented in surprise that the stories of Frida and Diego need to be rewritten, since many suppositions have been proven false or misleading. These documents and drawings provide fascinating clues about Frida’s work. They include, for example, illustrations and drawings of the womb and the development of the human foetus, which would later be used to decorate the wooden frame of the diptych Still Life. Hidden away in the back of the closet, behind some books, was a small sketchbook containing the small but important drawing Appearances Can Be Deceiving. Stored in the same place were several drafts of the text Frida wrote about Diego (Portrait of Diego Rivera) for the tribute to the muralist held at the Palacio de Bellas Artes. The authorship of this text had been questioned (and even attributed to Alfonso Reyes), but thanks to this new archive we can now be sure that Frida herself wrote it. All this is preserved in Frida’s house, a building that constitutes a living spring of passionate experiences. ••• Hilda Trujillo The Frida Kahlo Museum, Londres 247, Del Carmen, Coyoacán, 04100 Ciudad de México, CDMX, Mexico www.museofridakahlo.org.mx

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LOUD AND CLEAR Voices of Industry speaks of heirloom fibres


Stockton, California-based weaver Adele Stafford is revitalising the industry by slowing it down: she not only collaborates with American farmers who raise sheep and grow cotton, but also weaves cloth from these natural fibers entirely by hand, using an 18th century dobby loom. Her Voices of Industry project – and label – tells stories via textiles, stories that are composed by farmer and weaver together. Stafford named her endeavour after the Voices of Industry (VOI) newspaper, written and produced by workers during the American Industrial Revolution in Lowell, Massachusetts, from 1845-1848. VOI, with its emphasis on workers' and womens’ rights under industrialism, found a readership in the ‘Factory Girls’ who comprised some 75 percent of the labourers at the Lowell cotton mills. When the union leader Sarah Bagley became editor of the paper, she introduced a ‘Female Department’, inviting women to write and air their concerns. In the spirit of Bagley, Stafford's Voices of Industry cultivates a relationship between producers and product. As she writes in her mission statement: ‘We consider the farmers who grow cotton and wool as co-conspirators and friends. We invest in the independent grower, the biodynamic alchemist and the punk rock shepherdess. Our work is an extension of agriculture and we care deeply about that origin.’ Stafford began Voices of Industry in 2013, after leaving her job in corporate design. Although 4


Stafford is part of the slow fashion movement; not only must she take three-to-four days to ‘dress’ her loom, but also the hand-weaving process is such a physically rigorous activity that she limits herself to five hours a day. Each month she is able to complete 15-20 pieces. And before she can even sit at the loom she must harvest her raw materials and spin them into yarn. She has famously collaborated with skilled farmers, like Sally Fox at her Viriditas Farm, Capay

‘I believe that in order to really understand the material,’ Stafford continued, ‘I need to see it in situ before processing begins. And naturally, the stories of the people who cultivate the fiber influences how the fiber will take shape. My interest in these stories has shifted and has become more focused during the last few years. I am increasingly interested in the historical and cultural context of these fiber stories, tethering them to their historical arc.’ Stafford's current work is informed by her move from California to North Carolina. ‘Our move was timed with a litany of deeply challenging political events in the United States and the Deep South,’ she said. ‘My work was influenced by this upheaval and opened an interesting opportunity to focus more on issues of race and class in fiber farming. I've deepened my research in this transition and freed myself up to work on cloth that doesn't necessarily end up as a garment.’ 4

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Credit

Today Stafford weaves on an Ahrens & Violette 16-shaft mechanical dobby loom, made in Chico, California. ‘I am drawn to the mechanical dobby for its place in history, invented just after the Jacquard mechanism,’ she wrote in an email. ‘Much of my curiosity with craft toggles between technology and the purity of the hand. The mechanical dobby allows for embracing a bit of both, without being tethered to the grid.’ Stafford continued, ‘I am still forced to methodically plot out pattern using graph paper and setting the pattern through metal pegs along wooden bars. The tactile nature of the process keeps me viscerally connected to the transition from the material of yarn, to the finished cloth.’

Valley, California, which produces organic cotton in its natural colours; and Seth and Sharon Dubuc at Black Thorn Farm, Sandy Mush, North Carolina, who breed English sheep. The farmers' presence – and their stories – are very much part of each textile and garment Stafford creates. ‘I think of my work as being entirely rooted (forgive the pun) in agriculture,’ she said. ‘This original inquiry came from a disconnect I felt between yarn I would buy and the material origin of the fiber. In short, I couldn't easily link the two and this irked me.’

Leslie Williamson

her formal training was in glass-blowing at the Rhode Island School of Design, she had learned to weave as a child and decided to take a class to see whether weaving might give her direction. As she told One Kings Lane, ‘the first time I sat down at the loom again, I felt like I was at home.’


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Although she has since returned to live in California, her interest in the surrounding southern farm culture continues. ‘I'm more drawn to multi-generational farming stories, those that have struggled with maintaining that way of life,’ she said. ‘My most recent work is entirely focused on cotton in the Deep South. I’m feeling more emboldened about confronting challenging issues in the work.’ When Stafford conceives of a piece, the garments are typically informed by the fiber and resulting cloth. ‘Once I harvest the fiber, I design the yarn based on the story I want the material to tell,’ she said. ‘Once yarn is in hand, I spend a good amount of time sampling weaving patterns to further the narrative. From there, the cloth is woven and the garments are cut and sewn.’

Rinne Allen

She works with Jisun Lee, who she calls her ‘meticulous pattern maker and tailor’, to finish each garment marked out on her week's worth of cloth. And the completed garments are breathtaking, with their buckled, Black Thorn wool giving shape to a boxy pullover; a blonde cotton tunic and two-tone striped cotton T-shirt emerging from Sally Fox's organic cotton.

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It can take a long time for Stafford to complete a piece, so when a garment is finished, it includes information on the farmer and weave, allowing customers to appreciate its history. And every time the cloth is worn, the customer continues to add to its narrative, intertwining farmer, weaver and wearer. • • • Kate Cavendish


OUT OF AFRICA Polly Leonard gets to know Mungo’s magnificent new mill

Based in South Africa, Mungo is a homeware textile company that creates heirloomquality woven goods. Decades since they first opened in a local dairy building, they’ve moved into their new custom-built mill in Old Nick Village, where Polly Leonard caught up with them after the big move‌

books over the years and he translated his vision through images and references. We refined the design over a number of meetings and bottles of Castle Milk Stout.With Andrea being Italian there was also delicious parmesan cheese and excellent balsamic vinegar thrown in for good measure. It was a very charming process.

Polly Leonard: You're referring to the new mill as a showcase of transparent production. How does the building merge pre-industrial methods with present-day technology? Dax Holding: Production at the Mill combines antique looms from the pre-industrial revolution with looms made in the early eighties. Technology progression is fascinating to see in action. In five to ten years we'll look at modernising equipment and programming further, but there are definite benefits to holding on to the older machines.

What part did Poise Consulting play in it? They were the structural and civil engineers on the project, but there was a lot of overlap with the architectural function. Deon from Poise took Andrea's concept and turned it into a workable plan for the builder. He is a very dynamic and creative engineer and typically works on projects that other people might shy away from.

For one, the technology is simpler, and can be more cost-effective. The ethos behind using looms that would have been sold for scrap to is something we align with greatly. On the down side, the older equipment tends to break down and become unreliable. We're ensuring that the skill set doesn't die off with the people who know how to run the old looms. The transfer of these skills is very important and an art in itself. Talk us through your design process with architect Andrea Cristoforetti... The process happened around Andrea's kitchen counter. He has collected a lot of architectural

What materials and noteworthy design elements are showcased in the build? The external skin and the arches. The face brick detail achieved by our builder is also remarkable. We used local materials when possible, including bricks made 20km away and timber from the pine forests between George and Knysna. I'm a carpenter and cabinet maker by trade, so I have an understanding and love of wood. My personal aesthetic leans towards leaving the product untreated to weather naturally, bleaching over time to create more dimension. The wooden floors have been varnished inside to keep them from becoming very dirty, but even there we opted for a very soft finish. We also referenced some of the design elements from the old Yorkshire mills which ran on 4

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maybe this slow craft movement is a start of something a little bit different.

Concepts of sustainability, transparency and traceability are central to your company values. Why are these and the 'slow movement' so important to you? We have a huge impact on the planet as a species, largely negative, and at Mungo, we want to use some of the tools at our disposal to champion the honesty and transparency of manufacturing. This promise holds us accountable and forces us to make decisions that ultimately benefit the environment. People have lost touch with how things are manufactured but we're passionate about showcasing and valuing the process by which something has been made.

Your father, Stuart Holding, started the company 35 years ago and by all accounts sounds like a remarkable person. Can you tell us a bit more about his Mungo journey? His Mungo journey is pure passion. It is 100% desire to make a piece of fabric. He came from a very small Yorkshire town where he knew exactly what his life would be like if he stayed. He'd work at the local mill, have 2 kids, marry Sally… But he turned his back on that life and traveled the world, ending up in South Africa. With the knowledge and skills he possessed, he started re-learning weaving and creating fabrics from his own personal perspective. He really pushed the boundaries of what was possible, failing and winning, and those successes and learnings shaped the company and formed the Mungo vision.

Have you noted a movement away from rampant consumerism to something more socially and ethically connected? I have, but it really varies from person to person. It's fantastic if you live in the City Bowl in Cape Town where you can drink craft beer and you have the income to buy beautiful handmade products, but for the other 99% on the planet who are buying products based entirely on the price it's a different story. You can’t turn the tide on that or on our social, cultural and economic system: but

Who makes up the Mungo team today? Today we're a team of over 50 people, and we’ve branched out from textiles to overseeing production, admin and three retail stores, with a marketing team and the whole production outfit. My father, my sister Tessa and I make up the board of directors and we each have equal shares in the company. ••• Mungo Mill is open to the public, Old Nick Village, N2, PO Box 437, Plettenberg Bay, 6600, South Africa www.mungo.co.za Online orders are shipped internationally.

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Daron Chatz and supplied by Mungo.

water during that period. A water wheel would have powered the machines, followed by boilers and steam as technology progressed. The water feature at our mill represents that era whilst adding architectural perspective in the form of reflections of the skin.


COVER STORY The 1718 patchwork coverlet

There are not many surviving examples of 18th century patchwork, though literary references point to it being fashionable at the higher end of society. The 1718 coverlet is one of the earliest known dated pieces of patchwork making it an exceptional textile of significant historic importance. The pieced date, together with the initials ‘E’ and ‘H’, are in a centrally placed unit. Though the black fabric used for their execution has deteriorated through the years, both the date and initials would have originally stood out on the coverlet surface. In fact, the appearance of the coverlet would have been altogether more brilliant at the time of its making. Since then, the palette has become more muted with some dyes fading more than others. The coverlet was found to have been in the possession of the Brown family of Aldbourne, Wiltshire, at the time of auction. Memories and family records indicate that the coverlet had been in the family since at least the mid 1800s and the family had farmed in the area since the mid 1700s. Sadly, despite extensive genealogical

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research, and research into the area from which it is thought the coverlet originated, to date, the identity of the maker has never been found. The coverlet is not that large, measuring 169cm × 185cm, and has 182 units that form a highly complex patchwork. The fabrics used are dress fabrics, and aside from a wool velvet and a few wool/silk and linen/silk mixes, all of its materials are silks in a range of different weaves; from plain to more complex damasks, brocades and twills. The majority of the fabrics used show signs of previous use, but the silks used (over 120 in all) indicate that the household in which the coverlet was made was of reasonably high status, though not sufficiently affluent as to be able to afford the very best fabrics available. The fabrics date from the 17th and early 18th centuries, the earliest being circa 1640. The coverlet was constructed using the mosaic patchwork techniques which involved wrapping fabric around paper templates and then tacking them into place. The tacking stitches have been left in situ, but unusually, in this coverlet, the seam allowances of the fabrics have been tacked only to the papers, so no tacking stitches are visible on the surface of the coverlet. The units are then joined together with over sewing or whip stitching along the edges to make the whole. The stitching is very neat and of fine quality, indicating that the maker was likely a very fine needlewoman. It is surprising to learn that the maker chose to assemble the motifs using this method rather than appliqué, which 4

The Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles

Following its purchase at an auction in September 2000, The Quilter’s Guild of the British Isles (QGBI) immediately assembled a research team of experts to try and discover who this coverlet’s original maker was, establish a provenance and make comparisons with other similar quilts and coverlets of the same period. The ‘1718’ is referred to as a coverlet, as it is composed of patchwork units and is backed, but with no internal wadding.


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Page 42: Central trio of blocks showing the date 1718 and initials ‘E.H.’ The black silk has deteriorated, but the outline of the patchwork pieces can still clearly be seen. Previous page: The 1718 Silk Patchwork Coverlet, 169cm x 185cm, containing 182 mosaic patchwork blocks made from silks with a linen backing. Left: The Coverlet mixes simple geometric blocks with more complex pictoral ones. The lady block shown here would have been very difficult to both draw and sew, and light transmitted photography has shown this block was re-drafted from an original design with a much smaller head. would likely be the choice of today’s needlewoman. But in the 1900s, male embroiderers often carried out pictorial appliqué. The left side of the coverlet almost exactly mirrors the right, but it is difficult to know whether the maker completely planned the overall layout of the coverlet. Though some of the motifs are naïve in representation, they, nevertheless, would have presented technical challenges. It is these representational motifs in the units that are especially noteworthy and what makes this coverlet so special, regardless of the date on which it was initially created. As well as hearts, geometric and abstract shapes, there are a number of other motifs to be found here. A man and woman feature below the date, similar in style to those seen in needlework samplers of the period.Tulips feature singly and in groups of four, as well as other stylised flowers. The assortment of domesticated and game animals and birds hints at a rural location or indeed a familiarity with such. In each corner of the coverlet, there is a large heraldic-like form, and a lion and a unicorn support the central eight-pointed star. The only embroidered features are the eyes of the animals, most unlike some other coverlets of the period. The original paper templates, a mixture of handwritten and printed papers which were used in its construction, are still in place and this has no doubt helped to preserve its condition. In an attempt to reveal clues in the papers that might

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help identify the maker, soft X-ray techniques were employed but without success. However, research using transmitted light photography has been especially revealing in showing the design process for the individual units. The designs have been drawn out on paper squares, and marks and symbols were added to help with the construction process once the design had been cut up into templates, much as one might find on a dressmaking pattern today. There is evidence of re-drafting some of the more complex imagery, possibly to aid construction or to make the designs better fit the blocks. The various marks, symbols and letters help to line up the patches and ensure accuracy when stitching the pattern pieces together, and are indicative of the maker’s foreplanning, as well as her expertise and experience. Though the maker of this remarkable coverlet and its complete provenance have remained undiscovered, it has been possible, through the work of dedicated researchers, to ‘read’ the coverlet, make some wonderful discoveries, and expand our knowledge of patchwork practice of the day (or period). • • • Sue Marks Festival Of Quilts, The Natinal Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, UK, 9-12 August 2018, For £2.50 off standard advance adult tickets and £1 off concessions (£13.50 instead of £16.00 adult advance / £14.50 concessions) use code SVG18. There is a fulfilment fee of £1.95 per booking. www.thefestivalofquilts.co.uk


T H E FA B R I C O F YO U R L I F E

Textile retreats- Chateau Dumas, South of France

17-24 August 2019, Nicola Cliff of madder and Cutch, Fine Print, Screen Printing with Natural Dyes 17-24 August 2019, Lora Avedian, Blooming Marvellous,Two and Three Dimensional Fabric Flowers

24-31 August 2019, Carla and Jeremy Bonner, Bag of Tricks, Contemporary Leatherwork 24-31 August 2019, Claire Wellesley Smith, Slow Stitch, Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art M A K E O U R S TO R I E S PA RT O F YO U R S TO RY


PATCH UP The skirts that helped heal a nation

Eenheid in veelheid van lijnen en kleuren. Vormt met uw rok het saamhorig verband. In het geheel van historisch gebeuren. Tooit het ontwerp met Uw hart en Uw hand. Stempelt Uw rok met het merk Uwer dagen. Voert dat wat was en wat is in Uw Vaan. Heden-Verleden, blijmoedig gedragen. Siere Uw kleed, uw gezin, Uw bestaan.

Work into your skirt the pattern of your life. Women and girls from village and town. Shining symbol of women’s ambition. Wear it with happiness, like a flower carries its petals. Unity in many lines and colours. Create with your skirt the community of togetherness. In the totality of historical events. Show the design with your heart and your hand. Stamp your skirt with the mark of your days. Carry what was and what will be on your pennant. Present and past, carried with joy. Decorate your dress, your family, your life.

A feestrok, or ‘celebration skirt’, is a patchwork skirt that was specially made to celebrate the liberation of the Netherlands from German occupation at the end of World War Two.This particular type of skirt is also known as a bevrijdingsrok (‘liberation skirt’), levensrok (‘life skirt’) or oranjerok (‘orange skirt’). This colourful and special kind of garment has its origins in 1943, when Mrs Adrienne Minette (Mies) Boissevain-Van Lennep (1896-1965), a member of the Dutch resistance, was imprisoned by the Germans. Eventually two of her three sons were executed by the Germans, while her husband died in a concentration camp. She was initially held in a prison in Amsterdam and was then sent to Vught (located in the Netherlands) and later to Ravensbrück (in Germany) concentration camps. While in prison, Mies Boissevain-Van Lennep was secretly sent a scarf (lappendasje) made up of small pieces of cloth taken from the clothing of family and friends. This would later inspire her to develop the idea of the patchwork feestrok. Following the end of the war in 1945, she became a member of a women’s committee that decided to create a garment that represented ‘unity in diversity’ (eenheid in veelheid); ‘new from old’ (nieuw uit oud); ‘building from the broken’ (opbouw uit afbraak) and ‘one garment makes unity’ (eendracht maakt eendracht). The skirt, or feestrok, was intended to reflect the diversity, unity and rebuilding of the Netherlands after the war.

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In 1947 the national feestrok project was set in motion, in conjunction with the Internationaal Informatiecentrum en Archief voor de Vrouwenbeweging, IIAV (also known as the International Information Centre and Archives for the Women's Movement). Based on surviving records, it appears that about 4,000 skirts were eventually made and registered. But it is likely that far more were actually made and worn. Only a few of the registered skirts have survived to the present day, and most are in various public and private collections. In order for a skirt to be officially accepted and registered, it had to be made up of pieces of colourful material, deliberately sewn onto an old skirt, whereby the old skirt vanished and a colourful ‘new’ garment was created. At the front of the skirt, near the hem, there had to be at least one triangle in which ‘5 mei 1945’ (the 5th May 1945; a public holiday called ‘Liberation Day’ in The Netherlands) was embroidered. Some skirts also included other dates, relating to family or national events during the war. Each skirt was registered and the name, address and date of birth of the maker noted, both in a national archive and on individual cards. A genuine feestrok has an ink stamp on it giving the name of the project and the skirt’s registration number. The ink stamp, with its unique number, was often also embroidered. The example in the Textile Research Centre’s collection, for example, was registered to Mrs S. M. Slavekoorde, Dorp 235A, Kesteren 4

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Vlecht in uw rok het patroon van uw leven. Vrouwen en meisjes van dorp en van stad. Lichtend symbool van het vrouwelijk streven. Draagt het verheugd, als de bloem draagt haar blad.


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(northwest of Nijmegen). The skirt has the registration number 1964 embroidered onto it. Once a skirt was accepted and registered it could be worn on the 5th of May anniversaries (bevrijdingsfeest), Koninginnedag (Queen’s Day) and other important Dutch national holidays. A special song was also written in order to emphasise the symbolic meaning of the skirts. During Queen Wilhelmina’s 50th and last jubilee on the 31st of August 1948, the queen was serenaded with this song by over 1000 women, all of whom were wearing their own feestrok.

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

A few days later, on the 2nd of September 1948, a special exhibition was opened called De Nederlandse Vrouw 1898-1948 at the Houtrusthallen in The Hague. A special sticker associated with this exhibition can be seen on Mrs S. M. Slavekoorde’s registration card. It shows the figure of a woman on a pedestal. Her form and clothing is made up of the Dutch flag, while her arms are orange pennants, which symbolise the Dutch royal family. This exhibition, and in many ways the feestrok alongside it, is often regarded as the start of the ‘modern’ feminist movement in the Netherlands and an official acknowledgement of the many important and diverse roles women have played throughout the early parts of the 20th century and the Second World War. ••• Dr. Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood www.trc-leiden.nl w w w. m o d e - m u z e . n l / t h e m a s / d e bevrijdingsrok-nationale-feestrok

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WHEN I REACHED JAMAICA I MADE A STOP Jessica Ogden, a girl from Kingston town


Jessica Ogden’s time has come full circle. Quilts are being taken seriously in high-end fashion houses now, used as throws to style the home or as clothing to style oneself. A key draw is the way that quilts can ‘relate to the emotions of a consumer’, says designer Emily Bode. In May 2018 French company A.P.C. launched its Round 14 collection of quilted throws and cushions designed by Jessica, and is recognised as being part of those leading this recent ‘new found’ affection for quilts. A.P.C. Founder, Jean Touitou, sees quilts as being ‘intrinsically linked to the past’, a sentiment that Jessica has channeled through her fashion and home-ware designs for some 28 years. For Jessica, quilts, quilting and patchwork, the re-use and repurposing of pre-used fabrics into garments and accessories were bedrock techniques of her London studio from 1993 to 2006. Jessica shared with potential buyers the importance of the personal and of lives lived, by teaching them that all this matters; that you can literally wear past-present connections. Jessica still hears from customers who bought Kimonos from her during that period, relating how they had kept and patched them, stitching again and again over the quilt’s original stitches. As Jessica has said: ‘Finding an antique quilt, being inspired by it, knowing it’s had a life before and that it’s going to go through this life with you, it will have a whole new life afterwards.’ What this aspect of Jessica’s practice illustrates is the ability to reflect personal history, quietly, 4


through making. It is not about wearing one’s life on one’s sleeve, but understanding that we carry history with us. In the production of garments through these techniques, she produces textiles that in turn envelop the body. What Jessica understands, and still wants to share, is that this is what contributes to individuality, something that you can wear. Now through such textiles, which include her ever-evolving range of patchwork quilts, Jessica continues to reflect on and project history, a quiet narrative on time that can define one’s home. Jessica’s contribution to making was narrated in the 2017 exhibition Jessica Ogden: Still, held in a vacant shop on Church Street in North West London. It entwined the extensive archive of her designs, graphics, photography, contextual resource material and familial objects. These formed a series of themed installations that brought together pieces from the different collections Jessica produced during the 13 years of her London label, alongside solitary pieces. Creating a self-portrait through her practice, to quote Rose Garrard, to ‘archive her own history’ has also informed Jessica’s new projects. In 2018 the artist Laura Facey, curator and artist Melinda Brown, and Jessica curated an exhibition with Laura’s sculptures at the centre at Harmony Hall, the gallery established by Jessica’s mother, Annabella Ogden-Proudlock, in 1981. Jessica included navy and red quilts she had designed, held in her own and A.P.C.’s archive. These were displayed either draped over the outside


bannister of this colonial style gallery, or hanging on a gallery wall, in close proximity to the Laura’s magisterial sculptures. One powerful relationship was of a quilt hung on the wall near 62 Men and 63 Women, 2015, a cottonwood canoe filled with resin miniatures of men and women. Lacey clarifies that ‘the installation represents enslaved individuals who laboured on the Mount Plenty property in the Parish of St. Ann, Jamaica.’ The pairing was accompanied by a list of the names of the enslaved connected to the historical representation in Laura’s work on the opposite wall, facing Jessica’s quilt. These artists do not shun the past. In November 2017, Jessica worked with artist Susan Cianciolo to produce the Add On Workshop in New York as part of Susan’s exhibition Run Prayer, Run Café, Run Library: ‘Susan and I have collaborated over the years on garments. An exchange of pieces that one or the other would work on. And give back, or sell. Or keep. The workshop encouraged the idea of customisation, which we both have in our language, and to put across that a piece doesn’t need to be “finished”. The piece can continue over years.’ The duo are currently finalising a textile retreat in Jamaica this year, at Jessica’s beautiful seaside home, where eight workshop members will explore quilt making, block printing and natural dying over five days. They will ask participants to bring a piece of clothing that evokes a memory for them. This brings Jessica full circle to her current designs and their connection to what has 4


This recent collaboration is no exception. Jessica has given the collection the private title of patchwork houses, a theme that expands on a conversation she had while working on the exhibition Jessica Ogden: Still. Patchwork is an aesthetic of Jamaica’s landscape, as the patchwork homes of corrugated tin in different colours are not unlike an abstract painting. I tend to call these semi-permanent homes ‘survival patchwork’, an essential technique employed to live, to be. All this reaffirms for Jessica, the need to make. ••• Carol Tulloch

Alfredo Piola

driven her practice for so long – history, experiences, memory, collaboration, possibilities and, as she often says, ‘to dream’. This informs the A.P.C. quilts Jessica has designed in homage to the artist Josef Albers’ ‘interaction of colour’. Jessica’s ‘homage’ here is recognising the inspiration to explore and interpret through quilts and quilted cushions made in cotton, corduroy or wool, ranging from serene shades of blues, greys and taupe to rich clashes of colour that are connected through the abstract use of shapes and colour, driven by asymmetry or mirrored composition. The photographic documentation of these designs is produced through a partnership between the photographer Alfredo Piola and Jessica herself. These have taken place in Jamaica since Jessica returned to live in her place of birth in 2016. The backdrop to the quilts incorporates the varied intense beauty of Jamaica, as in the patchwork houses that vibrate across its landscape.


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A STATE OF REPAIR

The interest in the kantha quilts of Bengal is growing apace, after recent exhibitions at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Mingeikan in Tokyo, as well as a major exhibition, Kantha: Recycled and Embroidered Textiles of Bengal, at Mingei International Museum, San Diego. Kantha refers to a cotton cover embroidered on layers of used dhotis or saris. Kantha are of course collected for their beauty and fine stitchery, but what sets them apart is the vivacity of their designs. Kantha quilts illustrate the whole of life in rural and urban Bengal during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their appeal is found in the individuality and often the humour of each piece, reflecting the outlooks of Bengali housewives and mothers as they looked out in wry amusement at their society. The word kantha derives from Sanskrit and refers to rags. There is a superstition, prevalent particularly in rural Bengal, that a quilt made out of used cloth will ward off the effects of black magic. Here, kanthas are used as winter and summer quilts, covers and wraps for books and valuables, and mats for ceremonial purposes. A kantha is often stitched as a gift for a newborn, a grown-up son, or as a wedding present for a daughter. They are often inscribed in Bengali script with dedications to the bridegroom from the bride, and sometimes with thanks to those in the village who helped with the celebration. Cast-off saris or dhotis often comprise the inner layers, and a new or at least clean and un-torn

rectangle of muslin or mill-woven cloth is used for the face. The kantha may be the work of two or more generations of women, and are often treasured as family heirlooms. According to folk tradition, threads unravelled from the black and red woven borders of saris or dhotis are used to embroider kanthas. By the beginning of the 20th century though, the vast majority of kanthas were worked in store-bought thread.

wealth until they created such a glut of fine muslin that the worldwide market collapsed. Bengal still has the reputation as the producer of the finest weaves in the subcontinent, as shown by the fine Jamdani saris woven in West Bengal and around Dacca. Often even the simplest of Bengali saris and dhotis have fine woven borders, which have inspired some of the stitched patterns of kantha quilts.

Most of the figurative kanthas in the Calcutta and Dacca museums, and the Kramrisch collection in Philadelphia, were found in the districts of Khulna, Jessore and Faridpur (where the finest kanthas were produced). Though now in Bangladesh, before the Partition of British India in 1947 these districts had strong links and means of transportation to Calcutta.

To make a kantha, three or four layers of used sari or dhoti are laid on top of each other and quilted. The simple running stitch used in quilting produces an embroidery-like design, with the motif often outlined in running stitch. Typical kantha patterns from Bengal feature a lotus medallion in the centre (symbolising the universe) and four Paisley cones (known as butti or kalka) or kadamba trees at the corners. The rest is embroidered with all manner of motifs; animals, people, and domestic scenes mixed with religious and allegorical figures or even circus images. Rarely are two kanthas ever alike.

As the climate of Bengal is so hot and humid, the main item of clothing for a rural Hindu man is a dhoti; a two to four-yard length of white cloth that wraps around the lower body to form something resembling a pair of trousers. A Muslim man wears a sarong, or lungi, an anklelength cloth wrapped around the waist. The garment for a Hindu peasant woman is a short sari wrapped around the waist and draped over an otherwise unclothed bosom. For both men and women, the fabric used is muslin, since coolness is at a premium. Bengal has been famed for its fine weaving since Roman times. In the 18th century, the British, among others, ‘mined’ Bengal for its woven

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These textiles were often created at the end of the monsoon season. This was the time for airing out clothes and quilts in the sun and during this process, worn saris, lungis, and dhotis were set aside to be made into kanthas. This craft was always done during a woman’s spare time, after all of her domestic work was done, the cattle and chickens fed, and the necessary work on the family’s rice crop completed. A rural Bengali woman would always rise early and get as much done during the cool hours of the morning as 4

Gift of Stephen Huyler, Photography Don Tuttle

The culture of kantha in Bengal


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Previous page: Wallet Cover (Durjani Kantha), Early 20th Century, Bangladesh/India, Cotton Opposite: Cover (Kantha), 20th Century, Bengal, India Cotton

Though most folk art is an exercise in repeating what has gone before, with minor variations, each Bengali kantha is unique in terms of its pattern and design. Motifs range from household and farm goods to means of transportation, places of worship, local and colonial figures, and literary and political heroes. Some designs reflect the development of an Anglo-Bengali culture and the influence of nearly two centuries of British rule. Accordingly, kanthas feature Queen Victoria, Shakespeare, government stamps and bonds, medals from the many wars in which the British Indian Army fought, and very often sepoys; soldiers of that same army. Other Western allusions include images of Lenin, American sailors, and, from the 1960s, Indian goddesses who strike poses much like Marilyn Monroe. Their humour is often quite wry: for instance, in one kantha a stout English clergyman weighing down a pony is surrounded by figures of distinctly underfed Bengali men. Most designs, though, are indigenous in origin. The rath (or chariot) of Vishnu or Jagannath, pulled with long ropes and featuring images of the deities, is a particular favourite. Other kanthas include Muslim water sellers with their leather sacks, or famous temples and mosques. Most common however, especially in the kanthas from rural West Bengal, are scenes of village life,

replete with farming implements. Trains are a favourite motif in late 19th and early 20th century kanthas, and sometimes this imagery is so crudely executed that one wonders whether the embroiderer had ever seen a real train, or only a picture in a children’s book. In stark contrast, some of the most sophisticated kanthas are from the great city of Calcutta. Depictions of famous monuments, often with such scenes as a Bengali baby being pushed in an expensive Silver Cross perambulator, have an inherent charm. Kanthas from Calcutta also often contain sophisticated visual puns in English, reflecting the distinctive Anglo-Bengali culture. For instance, a marriage quilt might have a design of birds and bees embroidered in the centre, where the flowering lotus usually appears. There are many purely Muslim quilts as well. In these, Hindu religious imagery has been replaced with specifically Muslim images, such as the Taj Mahal or the star and crescent. Kanthas from rural West Bengal also tend to be worked in black, red, and white thread. Motifs range from horses, birds and elephants to palanquins for carrying ladies, to betel leaf, areca nut cutters, and rosewater containers – the impedimenta for indulging in the stimulant and known as paan. Indeed, no list of kantha images can be comprehensive. There are also tantric snakes, suns, swastikas and religious structures. Means of transportation include airplanes and boats, an ever-present sight on the river-strewn landscape of Bengal. Images of the gods include Krishna,

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Hanuman,Vishnu’s and Lakshmi’s footprints, along with Kali; the fierce manifestation of Durga. Animals portrayed on kanthas include monkeys, tigers, leopards (a constant threat), peacocks and fish, an essential part of the Bengali diet, even for vegetarian Hindus. Kantha making in both West Bengal and particularly Bangladesh is now being revived. Embroidered, quilted hangings are made with new cloth using old designs, the best of them expressing some of the lively views of nature of the older kanthas. These new kanthas are aimed at the tourist market. In former times, kanthas were often made for a price, but they were the work of a particular woman, commissioned by a rich patron. Now, standardised kanthas are made under the auspices of women’s organisations in Bangladesh and West Bengal for a market of customers who are unknown to the makers. In the former case, the maker-patron relationship allowed for a quirky design; in the latter, the maker has to conform to a tightly controlled set of design and colour instructions laid down by the organisation. These kanthas are now for sale at various emporiums in Bangladesh and West Bengal; and the designs of those in West Bengal feature many exclusively Hindu motifs, reflecting the demands of today’s urban Indian market. ••• John Gillow Kantha: co-published with Radius Books and Mingei International Museum, Texts by John Gillow, Pratapaditya Pal, Courtenay McGowen and Rob Sidner, ISBN: 9781942185192, $60.00

Gift of Courtenay McGowen, photographer Don Tuttle

she could. The middle of the day would be devoted to kantha making; the dry, sunny days of winter ideal for this purpose. This largely died out by the 1920s, owing to the pressures of industrialisation and changes in rural life.


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IN THE JUMBLE The afterlife of second-hand clothes

A child’s sweatshirt lies on a dusty pile of fabrics in an antiques shop in Pushkar. Printed across the front is the worn logo ‘Domingo’; a tobacco brand from Poland. What makes the little jumper stand out is not the fact that tobacco merchandise has been created in such a small size, or how this jumper has travelled so far from its origin, but the colourful hand embroidery that embellishes the shoulders and areas of the sleeves. Vibrant chain stitches decorated with fragments of mirrors show the unique embroidery of the Rabari, a community from Gujarat known for their bright clothing. Displaced from its original context, this tiny artefact suggests something of its journey; mass produced, aged by wear, discarded, found and then poetically embellished for its second life, its afterlife. An item of clothing may have multiple lives before finally reaching the rag pile. From first purchase in the UK, a garment may undergo several cultural and geographical shifts before becoming landfill or rag to be shredded for insulation. Multi-layered currents of second-hand clothing circulate around the world, from evolving trends in collectable vintage to the mountains of unwanted clothing generated by an accelerating fashion industry. At the top of the pile, changing trends on the catwalks and in culture fetishise styles and logos from specific time periods and disparate locations. Vintage sourcers scour the globe for a diminishing source of rare vintage, ‘the real deal’

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Left: Clothing is sorted by colour before being recycled in a textile factory in India

to sell on to fashion houses for inspiration in cut, detail or pattern. In this unlikely way, the afterlife of a vintage garment may continue to drive the industry forward. Helena Gavshon, a pioneer in vintage textile design, describes how the locations for sourcing have changed over 30 years in the industry. Helena explains: ‘Our focus has changed from sourcing in Europe to much further afield as the demand has changed from familiar florals to global pattern and embellishments. This embraces less European looking prints, techniques and fabrics which inspire our clients to trigger new trends in the clothing industry.’ Helena goes on to explain that Japanese vintage has been dominant in the industry for the past ten years due to the exceptional level of craftsmanship. Whilst Japanese vintage is popular in the UK, American vintage is the favourite in Japan, particularly 1950s denim, first introduced by American Marines after World War Two and popularised by Japanese youth culture. It is not only rare one-off pieces that will find a second life in the fashion industry. Recent trends have created a new ‘vintage’ era filled with mass produced sportswear and designer labels. Menswear designer, Gosha Rubchinskiy creates collections channelling post-Soviet streetwear, exploring Russia’s adoption of Western consumerism, complete with counterfeit logos. Collaborating with brands such as Levis, Dr Martens and Adidas, he creates new looks with a heavily nostalgic feel and in doing so fuels an expanding market of nineties vintage. Influential

site Wavey Garms has been instrumental in developing the context for this new vintage market. It began as a facebook group for likeminded people to trade nineties rave clothing. Now second-hand Versace, Moschino and Lacoste fill the London store, creating a portal to a bygone era. The flurry of e-commerce sites has created a global platform for this new vintage scene to flourish, free from the retro connotations previously associated with the industry. Lucky Girl Vintage, an online shop based in Krakow, specialises in this style of vintage sourced from local second- hand stores. Many of the items in the store were originally sold in the UK, before being exported to Poland as second-hand and now sold back to a fashionable UK Market through careful styling and marketing. In his fascinating book Clothing Poverty: The Hidden World of Fast Fashion and Second-hand Clothes, Dr Andrew Brooks explores the function of this process of rebranding; ‘Vintage clothing is curated, as, like an ancient museum artefact or an artwork on display, it has to be carefully situated and presented to the consumer so as to maximize its symbolic value.’ The cultural context created by the vintage industry creates value from our waste, transforming a tonne of second hand clothes to retail at around £20,000 for collectable items, as opposed to £25 per tonne for recycling grade garments by clothing recycling organisations such as Choice Textiles or Oxfam Wastesavers.

Although we may wishfully think that all of our past purchases may one day be collectable, in truth only around 10% of clothing donated to charity will be retailed again in the UK.The remainder will begin a complex and uneasy journey across continents. Our love of fashion has created an embarrassing bulge in our wardrobes, which will inevitably end up in a bag for the charity shop. As we attempt to navigate the transient fashion trends that drive the industry, old garments in perfect condition are no longer considered wearable. This idea of ‘donating’ and ‘recycling’ has provided western consumers with a guilt free solution to their overconsumption. But where are these out-of-date micro trends and one-off party dresses actually going? Sustainable fashion journalist, Lucy Siegel, has conducted extensive research on the journey of second-hand clothes and shares her observations in her book To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World? Siegel describes a surreal sight in the Mali dustbowl of local men wearing women’s trench coats in pale colours with three-quarter length sleeves, which she recognises as a fashion she had subscribed to a few Spring / Summers previously. Dr Brooks also shares some firsthand observations from Papua New Guinea: ‘Second-hand clothing gets used in unusual ways. In one Highlands village men took to wearing flowing ladies’ floral dressing gowns, garments that became a way to show off; it was a statement associated with masculinity that was completely divorced from the gowns’ previous symbolic value.’ Halfway 4


Dr Brooks provides some eye-opening statistics: ‘The UK is the second largest exporter in the world. In 2013 it exported $612 million (or 350,000 tonnes) of used clothing, the top five donations were Poland, Ghana, Pakistan, Ukraine and Benin.’ Across Africa huge mountains of exported clothes become known as salaula (literally meaning ‘selecting through rummaging’ in Zambia), roupe da calamidade (‘clothing of calamity’ in Mozambique), kafa ulaya (‘the clothes of the dead whites’). Although previously these imports were thought to provide affordable clothing, increasing volume and reduced quality combined with the availability of cheap new garments has lead to African nations imposing restrictions on the influx. Salaula prevents the local garment industry from developing, impacting cultural heritage and traditional dress. Badly sorted bundles have led to bans on importing second-hand underwear in Uganda. India, another major consumer of UK export, now requires traders to have a licence to import wearable secondhand clothing which states that all garments cannot be sold on in the country and must be re-exported to protect the garment trade, predominantly on to Africa. Donating clothes to charity is not without problems, but these organisations continue to

rely on good quality donations to survive. For some smaller organisations this reliance is more transparent. In a warehouse in Calais, the team from Help Refugees spend all day sorting donations to be distributed first-hand to those in crisis. The criteria for what can be distributed here is specific, but unsuitable donations will also be passed on to UK groups providing support in Syria and Greece or occasionally be sold to buy much needed supplies. Freya Abbott, Donations Coordinator describes: ‘People tend to prefer darker coloured clothing as it can help them keep safe if they are trying to hide. People also tend to prefer skinny jeans to wide leg jeans and items that are considered fashionable… Being able to choose your own clothes, you get some autonomy which otherwise may be hard to come by. The demographic in Calais is mainly teenage boys, so fashion is also important, which is why sports brands are well favoured.’ To donate responsibly we must avoid using charity collections as waste disposal or wash bins. Our behaviour as consumers can also have a valuable impact on the circulation of unwanted clothes. By choosing to buy second hand clothing we can take small steps in closing the loop of overproduction, as well as providing financial support for these charitable organisations. Through buying highquality items and looking after them responsibly, these garments can go on to have a meaningful second life. ••• Sophie Vent www.help refugees.org/donate-goods

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Photograph © Tim Mitchell and Lucy Norris

across the world our carefully curated fashion choices have lost their original context, and have created profound cultural impact.


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ON THE HOME FRONT

In the Appalachian mountains, the Eastern Continental Divide that stretches from Maine to Georgia, women have been perfecting the art of weaving for centuries, and today Jessica Green draws on this heritage to create contemporary textile heirlooms that celebrate the power and craft of what is traditionally known as ‘women’s work’. Living and working in Appalachia, Green is a household weaver who works with a handloom to create Colonial American coverlets. With traditional designs and techniques she integrates her work with her lifestyle, raising her own sheep, spinning their wool and foraging for natural dyes. It’s no accident that she is a native

of Texas who has made her home in North Carolina. The area around Asheville has a reputation for craft stretching back to the 1930s with the founding of Black Mountain College. The curriculum there emphasised holistic learning and art as central to liberal arts education, attracting students including weaver Anni Albers who took up residence when the Nazis closed the Bauhaus in 1933. The school enjoyed a prestigious reputation until its closure in 1957.The history and legacy of Black Mountain College are preserved by the Black Mountain College Museum and Arts Centre and by Green at her Cabbage School. www.alittleweather.com

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Rinne Allen

Jessica Green’s Hand-work


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FOLD UNFOLD The American coverlet

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When compared with European or Asian cultures, America’s is still in its infancy. Yet it does have a unique history, not the least of which is particular to the American coverlet. A coverlet is defined as an ornamental covering for the bed, woven both for warmth and decoration. Coverlets were also regarded as status symbols, often listed in estate inventories and wills. Following the Revolutionary War in the late 1770s, and leading up to the American Civil War during the 1860s, household textile production became an integral part of America’s developing economic and political independence.

Maria C. Modlin

During a 20th century revival of hand-weaving in America, there was a growing interest in collecting woven pieces and the knowledge of how they were created before all was lost. That effort was encouraged by weavers like Mary Atwater and Marguerite Davison, whose books, still widely used today, became trusted guides to weaving these loom-controlled overshot patterns with names such as the Star of Bethlehem, Double Chariot Wheel, Nine Stars and Table, Cat Track and Snail Trail, Lover’s Knot, and Blooming Leaf.The patterns provided a common visual language that was used by weavers across the US and across time.

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The woven American coverlet became the focus of a project titled Fold Unfold, conceived by anthropologist Susan Falls and textile artist Jessica Smith, colleagues from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, USA. When they sent out the call for participation, they wanted 4


Over 100 artists, designers, students and modern weavers submitted a total of 54 coverlets to Fold Unfold. The project catalogue opens with remarks by Sarah Kate Gillespie, Curator of American Art at the Georgia Museum of Art at the University of Georgia, and Catharine Ellis, textile artist and educator. Ellis writes, ‘I never truly appreciated the overshot coverlet until I wove my own,’ a thought that was echoed by participant and weaver Robin Clayton who found the process ‘hard and time-consuming’, adding that the project pushed her to be a better weaver. Janice Lessman-Moss ‘embraced the challenge of creating a coverlet as a sign of respect for the traditional American artifact.’ Homage was clearly being paid to the past and in particular to the skills and discipline involved in spinning, dyeing, and weaving – all of which are required to produce a coverlet. Working within the limits outlined in the prospectus, the resulting coverlets for Fold Unfold varied greatly in colour and pattern. Ways in which the black, grey and white were used

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unsettled the entire appearance of each weaving. Which part was the warp? Which was the tabby? Which was the pattern weft? While honouring the traditional American coverlet, Fold Unfold was unafraid to bring heritage craft up to speed on contemporary experimentation. Faculty and students from the University of North Texas, for instance, made a coverlet with each student incorporating their own grey yarn into the piece, resulting in subtle colour changes that reflected the coverlet’s collaborative nature. This decidedly modern approach to the coverlet was echoed by Gabrielle Duggan, Robin Haller, and William Storms who referenced working on computer assisted looms, again connecting the past and present, old and new. The Fold Unfold coverlets were shown at the Lyndon House Arts Center in Georgia, where the coverlets were folded and stacked to form pillars. Each was ritually unfolded, revealing the work in its entirety after which the coverlets were re-stacked to form a minimalist sculpture. A second exhibit took place at the Wellington B. Gray Gallery in North Carolina. The gallery was filled with pedestals that varied in height and size, on which the coverlets were folded. This project elevated each work to a position of honour, a coveted status for an important cultural textile tradition and one that has been minimised for too long. • • • Catherine Billingsley Fold Unfold: A Project by Susan Falls and Jessica Smith, CreateSpace, 2017, £10.00, ISBN-10: 1548165727

Jessica R. Smith

to emphasise the op-art nature of the coverlet’s traditional geometric pattern, and to give their chosen weavings a distinctive, more contemporary appearance. When considering submissions for the project, Falls and Smith asked that the yarn palette be reduced to only black, grey and white. Participants could work from any historically recorded pattern or combination of patterns, create a new pattern inspired by history, or invent a draft of their own design.


   



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PLASTIC FANTASTIC Bags and baskets made from plastic

Practical and colourful, strong and fun, plastic baskets are produced in various places in the world, from Mexico to Vietnam. More often than not, they combine the know-how of traditional basketery weaving and a contemporary, industrial material: plastic thread, or plastic ribbon. Declining natural resources can partly explain this design evolution – as would economic factors, since an industrial or semi-industrial factory produces cheaper baskets than those that are hand-woven with vegetable fibers by skilled craftspeople. Another positive aspect of these accessories is that the maker can avoid the tedious work of planting, picking, cutting, softening and skinning the stems: plastic thread is an industrial product available in rolls or skeins. And this plastic bag is not only cheap and strong but, because of its bright colours, it is also a seductive item. In some cases, vegetable fibers and plastic thread can be woven together and mixed in order to add colour to the monochromatic straw. It is important to note that traditional weaving techniques are respected, even when baskets are manufactured in a factory, with handles or bottoms being secured the same way as they would in a woven straw bag. Traditional shapes are often followed and copied in plastic to the point that, for example, Miao and Hmong minorities in China or Vietnam, who are so used to carrying wicker panniers on their backs, use them when going to markets or working in fields. Today, they can find exact replicas in colourful, woven plastic. However, from an ecological point of view, this evolution of baskets made of plastic instead of straw is less satisfying, to say the least. Right now, we stand far from a biodegradable product crafted with surrounding local plants. That is the actual worldwide dilemma. ••• Edited extract from De La Tête Aux Pieds by Catherine Legrand, Éditions de la Martinière, 2017, €35.00, ISBN: 9782732480008, www.editionsdela-martiniere.fr

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TITLE Sub head

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TRAILER PARK TREASURE Setting up camp with Ruth Ribeaucourt


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Since 2010, Ruth has lived with her family in the south of France. Originally from Ireland, as a child she enjoyed making jewellery, taught by her orthodontist father, but she ended up studying Business and French at university, having witnessed first-hand growing up how difficult life could be for artists. She eventually became head of marketing and publicity for Disney. Then her son was born at the height of the financial crisis and she decided to take a sabbatical and slow things down, moving to the village of Lacoste where she and her husband had met. During the first Christmas there, Ruth discovered that her in-laws had been making haute couture ribbons since 1864. The family opened up their archives to her, replete with books of ribbons and ribbon samplers. She asked for a box to play with and was given cut velvet 1870s ribbons with gold thread. Realising they were museum pieces, she felt a grave responsibility to make something beautiful and wearable. She made jewellery, which sold well, and began investing in materials and learning about textiles and new techniques: handmade lace versus

chemical lace; how to identify silks; reaction to adhesives; etc. One thing led to another and more than three years later she had an atelier, selling lace and trim and naturally dyed hand-printed fabrics all over the world. Over time, however, Ruth missed the social aspect of working with a large team. ‘You feed off the energy of people,’ she explains, ‘seeing what they’re responding to.’ She wanted something for the markets. And so, naturally, she decided to buy a caravan: ‘I’d always loved the idea of a moving pop-up shop.’ The 1961 aptly-named ‘Escargot’ was bought from a couple in Nimes. Despite having been all over Europe, it was immaculate, with original fittings, covers and flooring. ‘I was suckered.’ Once home, she inspected it more closely, noticing that the floor was spongy. She re-did it, after it ‘seemed so simple on Youtube.’ ‘I wanted to keep as much of the original material as possible,’ she says. It was a grand lux version and boasted nifty features, including a dust pocket and a roof that can be raised. However, the lino had to be replaced, along with orange piping on the seats. Ruth still wanted a blank canvas in which to create something deeply personal and inviting: ‘It’s my most perfect space, these are all my passions.’ Something which is abundantly clear as soon as you step inside the snug interior. The caravan is largely composed of a living area which doubles as a bedroom. One is immediately struck by the colour and warmth of the space. Ruth loves naturally dyed indigo from the 17th-

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18th century. It’s much too expensive, though, and suffers at the hands of children and dogs. So, she contacted the Designers Guild because she had ‘always wanted to combine antique textiles with a more contemporary fabric,’ and had some seat covers made. Among many other things, there are also pink cushions which are 17th-18th century ikat; 18th19th century handwoven indigos; two old pique quilts; curtains from 18th century remnants of flame ikat with tambour lace; a mosaic vase from 1920; and an 18th century fabric with a grenadine motif, patched up with 15 to 20 layers. ‘It’s like going on an archaeological dig when you find one of these,’ explains Ruth. ‘Find a loose corner of fabric and try to peek between the seams. You can sometimes find an incredible old quilt.’ She regularly visits flea markets where she finds these old fabrics. A favourite market find is a painting on the wall, done by a local artist Anna Costa. There is also, unusually, an old cotton dress about 150 years old, mended and darned countless times. ‘It tells a story,’ she says. ‘People looked after these things and passed them on.’ There is a small bathroom in the caravan and outside becomes a lovely area in which to relax, shaded from the heat of the Provencal sun, and a place where Ruth can talk easily with friends and customers. ‘I remember caravanning in County Kerry in the rain with my parents,’ she says. ‘This is not that caravan.’ Indeed, it certainly isn’t. ••• Oliver Maclennan thefrenchmuse.com

Joanna Maclennan

Ruth Ribeaucourt is not the sort of person who is easily daunted. At least, that’s the impression she gives. For not many people would buy a caravan, on impulse, without the slightest clue how to renovate one. But, as she says, the caravan ‘was just too gorgeous’, and so, having temporarily swapped cars with another parent at their children’s school, she and her husband towed it home. It was a risk worth taking.


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SHOP TALK NO 10 Jane Audas goes shopping at Cassie Mercantile

All of this fashion-historical glory is presided over by Glaswegian Graham Cassie. He has been in the business of selling vintage clothing since he was at school, aged 15, and selling at the weekends from a stall on Camden Market. Soon he was selling from a shop on the Kings Road, then Portobello Market. He did a stint designing costumes for films and videos before settling into Holland Park and opening Cassie Mercantile. Graham is a man who, in another life, would have been a curator of fashion at the V&A. He has a deep and contagious passion for vintage clothing. The clothes at Cassie Mercantile are remarkable. Submarine jackets from the 1940s. Knitted cerulean blue Japanese long johns, with red rope belts. Duck white suits from 1888, still labeled with their army issue tags. 1970s Huntsman shirts, made from cotton so fine it feels like silk. Ernest Shackleton’s jumper, plain and simple and heroic (and probably shrunken in the wash at some point). And that is just the men’s showroom. Over the road and down a mews street is a women’s collection. A sublime 1970s khaki Gucci trench coat, lined in Gucci silk

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scarves. A huge but light as a feather 1930s cotton voile scalloped skirt, in graduated pastel colours, that would have pleased Madam Vionnet. A couple of bright Celia Birtwell dresses looking across the room at the rare Ossie Clark wrap dress. And some late 1960s Yves Saint Laurent dresses next to a simple, knitted-on-huge-needles neon pink and black mohair punk jumper with no label. The real treat is being able to touch. To trace and visually unpick a seam, to feel the tweed, or to work out the construction of the extra pockets and tabs and mysteries in a secret service parka jacket. Whilst we are aware the fashion industry has been taking inspiration from vintage clothing for a long time, how fascinating it is to learn about a whole business predicated upon it. Graham’s job is to think ahead to what might take the eye of fashion designers in the future, to source it and rent it to them. It is, he says, an industry that has been democratised by the internet. To stay one step ahead of the game (and the competition) Graham needs to find and buy stock from all sorts of places and countries, always with an eye to his designer clientele and what might excite them. Cassie Mercantile opens by appointment only and hearing just a few of the names on their client list, I’m not surprised. I’d predict a riot if word got out about some of the people who have picked their way through these showrooms. Yet the real stars here aren’t the fashion-famous clients but the clothes themselves, and the stories Graham tells about them. ••• Jane Audas www.cassiemercantile.com

Claudia Brookes

Cassie Mercantile - you may not know of it. It’s an absolute treasure trove of vintage clothing in Holland Park, London, serving up inspiration to fashion design cognoscenti. In an old artist’s studio (that featured in the film Blow Up) there are rails upon rails of intriguing clothing picked with an eye to tickling the fancy of fashion designers.They either rent-to-borrow or buy the clothes, to see how they are made, what they are made of and how they might feed into future collections.


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GUDRUN SJÖDÉN TABLECLOTH A complimentary linen tablecloth for the first one hundered three-year subscribers

We spotted this beautiful linen tablecloth in the Spring Summer collection of our favourite designer Gudrun Sjödén. So we were delighted when she offered us some to give away to the first 100 three-year subscribers who subscribe or renew between 15th June and 15th August 2018. Gudrun Sjödén’s work embodies Swedish design with a green soul. She produces a stunningly creative range of fashions and home textiles in beautiful natural fibres. This perfect rectangular tablecloth will set the scene for a dinner party or afternoon tea with its Trädgårdsliv print of garden delights. The pretty colours take on an added lustre when printed on fine unbleached linen. Size: 145 x 180 cm worth £69 www.gudrunsjoden.com www.selvedge.org THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: COTTON

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The Room Service is an online curated collection of beautiful things, as seen in hotels, restaurants and design-led spaces. As well as browsing through their collection, you can book a stay at a hotel, make a reservation for dinner, read about artisan crafts or sign up for a textile printing workshop. One of The Room Service’s favourite featured makers is conservation-biologist turned textile designer, Susy Paisley. Susy creates beautiful fabrics and wallpapers imbued with nature which can be seen at a number of the wonderful The Pig hotels. The Room Service have a roll of her Cactus Mexicanos Wallpaper in Blush to give away worth £245. www.theroomservice.com

Selvedge readers a chance to win a dozen of its popular catalogues on art textiles, basketry and fiber sculpture. The collection covers an expert insight into art from the UK, Asia, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe to name a few. Essayists in the collection include Lesley Millar, MBE, Ezra Shales, PhD, and Elisabeth R. Agro, Associate Curator of American Modern and Contemporary Crafts and Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The collection is worth $415 / £300, and includes: Beyond Weaving: International Art Textiles, $45, Stimulus: Art and its Inception, $55, Of Two Minds: Artists Who Do More Than One of a Kind, $35, Retro / Prospective: 25+ Years of Art Textiles and Sculpture, $55, Influence and Evolution: Fiber Sculpture… Then and Now, $50, From Across the Pond: Contemporary Textile Artists and Basketmakers from the UK, $25, Japan Under The Influence: Innovative Basketmakers Deconstruct Japanese Tradition, $25, Sheila Hicks: Joined by Seven Artists from Japan, $25, A Scandinavian Sensibility, $25, Art of Substance, $25, Wired: Fiber-Optic Weavings and Wire Sculpture, $25. www.browngrotta.com

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British embroidery specialists Hand & Lock run a wide array of classes for beginners and novices throughout the year. Most classes take place in the central London studio over weekends, or in special venues in the likes of San Francisco, USA and Manchester, in the North West of England. Each class is taught by Hand & Lock’s own embroidery experts, and focuses on mastering the precise skills that will enable and inspire students to go on to apply their skills practically. Classes include an introduction to embroidery, tambour beading, goldwork, monogramming and more. To celebrate the creation of a new weekend class in Manchester in July 2018, Hand & Lock is offering Selvedge readers the opportunity to enjoy £360 worth of classes. This is the equivalent of two weekend classes (or a weekend class for you and a friend). To find out more about the classes available visit www.handembroidery.com/school


The Erotic Cloth: Seduction and Fetishism in Textiles, Lesley Millar and Alice Kettle’s provocative collection of essays promises, as the editors write, to ‘excite and disturb’.The book aims to examine how ‘the qualities of cloth that seduce, conceal, and reveal have been explored and exploited in art, design, cinema, politics, and dance.’ That’s a lot to cover, but Millar and Kettle succeed by assembling a diverse array of perspectives on works ranging from a 19th century marble statue of a girl in a shoulder-baring chemise to the 2007 final cut of the science-fiction film Blade Runner, from the 18th century taffeta sack-back dress to early Punk designs. With an approach that interweaves the personal, theoretical and technical, this book is a winning dialogue among eroticism, text, and textile. Millar, a professor of textile culture, curator, and weaver, and Kettle, a professor of textile arts and an embroiderer, bring their academic and creative sensibilities to this volume. Indeed, both scholars and visual artists contribute to the book, resulting in a blend of textile-as-text analysis and personal narrative. It is divided into four parts: Part I,The Representation of Cloth, includes essays on the representation of cloth in painting, marble sculpture, and film, and the eroticism that emerges when those images are ‘reworked’ into fabric. Part II, Making and Remaking the Cloth, focusses on the construction of clothing via silhouette, and embroidered embellishment. Part III,The Alternative Cloth, engages the relationship between clothing, cloth and skin, and Part IV, The Performing Cloth, details the relationship between cloth and movement, as expressed by dance, drawing, and film. Throughout the book, authors interpret their intellectual and emotional relationships with ‘erotic cloth’. Angela Maddock, for instance, uses a 16th century portrait of a tailor holding a pair of shears to engage in a discussion of Lacanian edges and of cutting fabric. Ruth Hingston writes about finding the feminine via embroidery while living and working in the masculine mining town of Kalgoorlie, Australia. Catherine Harper writes about the connections between mens’ shirts, intimacy, and mourning, using the film Brokeback Mountain and the blood-stained shirt worn by Irish nationalist James Connolly, to reference the absent bodies beneath shirts. Georgina Williams uses William Hogarth’s drawing Serpentine Curve to explore dancer Loïe Fuller’s Serpentine Dance, the undulating silhouette rendered via cloth. The book’s generous trim permits luminous images on nearly all of its glossy pages: silver embroidery scissors bound by red yarn; a detail from 18th century taffeta sleeves separated from their bodice for alteration; rows of mussel shells with red velvet peeking out. And with such a combination of word and image, this collection fulfills its promise and more: it excites, disturbs, and satisfies. • • • Kate Cavendish The Erotic Cloth: Seduction and Fetishism in Textiles edited by Lesley Millar and Alice Kettle, Bloomsbury, 2018, £22.50, ISBN: 9781474286800

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Top Susie MacMurray shell. Pallant House Gallery, Chichester 2006/7. Bottom Reiko Sudo, red cloth for the nuno corporation Japan, 1994

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Sir George Clausen (1852-1944) | The Girl at the Gate 1889 Sir George Clausen (1852-1944) Winter Work 1883-4

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Even from the early 19th century when the industrial revolution was just beginning to take hold there was a sense of sentimentality about the rural countryside. Artists, poets and authors created beautiful works full of nostalgia, carefully coloured with emotion and memory to delight the urban middle classes. This idealised view of picturesque cottages amidst lush fields replete with plump animals was almost inevitably completed by rosy cheeked yokels in smock frocks or pretty sun bonnets. But how accurate was this in comparison to the actual experience of the rural working class? This is just one of the fascinating issues raised by Rachael Worth in her book Clothing and Landscape in Victorian England, Working Dress and Rural Life. Seeking to reopen the key questions surrounding rural working dress,Worth places them within a revised framework based upon the concept that all the knowledge gathered so far from art, literature, and surviving examples is but a tiny part of the full story. For most, the experience of being an agricultural worker or rural working class during the 19th century was far from romantic. The poverty may have been less grinding than that of the factory system, but no less real. The absolute value of all or any clothing was profound. The cost to buy sometimes even secondhand garments was extremely difficult to meet, and the huge expenditure of time needed to make items for a family was often impossible especially as textile work was an important secondary income for rural workers who frequently throughout the 18th and 19th centuries made piecework items at home. The precious remnants in museum collections attest to that intrinsic value, with garments patched and darned by numerous hands as they were worn for decades by generations of a family. Each item was treasured for its worth, but also in a world where there were so few possessions and no chance to afford or procure a likeness of a family member, the garment they wore is an even more valuable keepsake. As well as tradition, rural working garments also held the identity, with a person’s role and status obvious from what they wore along with regional designs and variations indicating where they were from. The new Victorian urbanites were desperate to lose these marks of the bumpkin even if, or maybe because the new massproduced garments presented an anonymous grey uniformity. Perhaps it was the divorce from individual identity that meant that very few of these early mass-produced garments have been saved in museum collections. A huge gap has resulted in our understanding of the working clothes and working lives of the era, allowing the handmade items to be mythologised into a nostalgic ideal – an ideal that survived within William Morris’ arts and crafts movement, Kate Greenaway children’s dresses and Laura Ashley re-imaginings. • • • Sarah Jane Downing Clothing And Landscape In Victorian England, Working Dress And Rural Life by Rachael Worth, IB Tauris, 2018, £72, Selvedge readers can receive a discounted price of £30 at ibtauris.com by entering code SELVEDGE30.

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Jean Shin: Collections, Philadelphia Museum of Art, 24 March - 15 July 2018, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130, www.philamuseum.org It is a truth universally acknowledged that the more people we know, both socially and professionally, the more thinly stretched we feel; the more our nerves might feel frayed; the more our patience at being pulled hither and thither might start to unravel. Jean Shin surely recognised the relevance of such metaphors when she began her piece, Unraveling, in 2006, but as the installation gets larger and larger as the years go by, and as the ways in which we keep in touch with each other grow, the parallels have become almost unavoidable. In its latest incarnation – presented as one of six pieces (plus a video of a public art piece that relies on broken umbrellas to form an enticing canopy in a Queens, New York park) on view in Jean Shin: Collections at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – it consists of 182 sweaters donated by members of Asian American arts communities from cities across the United States, including Philadelphia. Represented by the garments’ fronts, the sweaters are laid out in a tidy grid resembling overlapping shingles, high on a gallery wall as though their threads were unspooling in a myriad of directions. The result is a loosely knit but intricate web that literally depicts the strands that connect the wearers. They stretch to find their ways to other

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sweaters that once belonged to the owners’ friends, family members and acquaintances. For the sweater donated by Hyunsoo Woo, the Museum’s Maxine and Howard Lewis Curator of Korean Art and organiser of the exhibit, that means some 40 connections; for the artist’s parents, it means precisely two: each other. They may not be a big part of this social network, but the presence of Shin’s immigrant parents is significant. She has credited their work ethic as the inspiration behind her own painstaking work and, one suspects, they are also the source of the artist’s respect for the value of commonplace things and an abhorrence to casual consumerism and waste. Both aspects are on view in this exhibition’s Worn Soles (2001) and its companion piece, Hide (2004). In the earlier piece, the bottoms of 200 pairs of men’s and women’s shoes are positioned upside down and laid in clusters to form a propulsive river of footwear that suggests a crowd of people walking down a city street. For Shin, the soles (its homonym is, of course, obvious) represent the unseen parts of a prosaic object, a side that nonetheless can suggest specific attributes (gender, economic status, physical activity level) of their owners. A few years later, Shin started thinking about the left-over pieces of the shoes. Hide is the result, a series of hanging chain-link formations that upon closer inspection reveal themselves to be leather uppers, clustered by colour 4

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the red, tan, white, brown, and black of the leather that forms a global panoply of human skin tones – and including tongues, tassels, buckles and straps.

Colour & Abstraction: Generations in Dialogue, TextielMuseum, Goirkestraat 96, 5046 GN Tilburg, The Netherlands, until 3 March 2019, www.textielmuseum.nl

Armed (2005-2009) returns to a specific demographic group: armed forces veterans. A striated patchwork of uniforms in sky blue, dusty browns, and leafy greens call to mind the settings in which the soldiers served (air, desert, jungle) while presenting a peculiar, puzzle-like landscape. In the least successful work, Spring Collection, Shin sacrifices interest and aesthetics to benefit concept, presenting the scraps of leather discarded because of their scratches, discolourations or other ‘imperfections’ that occured while making Marc Jacobs handbags.

The Dutch TextielMuseum in Tilburg, The Netherlands, is an old textile factory that used to produce woollen blankets, and is a great place to visit as during the week many of the machines, including a variety of looms (draw, jacquard, etc.) are at work. The Museum also includes a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions, and each of these reflect the historic use of the building.

But a final fashion-related piece, Pattern Folds (2009), commissioned from Calvin Klein, Inc. and suspended from a ceiling outside the gallery, is a beautiful conclusion (or entry) to the exhibition. Here, the pastel-hued fabric remnants have dimensionality, motion and a certain resemblance to kites – the perfect introduction to the promise of summer. • • • JoAnn Greco Page 86: Unraveling, 2006-09, yarn of sweaters collected from the Asian American art community, dimensions variable. Previous Page: Armed, 2005-09, cut fabric (military uniforms from US soldiers), thread and starch 426 x 1097 x 182 cm. Left: Worn Soles, 2001, Leather soles and heels, dimensions variable.

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The exhibition Colour & Abstraction: Generations in Dialogue reflects a number of different themes, notably the work of artists like Peter Struycken, who has been working with textiles since the 1960s, alongside more recent artists such as Rafael Rozendaal. Many of the objects on display actually come from the collection of the TextielMuseum and one of its aims is to record, display and encourage the production of textile art – or should it be called ‘art made from textiles’, or indeed, ‘art made using materials and techniques associated with the production of textiles’? This is a discussion that has been going on for some time, and is one which was just as relevant for the artists working in the 1960s as it is for those today. This discussion is related to an important facility at the Museum, namely their TextielLab where skilled technicians are at hand to help artists who are unfamiliar with 4

from the Collection of the TextielMuseum, Leiden.

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A striking series as you enter the exhibition is a collection of wall hangings by the Brazilian-Dutch artist Rafael Rozendaal, called Abstract Browsing (2017). He has been working with computer generated art that is translated into textile forms. Screenshots of various websites such as Google, Feedly, Amazon and Twitter have been taken, and the texts and illustrations converted into blocks of colour that are then woven in the Textiel Lab. The lengths of cloth are displayed in large panels that echo the work of the famous, early 20th century Dutch artist Piet Mondriaan. A more detailed look at computer art can be seen in the work of Peter Struycken, who features a large wall hanging called Boulez - 22 30 mei 04 - 06 maart 05 - 03.bmp (2004-2005). The hanging is made of tiny square ‘pixels’ in a variety of colours and hues to create an abstract flow of one colour into another. A similar, gentler, movement of colour is displayed by Dutch artist Reinoud van Vught, who placed long lengths of cloth into a shallow bath, deluged them with paint and water, and then recorded the resulting shapes, literally from a single drop of water to pools of water moving into each other. These shapes and colours were then translated by TextielLab staff into a series of wall hangings.

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Other artists on display in the exhibition used harsher metallic threads to create contrasts and movement. In particular Ursula Wagner, in her work called High Twist Wool / Silver Ellipse (2016), uses warps made of metal thread that surround a large woven circle. Light is an essential part of this work and it was clear that the height of the room compressed its appearance. Nevertheless, it was a lovely example of how light, as well as changes in spin, thread, forms, and weave can change a design. However, not all the exhibits can be classed as ‘lovely’. One piece by Liet Heringa and Maarten van Kalsbeek, with no title was made to challenge. It looks like a carcass in a slaughter house. This item really falls into the category of ‘should art be challenging or not!?’ Could you live with this item in your home? In my case, no. However, the combination of materials, metal rods and colour produce something very different from the other exhibits. Another interesting item on show was a piled floor covering by Bertjan Pot, called Amoeba (2015), which has a printed design of small squares, bringing to mind the art of ancient mosaics. This is a much less expensive method of making a floor covering, but for it to work properly, the print has to be accurately reproduced and there are only a few firms that can do this. But this technique does mean that floor coverings (and presumably wall hangings as well), of a variety of shapes and sizes, can be produced with a great range of designs. Not all of the items on display are indeed ‘two-

Moooi Carpets

Josefina Eikenaar from the Collection of the TextielMuseum, Leiden.

the technical aspects of textiles in order to fully realise their designs. Items made by these artists are placed into the Museum’s collection for use in temporary exhibitions and to help build up a collection of modern (Western) art.


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It is worth the trip to Tilburg to see this exhibition, as it leaves one thinking about the versatility, the variety and the great potential of what we call textile art – or should it be, perhaps: art that is made using textile techniques? ••• Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood Previous page: Rood by Désirée Scholten, 1975, 300cm x 155cm Left: Amoeba by Design Studio Bertjan Pot, 2015, 393 x 252cm

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination, The Met, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York,10028, 10 May - 8 October, 2018, www.themetmuseum.org This blockbuster show unveils itself rather subtly – that is, if a display of 150 costly gowns encrusted with glittering stones and accompanied by music dripping with solemnity can be characterised as such. No signage indicates that you’ve arrived at the start, and the introductory costumes appear up and over your head as you proceed through the Met’s unparalleled Byzantine collections. Walk down one corridor and five jeweled creations from Dolce & Gabbana stand like sentries guarding the ivory and mosaics below. Walk down another and five flashier mannequins, adorned in gold mesh and amber crystals (sporting tell tale long platinum hair) offer an alternative Italian couture reality, that of Versace. A few tucked-away galleries present further offerings from these two couturiers, along with a black wool cape by Elsa Schiaparelli, its sobriety relieved by an embroidered chain from which emblems of Catholic iconography hang. That brief nod toward the understated quickly gives way to a tour-de-force piece from Jean Paul Gaultier, a silk evening gown overlaid with sewn-on aluminum votives and appliquéd holograms depicting saints. As museum-goers emerge from this heady introduction, mannequins stand solo on platforms, literally in the spotlight, much as runway models do when they take their spins before rapt 4

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Courtesy of Dior Heritage Collection, Paris, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb

dimensional’. There are also some 3D objects in the exhibition, including one that was based on a large number of draped threads in gold (similar to the beaded garments traditionally worn by some Zulu women), illuminated by a hidden light. Another item, by the Dutch artist Wil Fruytrier (1915-2007), is based on a series of large rectagles of woven cloth in different colours. It dates to 1979-1980. The panels were placed in front of each other in such a way that only smaller blocks of colour can be seen. Hang the squares in a different order and a totally different form is created. There is also a work called Canopy bed made by Fransje Killaars, which features ‘curtains’ made from cords in various shades of green, all of which create a series of shadows. The cords themselves were made on site, in the Textiel Lab. Another object that made use of shadows was a piece by Marian Bulenga made from horsehair. The bound horsehair lengths were hung away from the exhibition wall and then illuminated. It was very difficult from a distance (even a short one) to tell what was horsehair, and what was shadow.


audiences. Another golden creation, by John Galliano for Dior, consists of both an ornately embroidered cope (a long cloak fastened at the chest with a clasp) and a mitre (a headdress worn by bishops and pontiffs), while nearby a Cardinalred silk taffeta evening gown by Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino takes on a Renaissance form with its bouffant sleeves and lush drapery but features a daringly low – and irreligious – neckline. Gold and red is one loaded combination when it comes to suggesting the Church, but there’s also the purity and austerity of black and white, and this pairing isn’t neglected here either. In these sections, garments inspired by the nun’s habit and the clergy’s soutane appear together, lined up next to each other, offering assemblages that verge on kitsch. A dress by Rossella Jardini for Moschino, for example, transforms a pretty black frock into something else with the addition of an outrageous topper suggestive of the one worn by Sally Field in the 1960s television show The Flying Nun. A trio of wedding gowns (YSL, Dior and Christian LaCroix) complete this room. The show continues in the downstairs galleries where the museum’s costume exhibits are normally displayed. This is where the curators have stowed their coup; some 40 pieces, including three splendid papal robes from the collection of the Vatican. Before the visitor leaves the museum – perhaps to head four miles north to The Cloisters, where another batch of designer ensembles is interspersed amidst medieval artifacts and

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Gift of Donatella Versace, 1999 (1999.137.1). Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb

Courtesy of Chapelle Notre-Dame de Compassion, Paris. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb

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reassembled monastery courtyards – one last gallery awaits. Here, in the Robert Lehman Wing, the emphasis is on pastel visions in celestial blues, rosy peaches, and buttery yellows. Eight silken (lame, tulle, georgette, organza, satin) garments from Rodarte are inspired by the chalky Florentine frescoes of Fra Angelico, while a pair of Lanvin gowns, one a cobalt blue with gilded ornamentation, the other an angelic white chiffon with appliqued gold leather strips, directly reference Triptych of The Last Judgment by the same artist. Nearby, two cases hold black dresses by Balenciaga, each enfolded in spilling taffeta mantles, the one a deep yellow and the other a pale blue. These hues are certainly a change from all that’s gone before, but behind this rainbow tableau await three more gowns. Two (one gold, one silver) by Thierry Mugler flank a pleated extravaganza by Roberto Capucci that’s a vision in gold and silver. For the heavenliest of bodies, it seems, all that glitters is all that matters. ••• JoAnn Greco Previous page: Evening Ensemble, John Galliano for House of Dior, autumn/winter 2000-2001, couture. Far left: Statuary Vestment for the Virgin of El Rocío,Yves Saint Laurent, ca. 1985. Centre left: Evening Dress, Gianni Versace, a/w1997-1998. Immediate left: Ensemble, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana for Dolce & Gabbana, a/w 2013-2014. Right: Evening Dress, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, s/s 2014 hautecouture.

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Courtesy of Valentino S.p.A. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb

Courtesy of Dolce & Gabbana. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Digital Composite Scan by Katerina Jebb

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ADVERTISE IN SELVEDGE Meet our dedicated readership Selvedge has been celebrating textiles,old and new, for over 14 years. It remains the only magazine              stylish and contemporary way... Display advertising is limited to just 25% of the publication and is woven into the body of the magazine.We aim to ensure individuals read and consider Selvedge advertising as an integral part of the publication. Rates and sizes can be found below and should be used as a guide when considering an advertising campaign with Selvedge. DISPLAY ADVERTISING RATES (WxHmm) Size 1, DPS, 476 x 238: £3,000 Size 2, Single Page, 238 x 238: £1,500 Size 3, 2/3 Page, 218 x 148: £1200 Size 4, 1/3 Page, 218 x 72: £700 Size 5, 2/3 Page, 160 x 238: £1200 Size 5A 1/2 Page, 144 x 148: £900 Size 6, 1/3 Page, 70 x 224: £700 Size 7, 1/4 Page, 70 x 148: £500 Size 8, 1/4 Page, 144 x 72: £500 Size 9, 1/9 Page, 70 x 72: £300 Size 10*, 1/27 Page, 70 x 20: £200 * Please note: Size 10 adverts will appear on page 94, rates exclude VAT

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WINDSWEPT WOOLLENS Tea and tweed in The Falklands PLANT POWER Elisabeth Beverley’s dye garden PORTRAIT OF THE LAND Hildur Bjarnadottir KNITTING THE WORLD New Danish Textiles ANNI ALBERS The radical Bauhaus weaver ANCHORED BY THE STRIPE Ace & Jig FEEL GOOD FABRICS Claudy Jongstra A LIFE IN PATTERN Orla Kiely

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SWATCH Favourite Fabric No 43: Chenille

Derived from the French word for caterpillar, chenille was cleverly created by weaving in plain

weave using strong cotton warp and a piled weft of soft chenille fibre in a mixture of cotton with silk or wool. A small gap is left after every fourth warp thread allowing it to be cut into narrow strips, which once twisted allow for the pile to project in all directions, creating a soft caterpillar yarn. Paisley weaver Alexander Buchannan has been credited with inventing chenille, and his bright paisley shawls woven of cosy chenille became very popular during the 1830s. Seeing the potential for carpet weaving, James Templeton patented a method for weaving chenille carpets in 1839. Axminster carpets, though fashionable and a cheaper alternative to imported Oriental and Turkish carpets, were still too costly for most, as they were handtufted. Templeton’s chenille carpets were woven on a loom less than a yard wide, and the strips then fashioned into whole carpets.

In the United States, the term chenille has become synonymous with Candlewick thanks to Catherine Evans Whitener, who revived the art in the 1890s. Having fallen in love with her grandmother’s tufted counterpane she devised an innovative method of hand-tufting to create her own. She gave others as gifts which were greatly admired, with many of her friends and neighbours clamouring to buy her bedspreads or to learn the technique. Within a few years she had recruited and taught enough women to tuft, developing a thriving cottage industry. By the Depression era the industry had diversified into dressing gowns, throw rugs and soft furnishings and Catherine’s hometown of Dalton, Georgia had become known as the ‘Tufted Bedspread capital of the USA’. ••• Sarah Jane Downing

Nina Fuga

In the mid-19th century soft silky caterpillars began to adorn every item of ladies’ apparel, gathering to form tassels on silk-embroidered reticules and passementerie pendants for dolman jackets. They congregated en masse like fronds of catkins, to form tiers of fringes to weight the draped layers on bustle skirts, and were plaited into ropes and tassels. White chenille was shaped into balls to mimic ropes of pearls festooned across flounced bodices as seen in Harper’s Bazaar, and even twisted and shaped to create artificial birds to be perched atop the finest millinery, as advertised in the Bloomingdale’s Illustrated Catalog for Spring and Summer 1886. These were the flights of fancy of Victorian ingenuity: but most chenille was used in far more practical ways.


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Stockholm | Est. 1976

NATURAL STRENGTH Linen/cotton smock blouse £79

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