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ISSUE 48 SEPT/OCT 2012 UK £9.95 EUROPE €14.95 USA $24.95 CANADA $24.95 AUS $24.95 JAPAN ¥3860 REST OF WORLD £14.95

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Etiquette FINE AND FORMAL TEXTILES

MANNERS Hanbok, table linen, bow ties MORES South of France, hats, gloves and stockings, silk in Lyon MODEL Kaffe Fassett, Little Shilpa, Tamasyn Gambell

THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: TEXTILES IN FASHION, FINE ART, INTERIORS, TRAVEL AND SHOPPING


CONSTR UC TION NO.3 IS BASED ON A KNITTED SQUARE. SQUARES ARE JOINED CREATIVELY FOR A MODULAR GARMENT CONSTRUCTION THAT ACCUMULATES AND TRANSFORMS AS EXTRA SQUARES ARE ADDED.


NIKKI GABRIEL CONSTRUCTION KNITTING PROJECTS CONSTRUCTION KNITTING PATTERNS BY NIKKI GABRIEL IS A DIY KNITTING CONCEPT BASED ON MAKING SIMPLE KNITTED SHAPES SUCH AS SQUARES, RECTANGLES AND TRIANGLES. A COLLABORATION OF KNIT AND GRAPHIC DESIGN TO GENERATE A NEW EXPERIENCE THAT INVOLVES MAKING, CREATING AND DISCOVERY.

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WWW.NIKKIGABRIEL.COM WWW.NIKKIGABRIEL.BLOGSPOT.COM


Kim Kyung Soo, The Full Moon Story, 2008, Courtesy of Kim Kyung Soo / Galerie Paris-Beijing

Call for Entries

Selvedge Magazine Editorial Office 162 Archway Road, London N6 5BB info@selvedge.org www.selvedge.org T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721 Publisher: Selvedge Ltd Founder: Polly Leonard editor@selvedge.org Editor: Elizabeth Smith editorial@selvedge.org Advertising and Events Manager: Clare Bungey advertising@selvedge.org Subscriptions Manager: Kate West subscriptions@selvedge.org Brand and Product Manager: Penny Gray drygoods@selvedge.org Editorial Interns: Imogen Catling and Katerina Yiakoumi intern@selvedge.org Copy Editor: Peter Shaw

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(ISSN: 1742-254X) is published bi-monthly six times a year in January, March, May, July, September and November by Selvedge Ltd. Registered Office 14 Milton Park, Highgate, London, N6 5QA. Copyright © Selvedge Ltd 2012. 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: DHL Global Mail, Periodicals Postage Paid at Rahway NJ. Postmaster send address corrections to Selvedge Magazine, Spatial Subscription rates for one year (6 issues): Paper Magazine, UK £50.00; Europe €75.00; USA $125.00; Canada C$135.00; Australia AU$100.00; Japan ¥10,500; Rest of World £75.00

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My son is about to go off to secondary school – life is changing at

We asked our contributors what etiquette they observe...

inform

Contributors

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Bias a faster pace than I would ideally wish, while he is relishing the

I've recently moved to Dublin and I've been pleasantly surprised by how many people are willing to stop and help if you need directions. It has made me realise how infrequently we are willing to slow down to help someone in the UK – even if they are holding a map upside down!

adventure. As I prepare him for his big day, I have dutifully stitched Cash name labels onto every item of uniform. You may be surprised given the field I’m in: but as a working mother this is almost the only time I pick up a needle and thread. At one time all women were responsible for their household linen and even the wealthiest, who employed others to weave and make up their linens, retained the task of monogramming. The value of the linens necessitated its labelling to prevent confusions during laundry. Embroiderer Victoria Bain examines the importance of a name in her article on the survival of monograms, pg 54. I recently enjoyed the Chanel Four series All in the Best Possible Taste in which artist Grayson Perry examined what remains of the British class structure. While most people would not wish to go back to the rigidity of the past, great comfort and security can be gained from established rituals and codes of

JESSICA HEMMINGS , pg 90

conduct. It is surprising how much manners still mean to most of us in a world of ever-decreasing To receive a handwritten thank you letter or beautiful card means so much to me. Too often an email or text is considered enough. But when thought and effort has been given to say, a dinner party or birthday present, I feel these hasty new media often fall short of old fashioned mediums.

formality. This informality takes many forms. One only has to look around the arrivals hall in an international airport to see casual dress taken to an extreme. Just fifty years ago flying was considered something to dress up for, and Deirdre McSharry reminisces on the value of respectable dress codes, pg 48 and Beth Smith, pg 75 mourns their demise. In parts of the world traditional dress is still worn, at least on special occasions, and when it is as beautiful as the Korean Hanbok it’s no surprise. Photographer Kim Kyung Soo captures the grace of this costume in his Full moon Story, pg 23. France, often considered to be more formal in its forms of address than the rest of the world, has a rich textile heritage as described by Genevieve Woods in Southern Charm, pg 44. She also takes an indepth look at the innovations and industries that gave rise to that heritage in Lyon, pg 40. You will note that after six successful fairs at St Augustine's Church Hall, it is time to move on.

VICTORIA BAIN, pg 36

Although we loved the atmosphere of the old church hall, we have struggled to accommodate visitor numbers. So we would like to formally invite you to our next fair on Saturday November 10th at Chelsea

excellent transport links. Practical considerations aside we won’t be pursuing change for the sake of change – you can expect the same high quality exhibitors, a friendly atmosphere and good company. Our Winter Fair, pg 6, will be a place to mix with like-minded people, make new friends and get together with old ones. I hope we will see you there and, since we’re on the subject of good manners and etiquette this issue, I’d like to thank you for supporting Selvedge.

Polly Leonard

Founder Selvedge magazine

RINNE ALLEN, pg 32

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Receiving a handwritten thank you note in the mail is a special treat. In this technical age, the thought that goes into putting pen to paper, stamping and posting a letter sends a broader message than just the 'thank you' found within. When one desires to express true gratitude, only a thank you note will do.

Old Town Hall, King's Road, London: a stylish and spacious venue with good visitor facilities and


INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire 13 Dining out The long evolution of the tablecloth An edited extract from The Book of Fine Linen by Francoise De Bonneville and Marc Porthault 18 COVER STORY Table manners You’ll never eat on the run again. Founder Polly Leonard selects table linen that makes every mealtime an occasion. Photographed by Katya de Grunwald 23 COVER STORY Full Moon Story Fashion photographer Kim Kyung Soo captures the essence of the traditional Korean Hanbok in a contemporary shoot

Growing up in Mumbai, India Shilpa Chavan loved crowns; it didn’t matter if they were made from cardboard, precious metal or tree bark – the value isn’t always in the material. Now, under her own millinery label Little Shilpa, Chavan designs edgy, colourful headpieces that are innovative in both their type and technique. Little Shilpa evokes Chavan’s childhood nickname and her hats have a playfully sophisticated quality, partly due to her energetic mix of materials with high and low value. Chavan regularly visits Mumbai’s markets sourcing unexpected treasures: neon pink toy figures, underwear, electric fan blades, military sidecaps, as well as coins and feathers. Inspired by the textiles and colours worn at festivals, she’ll buy traditional gold-metallic gauze ribbon and dyes it with layers of rich pigment. But she also finds ‘les objects trouvé’ and renders these found and discarded objects precious in a new context. Chavan likes the challenge of creating a balanced dialogue between what she calls her ‘raw materials’ and the shapes that she builds from them. A stylist as well as a designer, she says that her creative eye lets her ‘tell a whole story’; she thinks in shapes so she can visualize the final look in a photographic frame. She drew on her dual disciplines as stylist and designer when she fashioned a collection for Headonism, the show of rising millinery stars curated by Stephen Jones during London Fashion Week. In a visual wink at the show’s

title, Chavan draped her rectangular tables in Indian textiles and positioned her models underneath so their heads – and headpieces – appeared to grow organically from the cloth. One striking shape in the collection was inspired by the enormous black-and-white hat designed by Cecil Beaton and worn by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Chavan interprets the Eliza-Doolittle-at-Ascot chapeau by shaping it as an oversized bow: she forms the loops from neon sky-blue perspex, the unfurling tails from dozens of colourful Indian bangles, suggesting both the graceful arms of India’s classical dance as well as ribbon. Chavan’s Headonism headpieces also reflect the places – India and England – where she has both lived and studied, notably at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion. In 2005 she interned with the renowned milliner Philip Treacy, who recalls Chavan as an ‘enthusiastic, talented and creative designer’. From Treacy, who created 36 headpieces for guests and family members at the recent royal wedding, Chavan took away a lesson that was not on her design-school curriculum: humility. “What was amazing to see was that someone could be so creative and famous and yet be so humble...” she recalls. Chavan began working for Treacy in a whirlwind: ‘On Thursday I sent in my materials; on Friday I interviewed; and on Saturday I cancelled my flight to India so I could begin on Monday.’ Her flexibility has led to other creative boons. When she couldn’t bring her 4

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66 COVER STORY String section Liz Hoggard unravels the work of Chelsea School of Art graduate Maryrose Watson, whose ‘experiments with wrapping, overlapping and intersecting layers move her away from the “restrictions” of cloth as a functional product’

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CONCEPT textiles in fine art

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SILK LOOMS LARGE IN THE HISTORY OF LYON

GLOBAL

Silk: a fine, lustrous filament, wound around a silk worm, hiding it, like a secret. The Chinese had

and became France’s second city after Paris. This fine

taffetas and velvets produced. A number of allied

thread has given it a different historical experience

activities of dyeing, embroidery and passementerie

discovered this by the second millennium BC. They

from other towns associated with textile production in

grew up around the weaving.

knew how to coax the moth eggs to grow into fat

France, such as Rouen in the North and Lille in the North-East, whose economies were based respectively

established in order to protect this burgeoning

on wool and linen, and then cotton.

industry, introducing apprenticeships and making it

metres, then twisting them into a thread to weave into

Lyon benefited from good geography. It lay on

difficult to leave the activity for fear of divulging the

a shimmering, light cloth. But the secret escaped,

one of Europe’s natural crossroads, sitting at the

secrets of its manufacture. During the 17th century,

across Asia, to India and on to Persia, then with the

confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. By the 16th

Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–1683), Minister of

help of Alexander the Great to a Europe desirous of

century Lyon was an important hub with connections

Finances under Louis XIV, was anxious to improve

this highly prized fabric traded along the ancient

to Italy with its wealthy city states, to Paris, the Low

the state of the French economy, and introduced

transcontinental trade route.

Countries and southern Germany; and was on the

reforms to maximise national prosperity. His focus

Our vocabulary reveals this initial contact – silk,

trade route linking the Mediterranean coast to northern

was on applying strict quality controls on all aspects

sericulture, sericin – all words with Greek roots meaning

Europe. This excellent location meant that as early as

of the cloth produced, and encouraging a rigid guild

the mid-15th century the city hosted four fairs a year

system that organised the master-weavers and

and had an economy that revolved around weaving

their workers, both of whom were then dependent

the city states of Italy, whose silk weavers supplied the

and banking. Much later in the 18th and 19th

on the silk merchants.

rich and powerful with this rare and expensive fabric

centuries a network of canals improved the reach of

‘Chinese’. Eventually silk production began in Europe, and by the 11th and 12th centuries was concentrated in

often decorated with gold and silver. It was the French King François I (1494 –1547)

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It was the silk merchants who ordered and bought

the natural waterways, consolidating Lyon’s position

the silk from the master-weavers, and set the price

and improving transportation times.

for the cloth. By 1660 there were more than 3,000

who, in 1536, gave permission to two Piedmontese

King Henri IV (1589–1610) developed sericulture

master-weavers employing 10,000 workers: this rose to

weavers to set up their looms and establish silk

at the end of the 16th century by encouraging

over 15,000 workers in the silk and associated

weaving in Lyon. He wanted a domestic supply of the

the planting of mulberry trees for silkworm raising,

industries by the late 18th century. More than one third

luxury cloth for the French nobility and clergy, and to

ensuring an adequate supply of raw silk for the

of the population of Lyon was involved with silk in some

reduce his trade deficit from imported silk goods

Lyonnaise industry. It was in the Languedoc, Dauphiné

way. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685

from Italy. In 1540 he granted a monopoly on silk

and Provence regions to the south of Lyon, with their

saw a substantial number of Protestant weavers flee

production to the city of Lyon, and from this moment

optimal climatic conditions, that plantations became

the history of the city’s textile industry became tied

established and sericulture developed.

to silk weaving.

In the pre-industrial period textiles were produced

Silk shaped the city’s development and prosperity,

at the domestic level in independent ateliers, an

its fortunes growing from this luxurious material, and

activity that employed the greatest number of people

Lyon for Switzerland, Germany, the Low Countries and England, where they made an important contribution to the textile industries in these countries, notably in cotton manufacture. In the closing years of the 17th century and

later, the commerce in silk which brought global

after agriculture. Initially fabrics were plain weaves of

opening decades of the 18th, Lyon’s silk manufacturing

recognition. Through silk, Lyon achieved dominance

one colour, but there were also ribbons, brocades,

slumped with the decrease in royal orders. This 4

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By 1554 the first controls on silk weaving were

larvae that could produce this fantastic filament, one cocoon unravelling a continuous length of up to 900

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51 Walled garden Adelphi Paper Hangings tend to the patterns of the past by resurrecting traditional wood block printing Written by Rinne Allen and Lucy A. Gillis 58 COVER STORY Joy to behold The decorative style of Kaffe Fasset Beth Smith is uplifted by Kaffe’s irrepressible approach to art, life and interior design in his colourful London home

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astounding. Four inky chocolate-black stitched strips with the subtle lest abrash (the term used when the wool woven has been dyed in different lots creating variations in tone of a single colour) create a ground for six razor-thin slashes of cream wool, reminiscent of an Agnes Martin drawing. In contrast some of the horizontal stripe pieces positively sing with contrast and vibrancy. Lime greens vibrate against almost fluorescent pinks, interspersed by lavender and divided by a central band of coral-white stripes. The darkest petrol-blue one can imagine is cut through by a hazy-edged knife of burnt orange. Rothko-esque in its intensity and darkness, this is serious art made by seriously skilled and clever women. When we study the photographs which show them at their work we see modest and thoughtful women, hair tucked away in a headscarf, deep in concentration, crude looms constructed from debris wood, dark rooms allowing in thin shafts of light. It is hard in some ways to believe these pieces originate in such humble surroundings. A photograph shows a horse being led through the arid landscape, its back slung with a gelim; its stripe echoing the horizon behind it. Suddenly things make sense. These textiles are used and abstracted in and from the land, reflecting the archetypal mythology of the people who make them – in fact it’s a mythology we all share. We know they have never seen a Rothko or a Barnett Newman painting and yet they explore the same themes and their collective unconscious is the same – their medium is the difference. I doubt Rothko could have welded a shuttle so deftly. This book is a phenomenal homage to the Northern Iranian gelim. A weighty tome exquisitely printed; an artwork in its own right but it opens a door to something truly staggering, minimal and no longer undiscovered. ••• Ptolemy Mann

COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed

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Undiscovered Minimalism: Gelims from Northern Iran, Parviz Tanavoli, Hali Publications for, Lawrence King ISBN: 978-1-89811376-8, £95.00

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44 COVER STORY Southern charm Genevieve Woods finds a feast of fabrics from our French neighbours across the Channel Illustrated by Susy Pilgrim-Waters 62 Minimal changes Ptolemy Mann’s in-depth review of Undiscovered Minimalism, a book that charts Parviz Tanavoli’s journey to the Mazandaran province of Northern Iran and his discovery of technically complex and dramatically coloured Gelim

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Local delicacy

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40 COVER STORY Local delicacy Silk looms large in the history of Lyon. Genevieve Woods discovers how the fibre shaped a region of France Illustration by Ingrid Mida 56 COVER STORY Learning curve Tamasyn Gambell’s work in progress Discover her work and others as part of the London Design Festival, 14-23 September, www.londondesignfestival.com

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INDUSTRY from craft to commerce

Southern charm

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GENEVIEVE WOODS FINDS A FEAST OF FABRICS IN FRANCE

Textiles form an important part of French cultural heritage and are housed in the many museums found around the country. For the “tissuphile” whose time is at a premium, to discover each one would be an extensive project. Focusing on the southern half of France, the Occitan region, offers delights enough for one trip. Occitania, a linguistic and cultural concept that has existed since the Middle Ages, lifts the visitor from the north into a different world. This was the area of the Troubadours, the musician-poets who introduced themes of courtly love and chivalry into European literature. There are still half a million speakers of this language spread across the region which is dominated, at its centre, by the uplands of the Massif Central. It has mountains on its western and eastern edges, the prominent Rhône valley and two contrasting littorals, the Atlantic and Mediterranean. With mild winters and a summer climate that is hot and dry, Occitania’s scenery, villages and towns, odours, colours and history have offered inspiration to local artists and craftspeople. The journey should start in Lyon. Although it lies just outside the Occitan region, its visual elements speak of the south. The vegetation changes as does the architecture, and the houses begin to take on the orange pantile roofs associated with the Mediterranean. Lyon was the one-time capital of Gaul; it is now considered the gastronomic capital of the nation. The city has one of the richest textile collections in the world, located down an unprepossessing narrow street in the Presqu'ile area formed by the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. This is the Musée des Tissus with over two million pieces from both the eastern and western textile traditions, that holds examples spanning some 2000 years. The city gained prominence from the silk industry which supplied France, Europe and beyond with sumptuous silks for interiors and clothing, see pg 40. Even today Hermès silk scarves are still made in Lyonnais factories. A visit to the

Soierie Vivante will bring to life the silk weaving traditions of the 19th century. It is located in the Croix-Rousse quarter, once an active weaving community, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the same area is the Maison des Canuts demonstrating the use of a Jacquard loom, which was instrumental in improving the efficiency of silk production. “Canuts”, initially a perjorative term, was the name given to silk workers in the weaving shops. Ribbons, fringes, braids, tassles, laces and other trimmings all fall under the French term “passementerie” and are created out of silk and cotton threads. Some of the finest examples are shot through with metallic strands. These ornamental elements grew as offshoots of Lyon’s silk industry. At Saint-Etienne, lying to the south-west of Lyon, they perfected weaving the short widths of trimming: it became known as the ribbon capital of France. This city, laid out over seven hills on the edge of the high Auvergne, celebrates its three industrial achievements in the Musée d'Art et d'Industrie; they are textiles and textile machinery, arms and bicycles. The museum’s important collection of ribbons shows the range of motifs, colours and forms that attest to the region’s creativity and savoir-faire. This continues today at the company Julien Faure established in 1864, at the Domaine de la Merlanchonnière in nearby SaintPaul-en-Jarez, and also at Jonzieux by La Maison de la Passementerie. Such sewing notions are intended for interiors or ceremonial costumes, but two contemporary French artists are beginning to explore how passementerie can be incorporated into their work– Léa Stansal and Lucile Dupeyrat, whose creations range from bags and textile jewellery to “objets”. Passing out of the Rhône-Alpes region and down the Rhône river corridor, leaving behind Valence where the Midi is said to begin, one arrives at Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. A working port set in the surrounding region of Provence, it was4

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Susy Pilgrim-Waters

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54 Namesake The enduring tradition of monographs is traced from its Greek origins to the present day Written by embroiderer and textile design consultant Victoria Bain 73 Fabric Swatch No. 11: Toile de Jouy. Sarah Jane Downing reveals the technical innovations behind this quintessentially French fabric Illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters 75 Canvas In a new feature Editor Beth Smith seeks answers to perennial fashion problems. This issue she asks if the demise of clear dress codes really makes life any easier? Visit the Selvedge facebook page to add your opinion, www.facebook.com /SelvedgeMag 76 Time and space Tamara Fogle keeps things in proportion Collections of Victorian purses and vintage mannequins fill her studio: but amid the chaos Tamara Fogle makes her bags with precision

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ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives

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Contents


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reproducing a paper takes many months. Beginning with a small scrap, or – if luck is on their side – a whole roll, Adelphi’s researchers are challenged to recreate the pattern or colours. In many instances, the original colour and design of historic papers is not easy to determine. Tattered and torn swatches, sheets and scraps often reveal only partial patterns. The mystery is solved through research, evaluation and restoration, but also through the artisans’ familiarity with papers that share a kinship. This careful analysis and production has earned the trust and respect of the museum and design community worldwide over the past two decades. Through careful work, Adelphi has amassed a library of American, English and French patterns. A look through its inventory is a history lesson in design trends of the last 200 years. For Steve the lasting appeal of the designs lies in the fact that they are “specific, genuine and haven’t been diluted to conform to modern tastes.” Classics such as stripes, geometrics, damask, and chintz anchor the range. Iconic motifs of laurel, Greek key and medallions have a familiar, timeless style. Adelphi shares insights and backgrounds of the papers on its website. Because of the company’s extraordinary abilities, it has also obtained licensing agreements with many well-respected archives and museums such as The Smithsonian Institution and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in the United States, and the Musée du Papier Peint in France. Utilizing historic patterns, colours, tools and methods, Adelphi is able to reproduce the best of the past for the present. Even though printing has changed dramatically and modern methods are quicker, easier and cheaper, the company does not long for other means to an end. Instead, its commitment to the craft is exemplified in the finished product: beautiful, honest and authentic works of art worthy of living in rooms of all ages; rooms where the art is the wall. ••• Rinne Allen and Lucy A. Gillis

EVENTS The Selvedge Winter Fair, Saturday 10th November 10-4 Chelsea Old Town Hall, King's Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3 5EE. www.selvedge.org

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Right: French c.1800-1815. This simple pattern was found on a wedding box made in Paris in May 1804; the box is now in the collection of the Musee de Papier Peint, Rixheim, France.

Many people admire things of the past. For those in the

industry

Left: American 1810-1820. This folksy paper, American in design, was found in an upstairs bedchamber in the home of Ada Harris, a legendary antiques dealer from upstate New York.

Right: English c.1765, reproduced from fragments discovered in West St. Mary's City, Maryland; the original document is part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation collection.

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LIZ HOGGARD UNRAVELS THE WORK OF MARYROSE WATSON

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Tea Party in a garden on the French Riviera, 'La Vie Heureuse', 1913, Lelong, Rene, Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France / Archives Charmet / The Bridgeman Art Library

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03 bias/contributors A letter from Selvedge founder and words of wisdom from our contributors 07 news Eileen Fisher, Paola Navone Kasthall, Arts and Science, Private 0204, An Vert Du Design, Made Brighton, The Textile Society Antique Textile Fair, Handmade in Britain 09 need to know Object in focus: The Norfolk Jacket 80 subscription offers This issue every new subscriber and renewal will receive a Nikki Gabriel Construction knitting pattern worth £14.

84 listings Exhibitions, fairs and events around the world in October and November 86 books Warp and Weft: Woven Textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors, by Jessica Hemmings; The Ambassador Magazine: Promoting Post-War British Textiles and Fashion, by Christopher Breward and Claire Wilcox 88 view: Yohji Yamamoto, The Design Museum, by Jessica Hemmings, Weaving The Century: Dovecot 1912-2012: 100 Years of Contemporary

Tapestry, by Jennifer Harper, Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, by Marie O’Mahony, Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, and Sandra Backlund, The Art Institute of Chicago, by Jessica Hemmings 93 resources Websites, reading lists and sources for those who want to find out more about the Etiquette Issue 95 coming next The Evergreen Issue: Ideas, ideals and textiles that endure

SELVEDGE ('selnid3) n. 1. finished differently 2. the non-fraying edge of a length of woven fabric. [: from SELF + EDGE]

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convention was continued for the sake of respectability. The beautiful millinery of the fashionable classes gave poise and status, and diffidence was exhibited in the dowdy caps of spinster aunts and domestic servants. Male hats were more subject to status, and it was no coincidence that in the packed Victorian city the hats of the gentrified industrialist grew to stovepipe proportions while the rigid class system squashed flat the hats of the working class poor – only to be raised when doffed to the upper echelons. Gloves became the ultimate male accessory at the time of the Norman Conquest, showing that the owner was noble enough to be allowed to participate in falconry. They were also useful to slap into the face of an adversary to demand a duel, or to offer as a chivalrous love token. Medieval women were cautioned against accepting them too readily in case they fell foul of the devil’s seduction; nevertheless an elegantly embroidered and perfumed glove quickly became symbolic of a lady to be admired. With the association of the Bishop’s glove symbolising his purity to do God’s work, gloves naturally became essential for any decent person who wished to disassociate themselves from the unsavoury aspects of life. To be ‘straight-laced’ was the ultimate in respectability, displaying an upright character and determined commitment to morality. The narrative art of the 19th century showed women ‘undone’ with their corset laces trailing to indicate their appalling response to seduction, even as corsets became almost orthopaedic in their insistence on controlling and reshaping sinful feminine flesh. It was unthinkable even in the 1950s to go anywhere without the proper foundation garments to keep bottoms and bosoms in abeyance; and even as Marilyn Monroe became famous for her fabulous curves, she was denounced in the press for her lack of a girdle and an unseemly jiggle. It was unthinkable to attend any respectable function without the benefit of stockings, a standard the Queen still holds today for her garden parties. It was only with the greatest reluctance that gentlemen were allowed to abandon their stockings during the Regency and women’s desire to remain unfettered has been greeted with even more resistance. Not only did stockings show that one’s tender regions were properly locked away under a firm foundation, but keeping stockings neat and well darned was a sign of thrift and decency that even the poorest woman could display. ••• Sarah Jane Downing

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THE LOST SYMBOLS OF RESPECTABILITY

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Control issues

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Taking different forms throughout the centuries, concepts of respectability strike an awkward balance between contemporary religious values, the standards of the socially aspirational classes and fashion. Frequently what is daring and forbidden in one generation becomes standard and socially necessary within the next two, before finally being relinquished except by the oldest and most stalwart of a social class. ‘Respectability’ is a relatively recent concept, reflective of class choice in the consumer age. Before mass production and mass marketing, myriad laws and conventions controlled dress. Without the correct social status, even earning enough or having the skills to create the latest styles was useless as it was a breach of the law to wear them. It was relatively rare to be prosecuted under sumptuary laws unless the infraction was grave; but budding fashionistas would certainly think twice because of the abuse and opprobrium heaped upon them by their neighbours. It was not respectable to attempt to dress beyond one’s means. To the Medieval mind, it denied donations that could otherwise go to the church to be given to the poor of the parish. Moreover, to attend church with one’s head uncovered showed an almost blasphemous lack of respect – something that Queen Elizabeth I held in check with a ruling that it was only decent for the lower orders to wear woollen caps. Made of the surfeit of British wool, it was also an excellent way of ensuring the success of the wool trade. Seventeenth century Puritans were concerned with dressing modestly, advocating only the soberest colour palette, the simplest lace and the minimum of adornment. As the burgeoning ‘moral majority’ they loudly decried the indecency of the noble classes’ taste for foreign lace, silk and imported scented gloves as wantonly vain. This argument lost much of its credibility with the revelation that many of the most pious were actually merchants jealously guarding the upper class market for their own expensive goods. Tied in with morality, this left an abiding sensibility about dressing appropriately for one’s class even centuries after the sumptuary laws were rescinded, with fears that dressing above one’s station was in poor taste: and as for the courtesans and ‘demi-reps’ of the 18th century who dressed with a wealth and style that exceeded many of the noblest ladies – downright slutty. Whereas modesty and Judeo-Christian beliefs required a woman to cover her hair and thereby quell the power of her sensuality and spirituality, the

explores the interaction between horizontal and vertical lines – teasing them into rectangles, ovals, diamonds. One piece is a brilliant circle of red threads. Another is made up of decreasing blue rectangles on a yellow background – with single orange threads laid across like an elegant spider's web. “I wanted to create free movement across the finished piece, to add an element of risk and spontaneity.” By applying her own mathematical formulae to the intersecting layers of yarn, geometric forms emerge. Wrapping a tiny section of maybe five threads can completely change the design, she explains. “You create a curve by increasing the number of threads gradually or you can turn it into an oval. I've learned that to get a right angle, the same number of threads have to cross. These structures react with light to create a constantly changing visual experience, intensified as the observer moves around the work.” Watson hand-dyes her own yarns so she can fine-tune colour combinations to create specific resonance and contrast. Her early work is full of deep scarlets, ochre, blues and purple. “Though I always add a touch of black so the primary colour is greyed off a bit.” 4

80 Prizes this month... This issue exclusive prizes for Selvedge readers include three Tamasyn Gambell wool scarves worth £65 each, two hand-embroidered ties from Jupe by Jackie worth ⇔ 150 each and a leather ‘Portland’ bag courtesy of Tamara Fogle worth £295. For new subscribers and renewals there are Construction knitted patterns from Australian knitwear designer Nikki Gabriel. Good luck!

INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings

String section interested in concealment and constraint but also protection and defence.” Watson, who graduated with First Class Honours in Textile Design from Chelsea School of Art in 2010, is making a name for herself with her exquisite wrapped wall pieces. Moving away from the “restrictions” of cloth as a functional product, Watson experiments with wrapping, overlapping and intersecting layers of yarn directly around a frame. After selling out her degree show twice over to private collectors (University of the Arts London also commissioned one for their permanent collection) she was snapped up by London's Sarah Myerscough Fine Art gallery. In May she was one of the stars of Collect at the Saatchi Gallery, exhibiting in the Crafts Council's Project Space area. Architects and designers were drawn by the modern grid structure of her work. But there is also a real painterliness to her colour palette. Having studied constructed textiles her work challenges established concepts of weave. She works off loom and lays both warp and weft simultaneously, but her work draws inspiration from the traditional craft practice of dyeing and weaving. She

WIN

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his partner, Brandon Mably, to a photoshoot with Bruce Webber. For now it’s a chance to do what he loves best, work with colour. “Colour is my most passionate obsession,” he admits, and no one who has stepped past his intricately mosaicked front porch could doubt him. Kaffe was born in San Francisco in 1937. He spent much of his youth in Big Sur, California, where his parents bought a log cabin from Orson Welles and tranformed it into the famous Nepenthe restaurant, a gathering place for artists. At the age of 19 he won a scholarship to the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, but left after 3 months to paint in London. He settled in England in 1964. A kaleidoscope of ventures have taken place in the 48 years since that arrival. One of the first was a trip to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb, see issue 26. There he bought Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit. Knitting is one of the crafts Kaffe is most famous for, but other media attract him too. Samples of his needlepoint (Kaffe designs needlepoint kits for Ehrman Tapestries) are scattered throughout the house including a huge pile of cushions in the living room. Everything he designs is made up and the collection spans decades and a spectrum of styles. Keeping record of the prodigious output is something of a problem and the top floor of the house has become an informal archive. In the future it is hoped the

cohabit

THE DECORATIVE STYLE OF KAFFE FASSETT

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Joy to behold Abundance is a lovely word and one that lends itself to descriptions of Kaffe Fassett’s London home. Exuberance follows close on its heels, as this is a space where colours, textures and techniques join forces to create a virtuoso display of creativity. In this interior the enthusiasm for pattern and colour is tangible – in the form of hundreds of paintings, pots and textiles – and contagious. Artfully arranged collections draw you in: a shelf of vegetable-shaped ceramics raises a smile and lets you know that this is a place where beauty is enjoyed and interacted with on a daily basis. Nothing is behind glass or in cabinets. Without pausing to reflect you might begin to use phrases such as ‘a riot of colour’ – but wait. Yes, this is a house like no other, objects are gathered on a larger scale than usual – why have three needlepoint cushions when you can have thirty-five? (The answer might be that abundant means ‘full to overflowing’). Nevertheless there is a peaceful centre to the profusion and it is Kaffe himself. A man who expresses himself in measured tones and has a patient, thoughtful air. It doesn’t quite make sense. A glance through his new autobiography shows that this is a man who, in design terms, hit the ground running and has never stopped. Really he should be charging around, issuing orders and trying to balance the five or six projects he has on the go. Instead, the day we visit he is at his easel taking five minutes to finalise a new design. In twenty minutes a car will arrive to take him and

“Wrapping is an instinctive process for me,” says weaver Maryrose Watson. “I am

30 COVER STORY Jumping for Jupe Jackie’s hand-embroidered ties Amelia Thorpe meets the designer behind an emerging brand that champions traditional ideals of fine craftmanship 33 COVER STORY Crowning glories Hats off to Little Shilpa Kate Cavendish discovers this milliner to the stars is not letting success go to her head 38 Control issues The lost symbols of respectability Sarah Jane Downing reveals the real reasons why gloves, hats, stockings and corsets were obligatory for women in the past 48 Uniformly dressed As editor-in-chief of UK Cosmopolitan for 13 years, Deirdre McSharry knows all about the respectable rules of dress and the freedom that came with finally breaking them

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Left: American, 1811-1817. The Bixby Vine and Drapery pattern is similar to patterns printed by Moses Grant, Jr. during the same period but it is thought that the document of this pattern is a contemporary copy.

design field, the study of these bygone eras informs the work of the present day. While researchers, historians and design enthusiasts respect and pay homage to the sensibilities of other times, most do not undertake the challenge of reviving an entire art form. By founding Adelphi Paper Hangings in the United States in 1999, Chris Ohrstrom and Steve Larson have defined themselves as the latter: the rarity that steps beyond admiration and into practice. Based in New York State, Adelphi was created to preserve the knowledge and techniques of traditional wood block printed wall coverings. The idea for the company grew out of a symposium on historic building practices. Attendees agreed that these printing methods needed preserving. By combining hand, block, paper and paint, the artisans at Adelphi set out to create historically accurate wall coverings that used classic forms and colourways to enhance myriad spaces: historic, contemporary and in between. Born out of reverence for traditional manufacturing and motifs, the company has successfully reproduced papers from the 1740s-1930s since its inception. The use of authentic ingredients and procedures enables Adelphi’s employees to work in the same manner as the artisans who produced the original papers. Dating from 1720 to the 1860s, the pre-Industrial Revolution printing methods are only slightly modified to take advantage of modern advancements. The binder in the distemper paint used for printing has been altered for ease of hanging and maintenance, and workers also use a higher quality paper that provides longevity and consistency for the product. Co-owner Steve Larson emphasises the importance of hand printing: “It’s quite different than screen or digital printing. Block printed wallpaper is deliberate, physical.” Larson continues: “Each member of our small but highly skilled staff is involved with the various steps of the process: drafting patterns, mixing paint, grounding and printing.” The process of

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When, later, a journalist friend took me to meet his mother, a Fleet Street columnist, I noted her suit, hat, camellia pinned to lapel, typing with red nails and thought: I could do that. Get the uniform, get the job. In the New York of the Fifties the uniform was paramount. I arrived in the offices of Women’s Wear Daily in my Donegal tweed suit, brown court shoes and (laddered!) stockings. It all had to go. Suit too hot for central heating, shoes and ladders too tacky for my editor. New etiquette: black leather accessories for winter, black patent for summer, white gloves and tight tailoring for slogging down Seventh Avenue. By the early Sixties the young president's wife, Mrs Kennedy, influenced by French designer Givenchy – and her mantra to "look like a column" – created a new etiquette. The old uniform morphed into the Jackie Look. And very useful that bouffant/pillbox/gloves/soft suit get-up proved to be for working girls everywhere. Until the Sixties began to shake and swing. In Paris I saw singer Sylvie Vartan on stage with Johnny Hallyday in a dress like a nightie, while back in my London office Twiggy twirled in little boy shorts and a Fairisle knitted by her mum. She liked skimpy skirts and showing her knickers. Toothy smile and freckles. Suddenly posh models looked old – and out. Mini and skinny was the news. With skirts at crotch level stockings and suspenders were redundant. In came tights. The body suit followed as transparency became the rave, followed by a torrent of styles from Boho hippy to Courreges' space style. At the Paris collections I recall seeing a gang of New York fashion editors dressed as Montenegran peasants. Those were heady times. The old certainties were crumbling. The availability of tights coincided with the arrival of birth control pills and the dishwasher. All three advanced the cause of women's liberation. We got better jobs. Made our own rules. Stopped worrying about class and wore what was comfortable. Symbols of respectability? In a world of jeans for everybody who needed them? •••

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It’s not a word you hear often today, respectable, but I am old enough to recall the word's power, the necessity of looking respectable. Getting dressed to ‘Go Out’ was like arming for war – gloves, heels, proper coat, stockings with seams, hair done and if possible a hat. Untidy clothes were as bad as loose morals. From the age of seven, when I made my First Communion dressed in white, everything worn in public had to be immaculate. As I was already boarding in a convent I understood the rules. From the smallest pupil in her tunic to the Mother Prioress in her medieval robes we were all uniformed. The girls at my convent school called my mother ‘The Merry Widow’. It was wartime Dublin and as a young widow she was expected to wear mourning black. She did so with dash. There was perhaps, a shade too much diamante at ear and throat. Underneath was a satin slip and lace suspenders. The ‘respectable’ court shoes had silver heels. Kid gloves were crushed to show the wrist. The hat was swathed in a veil that made the most of the maquillage and tinted hair. The nuns clustered round my Mum and begged her to help them make costumes for the school plays. Thank God she – a working mum! – appeared to play by the rules. As did we as devout convent girls: veils for Mass, hair scraped back or plaited tight. Skirts were long, drooped over Liberty bodices, knitted stockings and knickers down to the knee. A bony hand would often check after we dressed that we had not pulled up the elastic to make them short. Skirts must cover our heels when kneeling. Complaints garnered the retort “Who is looking at you anyway?” This was puzzling as we dressed to be deemed “respectable” and have that respectability noticed. With a mother who edited a woman's magazine inevitably I ended up in the business. Commenting on what women wore and why became a way of life and I grasped that the ‘uniform’ is always with us. From the age of 13 I had aped the New Look in a mini corset and skirt I made from a circle of felt. It stuck in my bike wheels but saw me through college.

ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends

inform

49

Uniformly dressed DEIRDRE MCSHARRY RECALLS THE RULES OF RESPECTABILITY


7 inform

Workwear “The Swan Effect” – whenever something beautiful is achieved with apparent ease you can be almost certain there’s a frenzy of effort beneath the surface. Margaret Howell doesn’t deny the energy it takes to create clothes that have an air of harmony and simplicity. And that’s why, in the third in a series of collaborations with designers in other fields, she chose garden and landscape designer, Dan Pearson. She explains: “even though they are very different, what I aim for in a shirt I also see in a Dan Pearson garden – a relaxed feel that comes from inspiration, editing and deep respect for materials. It was a pleasure to work with Dan as he understands the hard, detailed preparation needed to achieve that informal spirit.” They were kindred spirits when it came to materials. Margaret chose a natural un-dyed linen shirting woven by Spence Bryson in Northern Ireland and horn buttons made by James Grove in the West Midlands. Both Margaret and Dan felt the natural irregularities of these materials complemented each other, as do the textures and landscaping of a garden. The result of the collaboration is a practical work shirt with large cuff gussets for ease of rolling up the sleeves, an inverted pleat in the back for extra movement, a hanging loop and large pockets for tools and other essentials. It is perfect for the great outdoors without a tie but equally at home inside with one – sounds simple but it wasn’t easy. ••• The Dan Pearson Shirt, £275, www.margarethowell.co.uk, www.danpearsonstudio.com

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8 inform

Swedish company Kasthall have been producing woven and handtufted rugs since 1889. These shibori inspired designs were a collaboration with Italian interior architect and designer Paola Navone, and were launched at Salone del Mobile 2012. www.kasthall.com, www.paolanavone.it

Arts & Science is a brand for those who enjoy a simple game of fashion-based spot the difference. A&S's original collection, mainly clothing, is composed of garments inspired by vintage workwear which creative director Sonya Park believes is the “basis for all good fashion ideas,” but what distinguishes these clothes in the modern era is the impeccable quality materials and highly skilled craftwork of Japanese artisans. www.arts-science.com

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Fisher price Fashion designer Eileen Fisher decided quite some time ago that the cost of cheap fashion was much too high. Her own approach to design is a holistic one. A significant percent of her collection is sustainable through the use of naturally-coloured and vegetable-dyed organic cottons and creative partnerships with communities that employ generations-old techniques. All this happens before the point of sale but doesn’t end there. The clothes themselves are designed to be timeless, impervious to trends and able to endure for as long as their high quality materials. ‘Business as a movement’ is Fisher’s mantra and she means “the power to create positive change by making thoughtful choices.” A particularly thoughtful idea was the creation of Green Eileen, a resale shop in New York that donates its proceeds to women’s programs and charities, including Women for Women International and the National Women’s History Museum. www.eileenfisher.co.uk, www.greeneileen.org


Copenhagen company of few words and a curtailed collection of products. In a “take or leave it fashion” they offer a range of vintage handmade

21: The Norfolk Jacket

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Private 0204 is something of a mystery – a

9

Caroline Gravier Deschamps’ first collection for L'An Vert Du Design is defined by her respect for the work of the craftsmen who produce the products. Her black work embroidery cushions draw on traditional techniques but have a timeless style that fits into a contemporary interior. anvertdudesigndeschamps.com

Need to know What are the key features of the Norfolk Jacket? Typically a country jacket, it is usually made of earthy or verdant Harris Tweed. Ease of movement is created by a large box pleat and deep vent centre back, and a pleated fold on each side of the chest, although on most modern versions this is an ornamental vertical seam. It has an integral belt, a vertical pocket on the left chest and capacious bellows pockets for cartridges. Early versions were known as the Norfolk shirt for their shirt-like button cuffs, echoed at the knee of the knickerbockers that completed the outfit. How did the Norfolk Jacket get its name? Originally worn by the Rifle Corps in the Volunteer Movement of 1859-60 – the predecessors of the Territorial Army. It was reputedly named for the 15th Duke of Norfolk, who was renowned for his fondness of shooting; the style is also strongly associated with the Duke of Edinburgh. When was it first popular for sport? Game shooting had been popular since the Restoration, but advancements in firearms in the 19th century along with the Royal family’s love of country pursuits made it fashionable. With the formation of the National Rifle Association in late 1859 shooting competitions became increasingly popular. For which sports and occasions is it worn? Aside from shooting, the Norfolk jacket was worn for bicycling, fishing and golfing as well as practically any other outdoor exercise. As it reached the height of popularity from the 1880s, women were quick to claim the style, and by the Edwardian era it was popular casual wear for boys. •••

hemp kelim rugs. And there are plenty of takers because patched, mended and artfully distressed, these rugs have a seductive patina. Found in remote villages in the Anatolian plateau of Turkey the rugs are weatherbeaten in a strictly literal sense – washed in the sea and exposed

to

the

elements

before

being

re-worked through a process of deconstruction, reconstruction and dyeing. After the 70s, Hemp has not been grown since the 70s making the supply of these kilims finite. They are a rare and precious find today. Hemp is one of the few natural fibres that can withstand such treatment as it’s one of the most durable and is not only down at l'Eclaireur in Paris, Carrots in San Francisco,

egg

in

London

and

online.

www.private0204.com, www.leclaireur.com, www.sfcarrots.com, www.eggtrading.com

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strong but holds its shape. Track Private 0204


10 inform

Ellie Evans, Selvedge Winter Fair

Holly Berry Woven Textiles, MADE12 Carlo Cristi - Asian Arts Company, Asian Art in London

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Make a date

Clive Loveless Primal Art, LAPADA

Textiles could take up all of your spare time this autumn. Take a moment to add these dates and destinations to your diary... The LAPADA Art & Antiques Fair Berkeley Square, Mayfair, London W1J 6, 19-23 September 2012 Wed-Thurs 11-9, FriSat 11-7, Sun 11-5 admission £15, T: +44 (0)20 7823 3511, www.lapadalondon.com • Decorex International Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London SW3 4SR, 23-26 September, Sun-Mon 10-6, Tues 10-7, Weds 10-5, register online, T: +44 (0)20 7921 8406, www.decorex.com • London Antique Textile Fair Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London W8 7NX, 7 October, 10.304.30, admission £6, T: +44 (0)20 7361 3003, www.textilesociety.org.uk • Made 12: Design and Craft Fair One Marylebone, London NW1 4AQ, 26-28 October, Fri 12-5, Sat 10-6, Sun 105, admission £6. Corn Exchange, Brighton Dome, Church Street, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1UG, 22-25 November, Thurs 6-8.30, Fri 11-7.30, Sat 10-6, Sun 10-5, £10 admission on the door, £8 in advance T: +44 (0)1273 700747, www.brighton-made.co.uk • Asian Art in London Venues around London, see website for admission and prices, 1-10 November, T: +44 (0)20 7499 2215, www.asianartinlondon.com • Selvedge Winter Fair Chelsea Town Hall, King's Road, Kensington and Chelsea, London, SW3 5EE, 10 November, 10-4, £5 T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org • Handmade in Britain 12 Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road, London SW3 5EE, 16-18 November, opening hours tbc, one day ticket £6, open ticket £12 T: +44 (0)20 7361 3003, www.handmadeinbritain.co.uk • Lustre 2012 Lakeside Arts Centre, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, 10-11 November, 10-5, weekend admission £5 www.lakesidearts.org.uk •••

Katy Mellor, Lustre

Sarah Tyssen , MADE12


The deďŹ nitive events for anyone with a love of stitch and creative crafts. Supplies, workshops and textile art. Alexandra Palace - 11 to 14 October 2012 RDS Dublin - 1 to 4 November 2012 Harrogate International Centre - 22 to 25 November 2012 To book tickets please call the ticket hotline number 01394 288521 or visit www.twistedthread.com

The Knitting and Stitching Show is presented by Creative Exhibitions Ltd (twistedthread) 8 Greenwich Quay, London SE8 3EY 020 8692 2299 | www.twistedthread.com Image courtesy of MoDA, Middlesex University www.moda.mdx.ac.uk


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13

THE LONG EVOLUTION OF THE TABLECLOTH

anecdote

Although tablecloths and napkins were occasionally used at banquets in ancient times, it was only when people began regularly eating at a table that they systematically covered it with a cloth and, later, started to routinely use napkins. Throughout antiquity, meals were eaten while stretched out on couches or beds, and it was not until the Middle Ages that the sitting position was adopted in the West. Today, the position is even more vertical as humanity, ever pressed for time, eats standing up, indeed while walking, at any time of day. It was during the Merovingian dynasty, between AD 500 and 700, that people began ‘sitting down’ to a meal, as demonstrated by the existence of certain chairs; but the practice only became truly common with the advent of feudal society. Until the late Middle Ages, tables consisted of planks being placed on trestles, covered with long ‘diaper cloths’ (the generic term used for any piece of table or personal linen). The medieval lifestyle was still marked by a certain nomadic spirit, and such inexpensive ‘tables’ could be left behind when place of residence changed. Planks and trestles would simply be rebuilt elsewhere. The table of the feudal lord and his family would then be ‘set’ in the main room of the castle, where the diners would sit on the benches, all on the same side of the table. These modest furnishings could then be removed when not in use. The table was seen as a distinct piece of furniture only with the building of the magnificent Italian Renaissance residences that also required permanent cupboards and beds. It was not until the end of the 18th century that tables used solely for meals made their appearance, thanks to the fashion for intimate dinners launched by Louis XV in his apartments at Versailles. Right into the late Middle Ages, tablecloths were used only for feasts and banquets, not on an everyday basis. It was probably during the 5th century, according to mosaics discovered at Ravenna, that the first tablecloths were used for liturgical repasts. It was also at this time that the ‘mantle’ or mantelium, which originally meant ‘hand-cloth’ or towel, began to signify tablecloth.4

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Dining out


14 anecdote

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Page 13, Saint Hugh in the Refectory, Francis co Zurburan, 1598-1664 Right, Title unknown, Frans Hals, 1580-1666

A century later, the Order of Saint Benedict decreed that any brother arriving late to table would have to eat alone, with neither tablecloth nor wine. The ritual of covering the table with a white cloth perhaps evolved from the sacred meal only, then to any monastic repast, and later to secular use. Whatever the case, the practice became more widespread during the late Middle Ages, and by the 12th century it was practically universal in Italy and France. Perhaps that was because simple plank-and-trestle tables needed to be hidden from sight, unlike ancient tables of fine, richly worked wood. From that point onward, tablecloths began to assume social and aesthetic importance. The quality of material and decoration is known through surviving inventories from the Middle Ages in Italy and France. Tablecloths were described as being fringed at both ends, and enriched by multicolored embroidery with silk thread. They might also have two woven red or black stripes, running from one selvedge to another, a detail still found on tablecloths made in the French Béarn region and the Basque country. Silk was also used and represented the height of refinement in the art of dining. The inventory of the extremely rich Jean, Duke of Berry, included a large tablecloth of ‘‘five-and-a-half ells of silk with gold stripes and vermilion.’’ This same list cites a rarity: ‘‘a tablecloth of nettles, with fancy needlework in cotton (representing) birds, beasts and leaves.’’ The design continued to be woven in lined damask for centuries. Before the appearance of damask, certain weaves produced small geometric patterns. Such cloth was said to be ‘decorated’. The first samples probably came from the Orient, and had a ‘grain’ or ‘check’ of varying size, usually named accordingly. In the early 15th century, small flower patterns were specifically mentioned in the linen inventories of Charlotte of Savoy and Catherine de Rohan. This weave constituted the most original table linen prior to the invention – in Flanders – of ‘Damascus weave’, that is to say a type of ‘storied’ or figured damask that


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Detail from Two Epicureans, Robert Le Vrac alias Tournieres, 1667-1752

anecdote

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incorporated magnificent representational images. However, even if this type of linen was seen only on princely tables, it is not too risky to assert that by the 15th century the linen chests of all houses contained at least one tablecloth. The only difference, other than quantity, was the quality of fabric and the decoration. But whether it be a banquet given by Francois I in honour of the most beautiful ladies of Bordeaux, or a simple repast, once the meal was over and ‘‘cloths removed, hands washed, thanks given, the tables, trestles, and stools were taken away and people began to dance’’, according to 16th-century chronicler Noël du Fail. It was not to dance, however, that Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots, ordered the cloth ‘‘lifted’’ from her table in 1587 – it was so she could reread and alter her testament as the moment of execution approached. Even though no description has been found, that fateful cloth was surely in ‘Damascus weave’. For figured damask was the linen of kings during the Renaissance and for two hundred years thereafter. Only measures aimed at economising initiated during the reign of Louis XV and pursued under Louis XVI (the wars of the previous century having depleted the royal resources) triggered a decline in orders for this weave for the personal apartments of the King and Queen. Nevertheless, despite the absolute reign of damask, there were exceptions. An engraving ascribed to PierrePaul Sevin show a white tablecloth richly decorated with lace on the occasion of a banquet given at the Quirinal by Pope Urban VIII for Queen Christina of Sweden. Another exception was the infatuation for calico prints in the early 18th century; although forbidden by decree, these tablecloths briefly swept through fashionable society. The use of tablecloths was so much a part of habit by the early 18th century that when, in the summer of 1704, Louis XIV offered a light meal to the King and Queen of England, served directly on tables set up on the gardens, a member of the king’s retinue, one Dangeau, thought it so extraordinary that it merited mention in his court diary. 4


16

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anecdote

Gervex at the Aux Ambassadeurs, painter unknown, c. 1900

For by the early 17th century there was no lack of tablecloths, not only among princes and nobles, but also the more modest classes. Hoarding tablecloths was obviously a sign of wealth, yet ample supplies were also required due to the long period between annual or biannual washing days. A treatise on good taste stipulated that ‘‘one never uses (table linen) twice in a row, unless one wants to be sparing or unclean’’, making it clear that hoarding tablecloths and napkins was not an obsession afflicting our ancestors, but fulfilled a real need. Especially once it is remembered that people ate with their fingers until nearly the end of the 17th century. Scathing writers left unappetizing portraits of their contemporaries. There was not only La Bruyère and his famous character sketches, but also Tallement des Réaux who, in his Historiettes, named names when describing foul eating habits: “hands smeared up to the elbows, tablecloths dirtier than dishcloths and rags, the ends of the tablecloth used to wipe sweat from the brow.’’ And, ‘‘if the occasion arises, they even wipe their noses with the aforementioned tablecloth.’’ The nobles in question were ignorant of the numerous treatises on manners that had appeared since the Middle Ages. At the dawn of the 19th century, though people ate less messily, trousseaux still included a great number of tablecloths. Damask lost its supremacy, but white remained traditional. This led to a renewed taste for white-on-white needlework, satin stitch embroidery, buttonhole stitching and openwork. In the mid-19th century, etiquette permitted for the first time – and only at lunch – a white tablecloth embroidered with coloured thread, usually red. During France’s Second Empire (1852-1870), table settings became more feminine. Lace insertions and mesh came back into fashion, along with embroidered gauzy fabrics like cotton muslin, organdy and lawn. More innovation came in the early years of the 20th century with the appearance of place mats. According to a 1906 manual of etiquette, it became acceptable to slide a small rectangle of cloth


17

Having Tea, David Emil Jospeh de Voter, 1825

anecdote

under each place, not to indicate social rank (as in the Middle Ages), but simply to keep the tablecloth clean. Today, tablecloths remain the norm for special dinners and at restaurants. At home, a tablecloth is a symbol of a serene moment, a ‘‘patch of whiteness like some island refuge amid a sea of daily worries”, according to writer René Cazelles, who feels ‘‘everything can breathe again (when) the tablecloth is white.’’ Apart from their decorative function, tablecloths also gave rise to symbolic rules of etiquette. In feudal French society, partager la nappe, ‘share the tablecloth’, meant complete equality between the guests. If a noble dined with servants, he might share the table but never the cloth. If the cloth covered the entire table, a small diaper cloth would be placed before the lord to indicate hierarchy. When a prince wanted to honor his guests, he shared his tablecloth, but if one guest ranked higher, a small (and often very precious) cloth would be placed under his ‘trencher’ (wooden board). In similar vein, any infraction of the laws of chivalry would be punished and made public by forbidding the culprit to share the tablecloth with his peers. For serious violations the tablecloth would actually be cut, this symbolic act representing the greatest shame that could be inflicted. In later centuries, the tablecloth was pulled toward oneself or turned over to inflict an insult. Madame de Motteville recounted how, during the 17thcentury French revolt, the Duc de Beaufort went to an inn in order to insult the Duc de Candale who was dining there: ‘‘and so saying, he lifted the tableTHE BOOK OF cloth like a pope and overturned dishes of fine Françoise de Bonneville food that Bautru will never eat...’’ ••• An edited extract from The Book of Fine Linen, Francoise De Bonneville, Flammarion books, £35, ISBN-10: 2080135570

FINE LINEN Foreword by Marc Porthault

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Flammarion


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Table manners selvedge.org

FINE LINEN FOR EVERY OCCASION

photography Katya de Grunwald, styling Imogen Catlin

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Lunch, Pitcher, £68, 2.2L, John Leach, Abbeyhorn salad servers, £32.50, Salad Bowl, £56, 23cm, John Leach, Platter, £15.50, 23cm, Winchcome, Baking dish, £29, 18 x 4.5cm, John Leach, Pate/Butter knife, £10.50, 15cm, Abbeyhorn, Platter, £11, 18cm, Windcombe, Large sauceboat, £29.50, 0.8lt, John Leach, T: +44 (0)20 7730 4259, www.davidmellordesign.com, Natural linen stamped table cloth, £156.95, Cote Bastide, T: +44 020 8 341 9721, www.selvedge.org


19 Indulge

Breakfast, Blue stripe egg cups, £20.50, set of four, Cornish Blue, T: +44 (0)20 7935 0689, www.diverti menti.co.uk, Small serving spoon, £14, 14cm, Abbeyhorn, T: +44 (0)20 7730 4259, www.davidmellordesign.com, Dreadnought jug, £15.50, Cornish Blue, as before, Teapot, £35.50, as before, Duck egg blue digital DAB radio, £159.95, 25 x 10cm, Roberts Revival, T: +44 (0)20 7629 7711, www.johnlewis.com, Bubbled juice glass, £4, Of Special Interest, T: +44 (0)20 8340 0909, www.ofspecialinterest.co.uk, Blue stripe cereal bowl, £40.50, set of four, 17cm, Cornish Blue, as before, Spoon, Bistrow Cutlery, Toast, £37.50. T +44 (0)844 557 5200 www.toastbypost.co.uk, White with blue check linen napkin, 43 x 43cm, £8.95, Fog Linen, T: +44 (0)20 8 341 9721, www.selvedge.org, White with blue check linen tablecloth, 180 x 130cm, £65.95, as before

High Tea, Pink rose print bowl, £41, Virginia Graham, T: +44 (0) 7712 271 469, www.virginiagraham.co.uk Yellow bird print jug, £57, Virginia Graham, as before, Blue striped mug, £40, Virginia Graham, as before, White with pink pattern teapot, £44, High Tea of Highgate, T: +44 (0)20 8348 3162, www.highteaofhighgate.com Francophile dinner plate, £24, 25cm, Natalie Lete, T: +44 (0)203 119 2907, www.anthropologie.eu, White dessert fork, £10.75, Billy Cotton, T: +44 (0)20 7935 0689, www.divertimenti.co.uk Anemone dessert plate, £12.20, 21cm, Nick Munro, sold at Divertimenti, as before, Fold, Unfold table cloth, £66, 142 x 250cm, Margrethe Odgaard, T: +44 (0)114 243 3000, www.nest.co.uk

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20 indulge

Dinner, Butter dish, £6, Of Special Interest, T: +44 (0)20 8340 0909, www.ofspecialinterest.co.uk, Wine glass, £4.50, as before, Salt and pepper pinch pots, £11.20, 7.5cm, David Mellor, T: +44 (0)20 7730 4259, www.davidmellordesign.com, Cutlery (part of a set), £25, Of Special Interest, as before, White creased linen napkin, £12.95, 40x40cm, Cote Bastide, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org, Large dinner plate, £23.95, Wonki Ware, T: +44 (0)20 7221 4566, www.summerillandbishop.com, Medium dinner plate, £24.50, as before, Side plate, £15.50, as before, Soup bowl, £17.95, Wonki Ware T: +44 (0)20 7221 4566, www.summerillandbishop.com, Red stripe table runner, £43.95, Cote Bastide, as before.

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Snack, Green fish platter, £88, Liberty, T: +44 (0)20 7734 1234, www.liberty.co.uk, Wavy-edge footed bowl, £55, 25cm, Souleo, T: +44 (0)20 7935 0689, www.divertimenti.co.uk, Blue with white ikat tablecloth and six napkins, Khadi and Co £218.95, 180 x 130cm, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org


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Selvedge Drygoods, 162 Archway Road, London, N6 5BB, Mon-Fri, 10-4 www.selvedge.org


Full moon story KIM KYUNG SOO ILLUMINATES THE HANBOK National dress may be many things – symbolic, traditional and time honoured – but rarely is it considered a thing of beauty in its own right. Worn under sufferance by pageant queens and others on parade, the pages of Vogue are not its natural habitat: at least, not until Kim Kyung Soo was invited by Vogue Korea to create a shoot that focused on the Hanbok. Kim Kyung Soo’s Full Moon Story takes this traditional Korean garment, which has evolved over 1,600 years, and captures it at its most refined in images that have a calm, lyrical quality. Given centre stage are the two key elements of the costume – colour and silhouette. This Korean formal wear demonstrates a mastery of ‘colour blocking’ that predates the collections of Marc Jacobs by centuries. Its shape is equally distinctive, characterised by a tight upper garment and voluminous skirt (the hanbok completely conceals its wearer's body shape) – balance is achieved through clean lines and simple curves. Consistent but not static, the hanbok has altered over time, particularly the jacket known as a ‘Jeogori’. In 2009 The Suk Joo-sun Memorial Museum of Dankook University used clothing from its 10,000-piece collection of Chosun-era clothes – excavated from burial sites – to trace the trajectory of Hanbok design, from “the free-size abundance that was popular in the 16th century to early 20th-century top coats that leave little to the imagination.” Today Koreans wear the Hanbok on national holidays such as ‘Seollal’, Korean New Year; ‘Chuseok’, a harvest festival; and family festivities such as Hwangap, which marks parents turning sixty – but Kyung Soo eschews these lively backdrops in favour of serenity. “I wanted a neutral stage; only shadows and reflections mattered to me. Colours, faces and models were enhanced by cold and light tones creating an almost surreal feeling.” ••• Beth Smith


Kim Kyung Soo, The Full Moon Story, 2008, Courtesy of Kim Kyung Soo / Galerie Paris-Beijing


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“Jupe by Jackie was set up two years ago because of

through the generations. “The work is intense and takes many hours,” explains Villevoye. The fabric is stretched on a frame, the pattern marked on the silk, and then worked with thread in intricate detail using an extensive variety of stitches. Each tie can take up to eight hours in stitching time alone, resulting in such minute detailing that they are pieces of art in their own right: so much so that Villevoye produces short films, showing the detail of the embroiderers’ work, to introduce new collections. “The designs are always there in my head and become real when I go to India,” she explains. “I learn new stitches and techniques each time I go there, and that sets a new film running in my head.” She says that art has always been her inspiration and a passion while raising her five children. It is vital to her life as a successful interior designer and art collector, and forms the basis of her individual approach to fashion. After starting with neckwear, she used her design experience to launch, a season later, a collection of cocktail dresses. Her current collection focusses on tops and dresses designed for day wear, as well as her ties. Each year, Villevoye produces four collections, including two for men, two for women. Alongside the ties, next season sees a collection of almost school-like, simple shift dresses and tops in plain coloured silk. Character is given by beautiful hand-embroidered finishing, including peter pan collars, and pocket and hem details, usually in contrast colours. Although presented as a men’s collection, it is clear that Villevoye loves the ties to be worn by women as well as men. “The possibilities are numerous,” she says. “Most of the time, I wear a colourful red bow tie on a light blue shirt with a navy jacket, or a grey bow tie on a llight blue shirt with a grey jacket. They really do ‘pepper’ the outfit.” ••• Amelia Thorpe

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an inner drive to create beautiful things,” explains Jackie. That, and a certain frustration at what was currently on offer. “I was so disappointed by what there was in the shops,” she adds. From this slightly vague mission statement a more defined goal was born – to make fine neckwear. Today, from its flagship store and design office in Amsterdam, Jupe by Jackie is earning an international reputation for its intricately hand-embroidered ties and bow ties, produced in limited collections and sold in a number of high-end stores around the world, from Barney’s in New York to L’Eclaireur in Paris. Villevoye’s designs were also recently spotted by Rei Kawakubo, the founder of Comme des Garçons, for her Tokyo store. In a world where ties, even silk ones, are usually printed, the hand embroidery marks the pieces out as distinctly different. The designs are, as Villevoye says, “peppered with personality”, featuring classic colour combinations such as navy and red, blue and yellow, black and white, indigo and cream, and designed to be worn with a spring in your step, as the company’s smiling faced logo suggests. They are embellished with simple, graphic needlework, such as fine stripes, contrast edges, dainty sweeties and daisy-like flowers, while textured chequerboard patterns modernize plain colours. Some are embroidered with metallic thread to add sparkle, others feature tiny beads: all are produced by hand. For the embroidery skills she needed to produce her pieces, Villevoye headed to India. She found an atelier in New Delhi who oversees production. Made mainly of silk, and sometimes linen, each tie is exquisitely hand-embroidered by young artisans, men aged between 20 and 40, trained in India’s long tradition of fine needlework skills, handed down

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JACKIE’S HAND-EMBROIDERED TIES

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Jumping for jupe


32 souk 020 8341 9721

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ww.eucalan.com w w.eucalan.com .eucalan.co Harris Tweed Liberty Kimono Silks Indian Woodblock Vintage Handloom Designer Digital Print Fabrics from around the world ourpatternedhand.co.uk


33 attire

Crowning glories HATS OFF TO LITTLE SHILPA

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34 attire

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Growing up in Mumbai, India Shilpa Chavan loved crowns; it didn’t matter if they were made from cardboard, precious metal or tree bark – the value isn’t always in the material. Now, under her own millinery label Little Shilpa, Chavan designs edgy, colourful headpieces that are innovative in both their type and technique. Little Shilpa evokes Chavan’s childhood nickname and her hats have a playfully sophisticated quality, partly due to her energetic mix of materials with high and low value. Chavan regularly visits Mumbai’s markets sourcing unexpected treasures: neon pink toy figures, underwear, electric fan blades, military sidecaps, as well as coins and feathers. Inspired by the textiles and colours worn at festivals, she’ll buy traditional gold-metallic gauze ribbon and dyes it with layers of rich pigment. But she also finds ‘les objects trouvé’ and renders these found and discarded objects precious in a new context. Chavan likes the challenge of creating a balanced dialogue between what she calls her ‘raw materials’ and the shapes that she builds from them. A stylist as well as a designer, she says that her creative eye lets her ‘tell a whole story’; she thinks in shapes so she can visualize the final look in a photographic frame. She drew on her dual disciplines as stylist and designer when she fashioned a collection for Headonism, the show of rising millinery stars curated by Stephen Jones during London Fashion Week. In a visual wink at the show’s


35 attire

title, Chavan draped her rectangular tables in Indian textiles and positioned her models underneath so their heads – and headpieces – appeared to grow organically from the cloth. One striking shape in the collection was inspired by the enormous black-and-white hat designed by Cecil Beaton and worn by Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady. Chavan interprets the Eliza-Doolittle-at-Ascot chapeau by shaping it as an oversized bow: she forms the loops from neon sky-blue perspex, the unfurling tails from dozens of colourful Indian bangles, suggesting both the graceful arms of India’s classical dance as well as ribbon. Chavan’s Headonism headpieces also reflect the places – India and England – where she has both lived and studied, notably at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion. In 2005 she interned with the renowned milliner Philip Treacy, who recalls Chavan as an ‘enthusiastic, talented and creative designer’. From Treacy, who created 36 headpieces for guests and family members at the recent royal wedding, Chavan took away a lesson that was not on her design-school curriculum: humility. “What was amazing to see was that someone could be so creative and famous and yet be so humble...” she recalls. Chavan began working for Treacy in a whirlwind: ‘On Thursday I sent in my materials; on Friday I interviewed; and on Saturday I cancelled my flight to India so I could begin on Monday.’ Her flexibility has led to other creative boons. When she couldn’t bring her 4

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36 attire

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blocks back to India from London because they were too large to travel with, she made a simple adjustment: she never blocks her hats, but instead creates her shapes from wire frames. She finds freedom in this technique, which invites her to ‘hand-craft’ her pieces. When she does use a ready-made object, such as a helmet, as the foundation for a headpiece, Chavan calls it a ‘mask’ upon which to build her vision. From one decidedly masculine, militaristic base sprouts lush flowers and images of clouds in a soft blue sky that represent India, while transparent branches shaped from laser-cut perspex evoke the chilly London winter. Little Shilpa designs delight in unexpected juxtapositions, locating both whimsy and strength in their balance. Chavan also celebrates India’s love for bright colour. Another ‘Headonism’ piece, made from cascading demi discs, incorporates rangoli, the often-elaborate designs made from richly pigmented powder. Positioned on the ground outside Mumbai residents’ front doors during Diwali, the Festival of Light, these patterns welcome the goddess Lakshmi. In recent years, the labour-intensive coloured-powder tradition has given way to vibrant, ready-made stickers, which Chavan pastes on metal shapes to make a modern rangoli hat. Little Shilpa designs are welcomed by those who not only appreciate fashion as art, but can carry off such a strong style without looking as if they are in costume. As Sasha Wilkins, stylist and author of the blog Liberty London Girl, notes: ‘Little Shilpa’s headdresses speak to the statement wearer, the woman confident in and of herself, who cares only for external opinion in that it reinforces her view of


37 attire

herself, whilst the gentle titfers worn at Ascot speak of inclusion, of wanting to belong, or conforming to social expectation.’ Indeed, Lady Gaga, who follows her own fashion rules, has worn several of Chavan’s headpieces. Gaga is, as Chavan says, one of ‘only a few people in the world who understand or can do justice to the pieces.’ The singer has been photographed for the cover of Canada’s Flare magazine in Chavan’s silver crystal-encrusted bob helmet, invoking flapper-girl glamour à la Louise Brooks. And she recently wore a lace bow hat from Little Shilpa’s Invitation to the Voyage collection for an interview on India’s NDTV. Voyage was inspired by a piece of antique lace that Chavan found while on holiday in Paris (as well as by the Baudelaire poem). For these headpieces, Chavan selected traditional lace stockings, stretching the humble underpinnings over wire curves. The result is sensual, undulating movement with lace ‘ribbons’ that reach out to the horizon like a pair of wings in flight. Chavan’s own horizons appear to be limitless. She just completed a segment for BBC’s ‘Collaboration Culture’ with the Argentinian designer Martin Churba, for which the two designers collaborated on and photographed six fashion looks. And she is currently working on a conceptual project, which sees her designing costumes for the Indian God Ganesha. Although Chavan jokes that she may put him in a track suit, it is only fair that this talented milliner, designer and stylist who loves crowns, and has outfitted a Lady with a headpiece, should next dress a deity. ••• Kate Cavendish

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38 anecdote

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Taking different forms throughout the centuries, concepts of respectability strike an awkward balance between contemporary religious values, the standards of the socially aspirational classes and fashion. Frequently what is daring and forbidden in one generation becomes standard and socially necessary within the next two, before finally being relinquished except by the oldest and most stalwart of a social class. ‘Respectability’ is a relatively recent concept, reflective of class choice in the consumer age. Before mass production and mass marketing, myriad laws and conventions controlled dress. Without the correct social status, even earning enough or having the skills to create the latest styles was useless as it was a breach of the law to wear them. It was relatively rare to be prosecuted under sumptuary laws unless the infraction was grave; but budding fashionistas would certainly think twice because of the abuse and opprobrium heaped upon them by their neighbours. It was not respectable to attempt to dress beyond one’s means. To the Medieval mind, it denied donations that could otherwise go to the church to be given to the poor of the parish. Moreover, to attend church with one’s head uncovered showed an almost blasphemous lack of respect – something that Queen Elizabeth I held in check with a ruling that it was only decent for the lower orders to wear woollen caps. Made of the surfeit of British wool, it was also an excellent way of ensuring the success of the wool trade. Seventeenth century Puritans were concerned with dressing modestly, advocating only the soberest colour palette, the simplest lace and the minimum of adornment. As the burgeoning ‘moral majority’ they loudly decried the indecency of the noble classes’ taste for foreign lace, silk and imported scented gloves as wantonly vain. This argument lost much of its credibility with the revelation that many of the most pious were actually merchants jealously guarding the upper class market for their own expensive goods. Tied in with morality, this left an abiding sensibility about dressing appropriately for one’s class even centuries after the sumptuary laws were rescinded, with fears that dressing above one’s station was in poor taste: and as for the courtesans and ‘demi-reps’ of the 18th century who dressed with a wealth and style that exceeded many of the noblest ladies – downright slutty. Whereas modesty and Judeo-Christian beliefs required a woman to cover her hair and thereby quell the power of her sensuality and spirituality, the

Control issues THE LOST SYMBOLS OF RESPECTABILITY


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Tea Party in a garden on the French Riviera, 'La Vie Heureuse', 1913, Lelong, Rene, Bibliotheque des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, France / Archives Charmet / The Bridgeman Art Library

39 convention was continued for the sake of respectability. The beautiful millinery of the fashionable classes gave poise and status, and diffidence was exhibited in the dowdy caps of spinster aunts and domestic servants. Male hats were more subject to status, and it was no coincidence that in the packed Victorian city the hats of the gentrified industrialist grew to stovepipe proportions while the rigid class system squashed flat the hats of the working class poor – only to be raised when doffed to the upper echelons. Gloves became the ultimate male accessory at the time of the Norman Conquest, showing that the owner was noble enough to be allowed to participate in falconry. They were also useful to slap into the face of an adversary to demand a duel, or to offer as a chivalrous love token. Medieval women were cautioned against accepting them too readily in case they fell foul of the devil’s seduction; nevertheless an elegantly embroidered and perfumed glove quickly became symbolic of a lady to be admired. With the association of the Bishop’s glove symbolising his purity to do God’s work, gloves naturally became essential for any decent person who wished to disassociate themselves from the unsavoury aspects of life. To be ‘straight-laced’ was the ultimate in respectability, displaying an upright character and determined commitment to morality. The narrative art of the 19th century showed women ‘undone’ with their corset laces trailing to indicate their appalling response to seduction, even as corsets became almost orthopaedic in their insistence on controlling and reshaping sinful feminine flesh. It was unthinkable even in the 1950s to go anywhere without the proper foundation garments to keep bottoms and bosoms in abeyance; and even as Marilyn Monroe became famous for her fabulous curves, she was denounced in the press for her lack of a girdle and an unseemly jiggle. It was unthinkable to attend any respectable function without the benefit of stockings, a standard the Queen still holds today for her garden parties. It was only with the greatest reluctance that gentlemen were allowed to abandon their stockings during the Regency and women’s desire to remain unfettered has been greeted with even more resistance. Not only did stockings show that one’s tender regions were properly locked away under a firm foundation, but keeping stockings neat and well darned was a sign of thrift and decency that even the poorest woman could display. ••• Sarah Jane Downing


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41 global

Local delicacy SILK LOOMS LARGE IN THE HISTORY OF LYON

Silk: a fine, lustrous filament, wound around a silk

and became France’s second city after Paris. This fine

taffetas and velvets produced. A number of allied

worm, hiding it, like a secret. The Chinese had

thread has given it a different historical experience

activities of dyeing, embroidery and passementerie

discovered this by the second millennium BC. They

from other towns associated with textile production in

grew up around the weaving.

knew how to coax the moth eggs to grow into fat

France, such as Rouen in the North and Lille in the

By 1554 the first controls on silk weaving were

larvae that could produce this fantastic filament, one

North-East, whose economies were based respectively

established in order to protect this burgeoning

cocoon unravelling a continuous length of up to 900

on wool and linen, and then cotton.

industry, introducing apprenticeships and making it

metres, then twisting them into a thread to weave into

Lyon benefited from good geography. It lay on

difficult to leave the activity for fear of divulging the

a shimmering, light cloth. But the secret escaped,

one of Europe’s natural crossroads, sitting at the

secrets of its manufacture. During the 17th century,

across Asia, to India and on to Persia, then with the

confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers. By the 16th

Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619–1683), Minister of

help of Alexander the Great to a Europe desirous of

century Lyon was an important hub with connections

Finances under Louis XIV, was anxious to improve

this highly prized fabric traded along the ancient

to Italy with its wealthy city states, to Paris, the Low

the state of the French economy, and introduced

transcontinental trade route.

Countries and southern Germany; and was on the

reforms to maximise national prosperity. His focus

Our vocabulary reveals this initial contact – silk,

trade route linking the Mediterranean coast to northern

was on applying strict quality controls on all aspects

sericulture, sericin – all words with Greek roots meaning

Europe. This excellent location meant that as early as

of the cloth produced, and encouraging a rigid guild

‘Chinese’. Eventually silk production began in Europe,

the mid-15th century the city hosted four fairs a year

system that organised the master-weavers and

and by the 11th and 12th centuries was concentrated in

and had an economy that revolved around weaving

their workers, both of whom were then dependent

the city states of Italy, whose silk weavers supplied the

and banking. Much later in the 18th and 19th

on the silk merchants.

rich and powerful with this rare and expensive fabric

centuries a network of canals improved the reach of

It was the silk merchants who ordered and bought

often decorated with gold and silver.

the natural waterways, consolidating Lyon’s position

the silk from the master-weavers, and set the price

and improving transportation times.

for the cloth. By 1660 there were more than 3,000

It was the French King François I (1494 –1547) who, in 1536, gave permission to two Piedmontese

King Henri IV (1589–1610) developed sericulture

master-weavers employing 10,000 workers: this rose to

weavers to set up their looms and establish silk

at the end of the 16th century by encouraging

over 15,000 workers in the silk and associated

weaving in Lyon. He wanted a domestic supply of the

the planting of mulberry trees for silkworm raising,

industries by the late 18th century. More than one third

luxury cloth for the French nobility and clergy, and to

ensuring an adequate supply of raw silk for the

of the population of Lyon was involved with silk in some

reduce his trade deficit from imported silk goods

Lyonnaise industry. It was in the Languedoc, Dauphiné

way. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685

from Italy. In 1540 he granted a monopoly on silk

and Provence regions to the south of Lyon, with their

saw a substantial number of Protestant weavers flee

production to the city of Lyon, and from this moment

optimal climatic conditions, that plantations became

Lyon for Switzerland, Germany, the Low Countries and

the history of the city’s textile industry became tied

established and sericulture developed.

England, where they made an important contribution

to silk weaving.

In the pre-industrial period textiles were produced

to the textile industries in these countries, notably in

at the domestic level in independent ateliers, an

its fortunes growing from this luxurious material, and

activity that employed the greatest number of people

In the closing years of the 17th century and

later, the commerce in silk which brought global

after agriculture. Initially fabrics were plain weaves of

opening decades of the 18th, Lyon’s silk manufacturing

recognition. Through silk, Lyon achieved dominance

one colour, but there were also ribbons, brocades,

slumped with the decrease in royal orders. This 4

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cotton manufacture.

Silk shaped the city’s development and prosperity,


42

automated loom. Later Joseph Marie Jacquard (1752-

attempts to reduce wages and became known as the

mourning period which forbade the wearing of rich

1834) would further develop the idea of a punched

“semaine sanglante”.

silks and brocades. The aristocracy and high clergy

card mechanism for a fully programmable loom.

Decline in the industry started towards the end of

were obliged to observe this custom. In conjunction

Invented in 1801, there were 11,000 Jacquard looms

the 18th century when fashions changed favouring

orders for furnishing fabrics for Versailles ceased

in France by 1812.

mousselines and cottons, and when, in 1884, artificial

between 1699 and 1730.

silk was successfully developed from cellulose by

To survive, the “Grande Fabrique”, as the whole

this time, there was also great artistic creativity that

Hilaire de Chardonnet (1839-1924). Chardonnet had

assembly of workshops for the industry was known,

contributed to the city’s reputation. Changing tastes

been investigating the silkworm diseases which were

looked towards developing an export market to absorb

favoured the designs of Philippe de Lasalle (1723-

decimating sericulture in southern France when he

its surplus production. This they achieved, notably

1804) and the flower painter Pierre Toussaint

had the idea of producing a synthetic version of silk.

through sales of fabric for the interiors of foreign

Dechazelle (1752-1835). Both artists drew inspiration

Added to this the 19th century saw less creativity with

palaces, such as those in Russia under Catherine the

from nature, and the latter went on to found a silk

the designs used in the fabrics. Later in the 20th

Great, and in Spain under Charles IV. Consequently, by

workshop which became Manufacture Prelle, an

century artists such as Sonia Delaunay and Raoul Dufy

the French Revolution (1789-1799) there were about

enterprise still in business today.

contributed designs to the failing industry: however it

Despite the improvements in weaving efficiency

never fully recovered and continued to decline until the

and design, the 18th and 19th centuries were not

1930s and the Great Depression. In the post war era

For the remainder of the 18th century the industry

without their crises. The French Revolution took its toll

global silk manufacture returned to its origins in the Far

saw further rapid growth aided by improvements to the

and a large number of workshops closed with the

East, and Japan which invested heavily became the

efficiency of the weaving looms, making it quicker and

loss of an important part of their clientele. This was

main supplier of silk cloth.

easier to complete complex designs in several colours.

partially offset by workshops turning instead to

Silk manufacture is little more than a memory in

This enabled Lyon’s silk weavers to change their

producing plain fabrics with embroidery, which the

Lyon today, and figures more as part of the city’s tourist

patterns quickly, and avoid their designs being copied.

rising bourgeoisie could afford.

industry. Yet there are still a handful of companies

14,500 looms and some 28,000 workers in the textile industry in Lyon.

Then there were also labour difficulties from the

established during the golden age of silk in Lyon

“canuts”, as the silk workers were called. Agitation

that are still in business. Manufacture Prelle was

The first loom developments, devised by Claude

had started even before the Revolution with the

established in 1752 and Tassinari et Chatel in 1680.

Dangon in 1620, allowed the silk weavers to create

“révolte des deux sous”, brought about by starvation

Some companies dating from the 19th century – such

patterned fabrics of one colour. The second wave of

due to an exceedingly weak economy. Later in

as Atelier de Soierie (est 1895) and Marc Rozier (est

substantial loom improvements enabled elaborate

1831 and again in 1834 the canuts revolted on

1890) – have survived by specialising in scarves and

polychrome weaves to be worked. These relied on a

account of their poor working conditions. The first

widening their range to include cloth other than silk.

system of punched cards and by 1745 Jacques de

revolt, which failed, aimed to enforce the fixed rate

Together they provide a valuable insight into this time

Vaucanson (1709-1782) had created a completely

for silken goods. The second uprising ignited over

honoured industry. ••• Genevieve Woods

Both factors that contributed to continued supremacy in the global market.

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Along with the technical creativity in the industry at

Illustration by Ingrid Mida

global was partly due to royal deaths and the long


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44 inform inspire insight

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Southern charm GENEVIEVE WOODS FINDS A FEAST OF FABRICS IN FRANCE


45 Soierie Vivante will bring to life the silk weaving traditions of the 19th century. It is located in the Croix-Rousse quarter, once an active weaving community, and now a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the same area is the Maison des Canuts demonstrating the use of a Jacquard loom, which was instrumental in improving the efficiency of silk production. “Canuts”, initially a perjorative term, was the name given to silk workers in the weaving shops. Ribbons, fringes, braids, tassles, laces and other trimmings all fall under the French term “passementerie” and are created out of silk and cotton threads. Some of the finest examples are shot through with metallic strands. These ornamental elements grew as offshoots of Lyon’s silk industry. At Saint-Etienne, lying to the south-west of Lyon, they perfected weaving the short widths of trimming: it became known as the ribbon capital of France. This city, laid out over seven hills on the edge of the high Auvergne, celebrates its three industrial achievements in the Musée d'Art et d'Industrie; they are textiles and textile machinery, arms and bicycles. The museum’s important collection of ribbons shows the range of motifs, colours and forms that attest to the region’s creativity and savoir-faire. This continues today at the company Julien Faure established in 1864, at the Domaine de la Merlanchonnière in nearby SaintPaul-en-Jarez, and also at Jonzieux by La Maison de la Passementerie. Such sewing notions are intended for interiors or ceremonial costumes, but two contemporary French artists are beginning to explore how passementerie can be incorporated into their work– Léa Stansal and Lucile Dupeyrat, whose creations range from bags and textile jewellery to “objets”. Passing out of the Rhône-Alpes region and down the Rhône river corridor, leaving behind Valence where the Midi is said to begin, one arrives at Marseille on the Mediterranean coast. A working port set in the surrounding region of Provence, it was4

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Susy Pilgrim-Waters

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Textiles form an important part of French cultural heritage and are housed in the many museums found around the country. For the “tissuphile” whose time is at a premium, to discover each one would be an extensive project. Focusing on the southern half of France, the Occitan region, offers delights enough for one trip. Occitania, a linguistic and cultural concept that has existed since the Middle Ages, lifts the visitor from the north into a different world. This was the area of the Troubadours, the musician-poets who introduced themes of courtly love and chivalry into European literature. There are still half a million speakers of this language spread across the region which is dominated, at its centre, by the uplands of the Massif Central. It has mountains on its western and eastern edges, the prominent Rhône valley and two contrasting littorals, the Atlantic and Mediterranean. With mild winters and a summer climate that is hot and dry, Occitania’s scenery, villages and towns, odours, colours and history have offered inspiration to local artists and craftspeople. The journey should start in Lyon. Although it lies just outside the Occitan region, its visual elements speak of the south. The vegetation changes as does the architecture, and the houses begin to take on the orange pantile roofs associated with the Mediterranean. Lyon was the one-time capital of Gaul; it is now considered the gastronomic capital of the nation. The city has one of the richest textile collections in the world, located down an unprepossessing narrow street in the Presqu'ile area formed by the confluence of the Rhône and Saône rivers. This is the Musée des Tissus with over two million pieces from both the eastern and western textile traditions, that holds examples spanning some 2000 years. The city gained prominence from the silk industry which supplied France, Europe and beyond with sumptuous silks for interiors and clothing, see pg 40. Even today Hermès silk scarves are still made in Lyonnais factories. A visit to the


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at one time an important centre for the manufacture of printed cottons, a technique introduced by Armenian merchants in the mid-17th century. Raw cotton imported from the Levant gave rise to the typical cloth associated with Provence today. Visit the Musée Souleïado at Tarascon, midway between Avignon and Arles, to discover the history behind the bright prints with typical Mediterranean motifs of lemons, olives and flowers. Commercial production still continues, and at Aux Olivades they pride themselves on producing cottons in the manner established in 1648. Despite a wide range of fabrics, including classic French prints, toile de Jouy, jacquards and silks, their speciality is the Provencal cloth which captures the spirit and intensity of colour found in the south. Further along the coast to the east, in the hinterland behind Nice, is Grasse, a centre of the perfume industry. The special microclimate found in the Alpine foothills favoured flower growing, and it is perhaps the distinctive blue of the lavender fields that are best known from this part of Provence. Explore the old town with its terracotta, pink and ochre coloured buildings and narrow streets to protect one from the sun, and visit the historic perfume manufacturers of Fragonard, Molinard and Galimard. However it is inside the Musée Provençal du Costume et du Bijou that one can see how Provencal fabrics were used in regional costumes. Provence is also famous for its quilting. There is the “piqûre de Marseille” a corded quilting technique developed in Marseille, and “boutis” for a stuffed quilting method. The Maison du Boutis at Calvisson near Nîmes has examples dating from the 18th and 19th century, and also offers quilting classes. In Aix, at Côté Bastide the boutis has been updated. This along with their range of linens in neutrals and whites, it speaks of a simpler life. It evokes the

special quality of light found in Provence that is so attractive to painters. What cloth could have had more impact on modern fashion than denim? It is said to have been produced in Nîmes from about the late 16th century as an attempt, unsuccessfully, to reproduce a cloth produced in Genoa and used by sailors. The Musée du Vieux Nîmes explains its history, as well as textile production in general in the Nîmes area over the past three centuries, and exhibits examples of shawls and local costumes. Denim is now associated with cowboys, the American West and workers’ overalls, and the country western theme is the inspiration behind the designs of Artisan Couturier, an atelier based at Nîmes handcrafting their creations in the finest French linens. A diversion to the north-west of Nîmes brings one to the Cevennes, a mountainous area on the eastern edge of the Massif Central. Its vegetation is marked by the abundance of mulberry trees which attests to the silk worms raised in the region. At Saint-Hyppolyte-du-Fort there is a museum dedicated to this activity, the Musée de la Soie. Currently it is closed until 2013 but for those interested in raising silkworms they can be ordered via the museum’s website. Then what could be more pleasurable than to turn south and skirt around the southern edge of the Massif Central and experience the Languedoc-Roussillon? The region produces half of France’s grapes thanks to its warm winters and hot summers, and has been an important wine-making region for centuries. Besides its fine southern gastronomy it is home to the fortified city of Carcassonne, well worth visiting while en route for the next destination. Toulouse, the Rose City, is so described because of the red bricks used in its buildings. It saw a period of great prosperity from the end of the 15th and into the 16th


47 global transforms wool into magnificent works of art. The skills were introduced by weavers from Flanders who arrived in the late 16th century, and today the ateliers in both Aubusson and neighbouring Felletin are still producing tapestries to order. This special art form has seen a revival since the 1930s, attributed to the initiatives of the artist Jean Luçat. The Cité international de la tapisserie et de l’art tissé (CiTArT) houses the Musée de la tapisserie d’Aubusson, where you can discover the art of tapestry, the tools and techniques used and see their marvellous tapestry collection. The CiTArT has initiated a project to promote the heritage and economic aspects of the art form. This will be completed in 2015, with an enlarged building and facilities for extending education and training activities. For a more practical and craft-based approach visit the Maison du Tapissier, a small museum dedicated to tapestry weaving with demonstrations for visitors. Then perhaps organise a visit to a commercial atelier to find out how the tapestry weaver’s metier is surviving in the 21st century; either at the Manufacture St Jean located at Aubusson, or at the Atelier Pinton at Felletin. The latter is famed for producing the fine tapestry for Coventry Cathedral, designed by Graham Sutherland. If the impact of coloured wools and amazing designs starts to tempt you to try tapestry weaving, then this too is possible in Aubusson. At Atelier A2 the world of the “lissier” or “tapissier” can be experienced at first hand. The excursion has brought us close to the starting point, with Lyon now just 200 km away. It has taken in some wonderful scenery, and encounters with gastronomy and traditions proudly preserving the rich culture of Occitania. It has also revealed the variety of ways textiles have been worked in just one half of France. •••

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century from a trade in woad. With Albi and Carcassonne it formed the ‘blue triangle’ producing the balls of dried pigment, known as “cocagne de pastel” which were exported to centres such as London and Antwerp. This trade declined sharply with indigo imports from the New World. The Muséum de Toulouse takes a look at woad and other plants using for dying. At nearby Lectoure there is a revival of woad production, and the company Bleu de Pastel de Lectoure allows visitors to see the process; its outlets are at Lectoure and in Toulouse at La Fleurée de Pastel. A walk around Toulouse reveals some of the impressive buildings that once belonged to the prosperous woad merchants. Before leaving this corner of France it is worth noting the important contribution of wool production in the Massif Central, whose altitude and landscape were only suitable for sheep and cattle. In the Tarn on the western edge of the Massif wool was an important commodity from the 16th to the 19th century, along the Thoré valley. More recently at nearby Mazamet wool was removed from imported sheepskins, and an industry developed around carding, combing, spinning and weaving the wool. The Musée départemental du Textile, at Labastide-Rouairoux, tells of this artisanal textile production. The final stage on this southern exploration of France is to turn north and head for the Limousin. An enjoyable detour would take in Bordeaux on the Atlantic coast, which produces some of the finest wines in the world and is only outclassed by Paris in the number of historical monuments. The journey would then continue, perhaps, with another stop to visit Limoges to learn about its famous fine porcelain. Finally the destination would be reached, Aubusson, a town associated with tapestries and carpets for over 500 years. Here is the place to marvel at human endeavour which


49 attire

Uniformly dressed DEIRDRE MCSHARRY RECALLS THE RULES OF RESPECTABILITY

When, later, a journalist friend took me to meet his mother, a Fleet Street columnist, I noted her suit, hat, camellia pinned to lapel, typing with red nails and thought: I could do that. Get the uniform, get the job. In the New York of the Fifties the uniform was paramount. I arrived in the offices of Women’s Wear Daily in my Donegal tweed suit, brown court shoes and (laddered!) stockings. It all had to go. Suit too hot for central heating, shoes and ladders too tacky for my editor. New etiquette: black leather accessories for winter, black patent for summer, white gloves and tight tailoring for slogging down Seventh Avenue. By the early Sixties the young president's wife, Mrs Kennedy, influenced by French designer Givenchy – and her mantra to "look like a column" – created a new etiquette. The old uniform morphed into the Jackie Look. And very useful that bouffant/pillbox/gloves/soft suit get-up proved to be for working girls everywhere. Until the Sixties began to shake and swing. In Paris I saw singer Sylvie Vartan on stage with Johnny Hallyday in a dress like a nightie, while back in my London office Twiggy twirled in little boy shorts and a Fairisle knitted by her mum. She liked skimpy skirts and showing her knickers. Toothy smile and freckles. Suddenly posh models looked old – and out. Mini and skinny was the news. With skirts at crotch level stockings and suspenders were redundant. In came tights. The body suit followed as transparency became the rave, followed by a torrent of styles from Boho hippy to Courreges' space style. At the Paris collections I recall seeing a gang of New York fashion editors dressed as Montenegran peasants. Those were heady times. The old certainties were crumbling. The availability of tights coincided with the arrival of birth control pills and the dishwasher. All three advanced the cause of women's liberation. We got better jobs. Made our own rules. Stopped worrying about class and wore what was comfortable. Symbols of respectability? In a world of jeans for everybody who needed them? •••

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It’s not a word you hear often today, respectable, but I am old enough to recall the word's power, the necessity of looking respectable. Getting dressed to ‘Go Out’ was like arming for war – gloves, heels, proper coat, stockings with seams, hair done and if possible a hat. Untidy clothes were as bad as loose morals. From the age of seven, when I made my First Communion dressed in white, everything worn in public had to be immaculate. As I was already boarding in a convent I understood the rules. From the smallest pupil in her tunic to the Mother Prioress in her medieval robes we were all uniformed. The girls at my convent school called my mother ‘The Merry Widow’. It was wartime Dublin and as a young widow she was expected to wear mourning black. She did so with dash. There was perhaps, a shade too much diamante at ear and throat. Underneath was a satin slip and lace suspenders. The ‘respectable’ court shoes had silver heels. Kid gloves were crushed to show the wrist. The hat was swathed in a veil that made the most of the maquillage and tinted hair. The nuns clustered round my Mum and begged her to help them make costumes for the school plays. Thank God she – a working mum! – appeared to play by the rules. As did we as devout convent girls: veils for Mass, hair scraped back or plaited tight. Skirts were long, drooped over Liberty bodices, knitted stockings and knickers down to the knee. A bony hand would often check after we dressed that we had not pulled up the elastic to make them short. Skirts must cover our heels when kneeling. Complaints garnered the retort “Who is looking at you anyway?” This was puzzling as we dressed to be deemed “respectable” and have that respectability noticed. With a mother who edited a woman's magazine inevitably I ended up in the business. Commenting on what women wore and why became a way of life and I grasped that the ‘uniform’ is always with us. From the age of 13 I had aped the New Look in a mini corset and skirt I made from a circle of felt. It stuck in my bike wheels but saw me through college.


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ADELPHI PAPER HANGINGS TEND TO THE PATTERNS OF THE PAST

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Walled gardens

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52 industry

Left: American, 1811-1817. The Bixby Vine and Drapery pattern is similar to patterns printed by Moses Grant, Jr. during the same period but it is thought that the document of this pattern is a contemporary copy. Right: English c.1765, reproduced from fragments discovered in West St. Mary's City, Maryland; the original document is part of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation collection.

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Many people admire things of the past. For those in the design field, the study of these bygone eras informs the work of the present day. While researchers, historians and design enthusiasts respect and pay homage to the sensibilities of other times, most do not undertake the challenge of reviving an entire art form. By founding Adelphi Paper Hangings in the United States in 1999, Chris Ohrstrom and Steve Larson have defined themselves as the latter: the rarity that steps beyond admiration and into practice. Based in New York State, Adelphi was created to preserve the knowledge and techniques of traditional wood block printed wall coverings. The idea for the company grew out of a symposium on historic building practices. Attendees agreed that these printing methods needed preserving. By combining hand, block, paper and paint, the artisans at Adelphi set out to create historically accurate wall coverings that used classic forms and colourways to enhance myriad spaces: historic, contemporary and in between. Born out of reverence for traditional manufacturing and motifs, the company has successfully reproduced papers from the 1740s-1930s since its inception. The use of authentic ingredients and procedures enables Adelphi’s employees to work in the same manner as the artisans who produced the original papers. Dating from 1720 to the 1860s, the pre-Industrial Revolution printing methods are only slightly modified to take advantage of modern advancements. The binder in the distemper paint used for printing has been altered for ease of hanging and maintenance, and workers also use a higher quality paper that provides longevity and consistency for the product. Co-owner Steve Larson emphasises the importance of hand printing: “It’s quite different than screen or digital printing. Block printed wallpaper is deliberate, physical.” Larson continues: “Each member of our small but highly skilled staff is involved with the various steps of the process: drafting patterns, mixing paint, grounding and printing.” The process of


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Right: French c.1800-1815. This simple pattern was found on a wedding box made in Paris in May 1804; the box is now in the collection of the Musee de Papier Peint, Rixheim, France.

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reproducing a paper takes many months. Beginning with a small scrap, or – if luck is on their side – a whole roll, Adelphi’s researchers are challenged to recreate the pattern or colours. In many instances, the original colour and design of historic papers is not easy to determine. Tattered and torn swatches, sheets and scraps often reveal only partial patterns. The mystery is solved through research, evaluation and restoration, but also through the artisans’ familiarity with papers that share a kinship. This careful analysis and production has earned the trust and respect of the museum and design community worldwide over the past two decades. Through careful work, Adelphi has amassed a library of American, English and French patterns. A look through its inventory is a history lesson in design trends of the last 200 years. For Steve the lasting appeal of the designs lies in the fact that they are “specific, genuine and haven’t been diluted to conform to modern tastes.” Classics such as stripes, geometrics, damask, and chintz anchor the range. Iconic motifs of laurel, Greek key and medallions have a familiar, timeless style. Adelphi shares insights and backgrounds of the papers on its website. Because of the company’s extraordinary abilities, it has also obtained licensing agreements with many well-respected archives and museums such as The Smithsonian Institution and The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in the United States, and the Musée du Papier Peint in France. Utilizing historic patterns, colours, tools and methods, Adelphi is able to reproduce the best of the past for the present. Even though printing has changed dramatically and modern methods are quicker, easier and cheaper, the company does not long for other means to an end. Instead, its commitment to the craft is exemplified in the finished product: beautiful, honest and authentic works of art worthy of living in rooms of all ages; rooms where the art is the wall. ••• Rinne Allen and Lucy A. Gillis

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Left: American 1810-1820. This folksy paper, American in design, was found in an upstairs bedchamber in the home of Ada Harris, a legendary antiques dealer from upstate New York.


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Namesake VICTORIA BAIN TRACES THE ENDURING TRADITION OF MONOGRAMS


‘supplying a real need by the publishing of this book’ which contained ‘5 double alphabets in the most useful sizes, simple and elegant in conception, and the result of careful study’. The size of a monogram varied according to the item it was used on. Smaller letters were used for items such as handkerchiefs, larger letters for underlinen; for marking household items such as towels, napkins, cloths etc, an even larger letter, up to an inch in height; and for items such as pillowcases, table cloths and sheets a more complicated design was often created. Techniques employed around this time varied from satin stitch with the broader parts in split stitch, to satin stitch with corded outlines, and fillings in back stitch. Most stitches were white. These are techniques and scales that embroiderers still use today. Monogramming took on a new look in the 1930s, influenced by the Art Deco movement. Ornate, intertwined letters were replaced by streamlined monograms. Articles were continuously published around 1935 encouraging the monogram: however by the end of World War II the art form had declined. In the 1950s and 60s, American periodicals reported the return of the monogram in the home, due to the trend for highly personalised items such as stationery, handkerchiefs, lingerie and bath towels; to the extent that in 1952 Rosamund Pratt of House Beautiful Magazine amusingly comments that “when every possession of a man or a woman or a couple is indelibly tattooed, it might suggest that the possessors are afraid that thieves are rampant, or that amnesia would overtake them and that they might forget who

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they are...". Half a century on and the monogram lives on, a meaningful mark still used to characterise an identity. It can now however be created in a far more commercial way: click on a Google search engine and a multitude of embroidery companies come up, mimicking hand-stitch through the use of the multihead embroidery machine to embellish a company name on a t-shirt, or a child’s name on a cushion. Companies still exist that carry on the ‘old traditions’ through both hand-work and high quality machine work, in a skilled and discerning way. The atelier of Edith Mezard, a Provençal company, personalises French linen pillowcases, table cloths and bedcovers with clients’ monograms through the use of a hand-embroidered satin stitch; and the embroiderers of the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace are regularly commissioned to create monograms on Christening gowns, and on pillows or pillowcases as personalised gifts for a bride and bridegroom. Margaret Dier, who manages the fourstrong team at the school, still uses a raised satin stitch finish for such work if requested. The raised effect is created by using a split stitch around the edge of the design, then building up several layers of either satin, split or chain stitch to create a curved shape; and then working the final satin stitch over the top to produce a neat edge and smooth overall finish. A recent project we worked on, at Victoria Bain, is an intertwined ‘SL’ monogram for the Sandy Lane Hotel in Barbados. Although machine-created, the thought and method are researched in as great a detail as practised by Therese de Dillmont in the 19th century at DMC. The intertwining of the S and L needs to look perfect and be exquisite in its finish: but practicality and durability will also be at the top of the hotel specifier’s requirements, mindful of the thousands of people who sit against a cushion or chair during its existence. Milan Kundera said ‘We don't know when our name came into being or how some distant ancestor acquired it. We don't understand our name at all, we don't know its history and yet we bear it with exalted fidelity, we merge with it, we like it, we are ridiculously proud of it.’ As my mind drifts back to the once-proud owner of the monogramed linen sitting on that brocante stall, I realise it’s the same. In a world of ‘corporate brand identity’, perhaps the ‘personal’ is even more cherished. Some things don’t change from age to age: a mark valued so highly then is just as important an expression of individualism today. •••

anecdote

left Alamy right Carolyn Quartermaine

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The first image that comes to my mind when one mentions the word ‘monogram’ is the town of l'Isle sur la Sorgue in Southern France, where the brocante stalls are furnished with antique linen lying shaded from the baking Provencal heat, heavy yet soft to the touch, offwhite rather than fresh white, each piece distinguished by its own mark and personal history: a mainly ‘raised’ satin stitched monogram heralding a one-time proud owner, now selling to foreigners and French alike, be they decorators buying for clients or those drawn to the history of the woven cloth and the beauty bestowed upon it by the use of hand stitch. Today we tend to connect the word with fashion and homewares yet its origins extend at least as far back as Egyptian hieroglyphics. The actual word ‘monogram’ is derived from two Greek words meaning ‘single’ and ‘a letter’. Strictly speaking, a monogram is the combination of two or more letters in such a way that one letter forms part of another and the overall design can’t easily be separated. Whatever the origin, it is a simple mark that has been handed down from age to age. The Greeks employed the mark on their medals, coins and sculptures. During the Middle Ages the monogram was added to buildings carved on the keystone to identify its founder or lord. For centuries artists have marked their work with a monogram, which functioned instead of, or in addition to, a signature. But in fashion and homewares early monograms served as laundry markers, allowing linens to be washed without confusion. Each article would be marked in the corner with initials, originally in cross stitch and often in red thread; sometimes accompanied by a date or number. It wasn’t until the 19th century that it became fashionable to adorn household articles with Latin or Gothic characters embroidered in satin stitch. Cross stitched letters, being considered insignificant, were replaced by bold, ornate and decorative letters often enclosed within a shield or some alternative decorative flourish: later the letters were interlaced to form the monograms as we recognise them today. In the second half of the 19th century DMC threads brought out a wonderful French publication called Monograms and Alphabets for Combination by Therese de Dillmont. The book describes that at the time, figures and monograms for embroiderers were ‘simply drawn for the most part’; but that ‘there was a lack of a model alphabet, simple and elegant, and comparatively easy to work, where you could combine two letters from two combinable alphabets’; they believed they were


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Learning curve TAMASYN GAMBELL’S WORK IN PROGRESS

appropriately – the best of times and the worst of times. But before travel came an education that Tamasyn believes was the key to finding her classic, restrained style. No examination of Tamasyn’s work would be complete without reference to her obvious love of Mid Century Modern, and though Tamasyn says she has “always appreciated” the style it has not always defined her work. During her BA at Chelsea she admits she was more preoccupied with process. Asked about her graduate show at New Designers entitled “After the Water” she recalls plenty in the way of distressed leather, embossing and text-heavy patterning. “My work was raw at the end of my BA. Which is why it was good for me to move straight on to my MA at the Royal College of Art. I know it doesn’t suit everyone but I needed to continue to explore the ideas I’d touched on.” Her MA was, she explains, “technique driven”. Looking at her latest designs, still drying on the printing table, it is difficult to reconcile the spare, linear shapes with the “flocking, foiling, distorted flowers, netting and enlarged lace prints” that made up Tamasyn’s MA projects. “My work has definitely become more unisex over the years, the obvious femininity has fallen away.” What remains is the structure, the bones of beautiful pattern that need no frills, nothing more than colour and carefully chosen fabrics to bring them to life. French poet, aviator and author of The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupery once said “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” For Tamasyn that discovery was made in Paris. After graduation she moved there with her friend Sophie, whose talent for finding fantastic places to live meant Tamasyn’s backdrop to working in France was a glorious flat in Montmartre complete with high ceilings, wooden shutters and even the odd chandelier. Working freelance for various couture houses was a dream start to her career. Highlights included working on an

Autumn/Winter collection for Sonia Rykiel and seeing prints she had designed appear on the catwalk. One in particular, a design featuring childhood images of Sonia Rykiel, was used for the fashion show invitation and after the show Tamasyn could be found in the aisles scooping up invites as souvenirs. However the lasting lesson she took from the experience was a simple one – the importance of materials. The beautiful fabrics she worked with were the essence of her experience in the couture houses. Which may be part of the reason her experience in

the second of the two cities, Stockholm, was far more difficult. Her job in the ‘Maternity and Big is Beautiful’ design department of high street giant H&M felt restrictive: “I think it was too commercial for me, I found it hard to spend all my time designing on a computer. But I have friends who worked in other departments who had a great time.” Tamasyn is quick to point out that every experience has its own value; “you can learn just as much, if not more, from the less than perfect ones.” “I learnt that I want my work to have longevity, not to be seasonal in the sense that it will last for just a few

months. I have a problem with the throw away nature of print in fashion, and I think that has influenced my move away from garments and toward interiors where things are a little slower. I like the idea that people will live with the products for longer. At the moment many people can’t afford to move and have to make the most of the living space they have. Perhaps, against that backdrop, these products have a greater value?” In this sense Tamasyn pays more than lip service to mid century design ideals. And her latest project with Ercol, a furniture company founded in 1920, fits perfectly against this background. Tamasyn wasn’t shy about pointing this out to them. “I approached them,” she confesses. “After my collection for Førest London (where I upholstered Scandinavian furniture that had been sourced by owner Eva Coppens) I wanted to continue to collaborate with other companies. Ercol was at the top of my list. So I wrote to them suggesting my work would be a good match and they got back to me straight away.” It was a bold move from a relative newcomer to the interior design field. “Yes, I suppose so, but I’m confident about my work. The RCA rooted that in us and gave us the ability to talk about our work. Anyway I’ve always been passionate and driven.” The project brings together all the strands of Tamasyn’s career to date: the long admired design of Ercol’s furniture, the carefully sourced linen from the John England Mill in Ireland – “In the past year I’ve become preoccupied with linen and they are one of the last mills of their kind” – and, of course, Tamasyn’s prints. Like a balanced equation it all adds up perfectly – a lesson in design we should all pay attention to. ••• Beth Smith Tamasyn Gambell’s work will be on show at Tent London, 20-23 September 2012 Old Truman Brewery London E1, T: +44 (0)20 7739 5561, www.tentlondon.co.uk, The London Design Festival, 14-23 September 2012, www.londondesignfestival.com London Design Festival

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Tamasyn Gambell and Forest London collaboration

Tamasyn Gambell’s career is a tale of two cities and –


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his partner, Brandon Mably, to a photoshoot with Bruce Webber. For now it’s a chance to do what he loves best, work with colour. “Colour is my most passionate obsession,” he admits, and no one who has stepped past his mosaicked front porch could doubt him. Kaffe was born in San Francisco in 1937. He spent much of his youth in Big Sur, California, where his parents bought a log cabin from Orson Welles and tranformed it into the famous Nepenthe restaurant, a gathering place for artists. At the age of 19 he won a scholarship to the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, but left after 3 months to paint in London. He settled in England in 1964. A kaleidoscope of ventures have taken place in the 48 years since that arrival. One of the first was a trip to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb, see issue 26. There he bought Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit. Knitting is one of the crafts Kaffe is most famous for, but other media attract him too. Samples of his needlepoint (Kaffe designs needlepoint kits for Ehrman Tapestries) are scattered throughout the house including a huge pile of cushions in the living room. Everything he designs is made up and the collection spans decades and a spectrum of styles. Keeping record of the prodigious output is something of a problem and the top floor of the house has become an informal archive. In the future it is hoped the

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Abundance is a lovely word and one that lends itself to descriptions of Kaffe Fassett’s London home. Exuberance follows close on its heels, as this is a space where colours, textures and techniques join forces to create a virtuoso display of creativity. In this interior the enthusiasm for pattern and colour is tangible – in the form of hundreds of paintings, pots and textiles – and contagious. Artfully arranged collections draw you in: a shelf of vegetable-shaped ceramics raises a smile and lets you know that this is a place where beauty is enjoyed and interacted with on a daily basis. Nothing is behind glass or in cabinets. Without pausing to reflect you might begin to use phrases such as ‘a riot of colour’ – but wait. Yes, this is a house like no other, objects are gathered on a larger scale than usual – why have three needlepoint cushions when you can have thirty-five? (The answer might be that abundant means ‘full to overflowing’.) Nevertheless there is a peaceful centre to the profusion and it is Kaffe himself. A man who expresses himself in measured tones and has a patient, thoughtful air. It doesn’t quite make sense. A glance through his new autobiography shows that this is a man who, in design terms, hit the ground running and has never stopped. Really he should be charging around, issuing orders and trying to balance the five or six projects he has on the go. Instead, the day we visit he is at his easel taking five minutes to finalise a new design. In twenty minutes a car will arrive to take him and

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house will become a study centre where researchers can take inspiration from their surroundings. In 1988 Kaffe was the first living textile artist to have a one-man show at the Victoria & Albert Museum: though the designation ‘textile artist’ is a moot point. Kaffe’s paintings are an underappreciated part of his oeuvre. His detailed canvases and murals appear throughout the house, sometimes sitting behind the objects they depict, creating a pleasing effect of added depth and decoration. Kaffe seems happy to turn his hand to anything that meets his criteria of colour and pattern. And as soon as he learns a new skill he seems determined to pass it on to as many people as possible through books, workshops and lectures. There is a generosity and sociability to the process that feels good-natured. Naturally the same atmosphere pervades his home. It is a social hub and stunning backdrop for events large or small. The dining room in particular is a delight – a study in foliage or an interior “ode to the cabbage”, a recurring motif in Kaffe’s work. Horticulture is yet another interest – Kaffe designed a gold medal winning garden for the 1998 Chelsea Flower Show and returned last year when invited to create one of five ‘Artisan Retreats’. His was called a ‘Needlepoint Haven’. In the coming months there will be several chances to discover Kaffe’s work. His new autobiography tells his story in his own words, and early next year Marsha Hunt and Sue Timney will design his retrospective at The Fashion And Textile Museum in London. That will be followed by a show at The Welsh Quilt Centre, Lampeter in March 2013. Of course that’s not all that is in his diary: it’s a wonder he ever finds a moment to enjoy his colourful home. ••• Dreaming in Colour, An Autobiography, Stewart, Abrams & Chronicle Books, ISBN-10: 158479996X, £25, Kaffe Fassett at RHS Shades of Autumn Show, 23–24 October 2012, Lawrence Hall, Greycoat Street, Westminster SW1P 2PE, www.rhs.org.uk


Tour of Eastern Bhutan to include a Major Festival combined with a short tour in Assam centred in Guwahati with visits to Tea Gardens, Textile Villages and Khaziranga Wildlife Reserve. November 2013

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22 days in enchanting Peru with 8 days of workshops: tapestry weaving, knitting, spinning, embroidery, braiding, pan pipes and gourd engraving. Lima, Arequipa, the Colca Canyon, Cusco, Machu Picchu will be visited and much more... NEW! 10 day road trip out of Cusco, through gorgeous scenery, to Ayachucho in the central highlands to visit textile artists and sites in this pristine region of Peru! “If you have a real curiosity about the subject (of textiles) PUCHKA’s 22 day Textile/Folk Art/Market Tours are the best option.....� PERU: MOON Handbooks

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Clothing and Textiles from India

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The Fabulous Craft and Textile Journey in Rajasthan and Gujarat to include the Surajkund Crafts Mela with an extension to Kipling Camp in Madya Pradesh February 2014

Ethical Trade Textiles/Folk Art/Market Tours

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Tour of Orissa starting in Kolkatta and including the Textile and Craft belt and the Tribal Area November 2013

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Superb Cultural, Craft and Textile Tours in Bhutan and India


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ancestors. They make intuitive, subtle changes as they work to make it their own. They create something that from a western intellectual perspective is so advanced and erudite– yet for them is second nature and, we assume, largely unconscious. The Persian word ‘gelim’ is less well-known than the more commonly used ‘kilim’ and means ‘to spread roughly’. The Mazandaran gelims are typically quite fine and densely woven, made up of strips 50 or 60cms wide that have been stitched together to form a larger textile. Gelims are used in many ways and are completely functional, as clothing, floor and bedding coverings, endorsing their definition. The two-layer gelims can be slept upon, the second half wrapping over as a bedcover. They are made from wool from local sheep and are dyed naturally; hence their distinctive colour palettes. The bark and berries of local plants, camomile yellow, cochineal from the insect, and the more familiar indigo and madder are used by the women who will usually dye their own wool as needed. The weave structure is primarily weft-faced plain weave made on simple treadle looms. The unusual ikat effects they achieve using this weft-faced method are wonderful: almost all ikats are warp-faced where the colour is applied to the vertical warp threads before weaving, and perhaps also to the weft in the case of a double ikat. The precision and delicacy demonstrated by these ikat-like gelims is the real revelation of these pieces. The feathery softness contained in minimalistic, geometric forms creates an optical depth which defies their simple structure and technique. Tanavoli’s book takes great care to point out the “discontinuous-weft-float sequence ratios of 1/1, 1/2 and 1/3”. Indeed, this seems to be the magic twist to the ikat-like gelims; they become like watercolour paintings, undulating across their matt surfaces. Tanavoli groups the pieces together under various themes; minimal, ikat-like, horizontally striped, plain solid-colour, as you progress through the book. Each style manages to maintain a tension and density of its own. Some of them are minimal. Their restraint is4

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It seems almost impossible to believe, in this day and age, that something remains missed or unseen in the world of textiles. Werner Weber, a Zurich-based Oriental carpet dealer, travelled to Northern Iran, to a region he thought devoid of antique carpets; there he found a place full of undiscovered masterpieces. The region of Hezar-jerib had long been thought to be the one place in Iran where one couldn’t find carpets. Werner describes being led into the “steep hinterland of the Mazandaran Province” alongside a fellow enthusiast on what he thought was a long weekend in the sub-tropical climate on the southern shore of the Caspian Sea. This remote mountainous area is populated by extremely poor, hard-working people who produce gelims of such sophisticated minimalistic design one can place them on a par with, or even above, a Barnett Newman painting. A book of elegant and epic proportions has been produced to pay homage to these extraordinary textiles. It is written by Parviz Tanavoli who travelled to this area with Weber in 2009 to try to understand and explore the origins of these gelims. Tanavoli, himself a revered artist and sculptor, has extensive knowledge of the cultural history of Iran, and Weber felt him to be an essential companion on his journey. In his introduction Weber describes his desire to attempt to understand how these sophisticated cloths emerged from such a remote community. Revealingly he says: “...the villagers were unable to give us the information we wanted. In particular, the women mostly talked about their mothers and grandmothers, who had always woven this way or that. I took what these women said as homage to the women-weavers of Hezar-jerib, as well as homage to the women working at looms in many different countries.” From a weaver’s perspective this is fascinating; indeed there is an archetypal and universal language that weavers share, and often the less ‘conscious’ a creator is when ‘making’, the more primal the design becomes. From what Weber describes, these women are guided by what they have learnt from their

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astounding. Four inky chocolate-black stitched strips with the subtle lest abrash (the term used when the wool woven has been dyed in different lots creating variations in tone of a single colour) create a ground for six razor-thin slashes of cream wool, reminiscent of an Agnes Martin drawing. In contrast some of the horizontal stripe pieces positively sing with contrast and vibrancy. Lime greens vibrate against almost fluorescent pinks, interspersed by lavender and divided by a central band of coral-white stripes. The darkest petrol-blue one can imagine is cut through by a hazy-edged knife of burnt orange. Rothko-esque in its intensity and darkness, this is serious art made by seriously skilled and clever women. When we study the photographs which show them at their work we see modest and thoughtful women, hair tucked away in a headscarf, deep in concentration, crude looms constructed from debris wood, dark rooms allowing in thin shafts of light. It is hard in some ways to believe these pieces originate in such humble surroundings. A photograph shows a horse being led through the arid landscape, its back slung with a gelim; its stripe echoing the horizon behind it. Suddenly things make sense. These textiles are used and abstracted in and from the land, reflecting the archetypal mythology of the people who make them – in fact it’s a mythology we all share. We know they have never seen a Rothko or a Barnett Newman painting and yet they explore the same themes and their collective unconscious is the same – their medium is the difference. I doubt Rothko could have welded a shuttle so deftly. This book is a phenomenal homage to the Northern Iranian gelim. A weighty tome exquisitely printed; an artwork in its own right but it opens a door to something truly staggering, minimal and no longer undiscovered. ••• Ptolemy Mann Undiscovered Minimalism: Gelims from Northern Iran, Parviz Tanavoli, Hali Publications for, Lawrence King ISBN: 978-1-89811376-8, £95.00


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String section LIZ HOGGARD UNRAVELS THE WORK OF MARYROSE WATSON “Wrapping is an instinctive process for me,” says weaver Maryrose Watson. “I am

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interested in concealment and constraint but also protection and defence.” Watson, who graduated with First Class Honours in Textile Design from Chelsea School of Art in 2010, is making a name for herself with her exquisite wrapped wall pieces. Moving away from the “restrictions” of cloth as a functional product, Watson experiments with wrapping, overlapping and intersecting layers of yarn directly around a frame. After selling out her degree show twice over to private collectors (University of the Arts London also commissioned one for their permanent collection) she was snapped up by London's Sarah Myerscough Fine Art gallery. In May she was one of the stars of Collect at the Saatchi Gallery, exhibiting in the Crafts Council's Project Space area. Architects and designers were drawn by the modern grid structure of her work. But there is also a real painterliness to her colour palette. Having studied constructed textiles her work challenges established concepts of weave. She works off loom and lays both warp and weft simultaneously, but her work draws inspiration from the traditional craft practice of dyeing and weaving. She

explores the interaction between horizontal and vertical lines – teasing them into rectangles, ovals, diamonds. One piece is a brilliant circle of red threads. Another is made up of decreasing blue rectangles on a yellow background – with single orange threads laid across like an elegant spider's web. “I wanted to create free movement across the finished piece, to add an element of risk and spontaneity.” By applying her own mathematical formulae to the intersecting layers of yarn, geometric forms emerge. Wrapping a tiny section of maybe five threads can completely change the design, she explains. “You create a curve by increasing the number of threads gradually or you can turn it into an oval. I've learned that to get a right angle, the same number of threads have to cross. These structures react with light to create a constantly changing visual experience, intensified as the observer moves around the work.” Watson hand-dyes her own yarns so she can fine-tune colour combinations to create specific resonance and contrast. Her early work is full of deep scarlets, ochre, blues and purple. “Though I always add a touch of black so the primary colour is greyed off a bit.” 4


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She is inspired by 1950s architectural detailing as well as the colours of the natural landscape. Two years ago she and her husband moved to her parents' farm in rural north Norfolk, where she has a studio in a converted barn. For Watson the frames themselves – made by her husband Philip – are objects of beauty. “The frame is of utmost importance to the work, drawing a comparison with the skeleton in relation to the body and clothing. We had to experiment quite a lot because the frames are under tension from the yarn and can warp easily.” Her mastery of colour and composition is perhaps not surprising: Watson started out as a florist. Fashion was her big passion as a teenager. “I pored over copies of Vogue trying to make the clothes.” But when she didn't get into London College of Fashion, she trained as a florist and opened her own flower shop in St Albans. “A close friend who worked for me was doing textiles at Central St Martins, so I was still involved.” But hitting 30 she couldn't hide her frustration. She did short courses in fashion design, pattern cutting and knitwear, then took a part-time Foundation at Central St Martins in Art & Design. “I was also working for a London company that specialised in dyeing and printing textiles for costume – for musicals such as The Lion King. So that was brilliant for learning how to dye and colour-match.” Accepted on to the BA in Textiles at Chelsea, she did an early project around wrapping cotton reels, as a guide to colour planning for textiles. “This is where the wrapping first came into it.” She studied weaving on a loom for three years, but kept returning to the wrapping. “I thought: what happens if I do it on a much finer scale, and if I do it in a proper order rather than random criss-crossing?” She moved on from wrapping card to wood. And experimented with overlapping areas of colour. In her final year she began making samples inspired by crossing and intersecting lines in the urban environment, taking photographs of architectural structures such as bridges and pylons. The gas towers at Oval and the Old Kent Road in south London inspired an abstract wall triptych. “It's lovely how raw industrial space can be interpreted as pure form. I became fascinated by the way the lines change as you go past them on the bus, and the diamonds become different shapes.”

At her degree show she sold the entire series to Ron Dennis of Formula 1 racing team McLaren. “He's a big collector of new artists' work. He's been brilliant, really supportive.” After graduating she also won the 2011 Peter Collingwood Trust grant for innovation relating to a loom-based textile, for work undertaken during her final year at Chelsea. It was a nice symmetry because the woven samples – produced while experimenting with an open-top reed on a dobby loom – had been inspired by Collingwood's own macrogauze weaves from the 1970s. Watson is a perfectionist. When I visit her at her Norfolk studio, she shows me the precise graph paper drawings, with the order she will wrap the threads, and when the different colours will come in. “I find it very difficult to work out what will happen just through thinking about it. So I need to make lots of samples.” Recently she has been producing more “architectural” pieces in cream and white hues, exploring the boundaries between the inner and outer worlds, as she applies her wrapping technique to a more open 3D set of frames. Yarn is passed both around and though the frame – like a figure of eight – interrupting the negative space. She challenged herself to leave areas unwrapped, addressing concepts of exposure and revelation. “I started off doing little models of how a more open frame structure might look, using simple materials, playing with the construction and the laying down of the yarn.” The custom-made oak frames are wrapped in overlapping and intersecting layers of viscose rayon yarn, chosen for its highly reflective properties. It's also moth-proof, she jokes. “I wanted to give my eyes a rest from strong colour. The thicker yarn reminded me of feathers so I decided to take inspiration from pigeon feathers for the colours and forms.” But in fact she's currently reworking the whole collection in vibrant colours on ebonised wood for Ron Dennis. In the future she is thinking of printing on the frames before wrapping or even designing wallpaper inspired by her textile work. She frets slightly that exchanging gritty Peckham for the quiet of rural Norfolk may change her work: but looking at a beautiful scarlet wrapped circle, inspired by recent sunsets, it seems there's nothing to worry about. •••


71 souk 020 8341 9721

Shop and Studio 24 Lloyd Baker Street, London WC1X 9AZ Tel +44 (0) 20 7833 2995 www.wallacesewell.com Events: Design Junction)(('&%($#"! (%(##((( !&(("($% !)(

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Sell Selvedge ISSUE 48 SEPT/OCT 2012 UK £9.95 EUROPE €14.95 USA $24.95 CANADA $24.95 AUS $24.95 JAPAN ¥3860 REST OF WORLD £14.95

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Etiquette FINE AND FORMAL TEXTILES

MANNERS Hanbok, table linen, bow ties MORES South of France, hats, gloves and stockings, silk in Lyon MODEL Kaffe Fassett, Little Shilpa, Tamasyn Gambell

THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: TEXTILES IN FASHION, FINE ART, INTERIORS, TRAVEL AND SHOPPING

Lynne and Michael Roche Dollmakers t: 01225318042 e: lynne@roche-dolls.co.uk www.roche-dolls.co.uk

Would your customers enjoy Selvedge? If you own a shop why not carry the magazine? Becoming a stockist is easy. UK Stockists: Please email Sasha at sasha@centralbooks.com or visit www.centralbooks.com US Vendors: Please call T: 800 676 6543 or visit www.brewersewing.com

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The organization for the professional quilt artist

• Member exhibits • Quarterly full-color Journal • Monthly e.Bulletin • Annual conference

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Active $60 Professional Artist Member $125 Student (with copy of ID) $30

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designs reflecting the contemporary taste for botanical sketches and Chinese porcelain. Within two years of the ban being lifted in France more than 40 printing companies sprang up, each run by young men determined to print their way to wealth and social advancement. The Oberkampf factory at Jouy-en-Josas was set up in 1760 taking advantage of the pure river water and proximity to the Court at Versailles. Using block printing methods they built a reputation for fabulous ‘Indiennes’ producing 30,000 printed patterns, but their legacy lies with their 700 plate and roller printed designs. Nine years later Christophe-Philippe Oberkampf visited the Robert Jones print works in England, and was inspired to develop

his own plate printing process. In 1770 he produced the first intricate plate printed design that would come to epitomise Toile de Jouy. Each copper plate was 45 x 27 ½ inches allowing a large vignette to be carved with painterly detail. Mordants were applied directly to the table mounted plate and the cloth pressed onto it before being soaked in water and cow dung. Finally the fabric was plunged into a dye bath of madder to create the desirable shades of red, black and sepia. Subjects included scenes from history, plays, operas and classical mythology. Most striking are those such as the Delights of the Four Seasons that depict pastoral scenes of an idealised country life, and The Activities of The Manufactory designed in 1784 when the Oberkampf factory was designated a ‘Royal Manufactory’. ••• Sarah Jane Downing

Susy Pilgrim-Waters

Perfectly illustrating the philosophy and aesthetic values of the 18th century, Toile de Jouy places complex scenes, usually in a single colour on a background of natural cream linen in a large-scale repeat. It’s named with the word for linen in old French – toile – and ‘de Jouy’ referencing the village near Versailles where the technique was perfected. Printed cotton fabrics became popular in Britain and France during the 17th century when bolts of fabric were brought back from India by spice merchants. They were less expensive than fabrics with embroidered or woven patterns and, unlike other printed fabrics, they were colourfast. Initially the designs of flowers and animals had a distinctly Eastern style like the Bhutan motif in Paisley. Once import bans imposed by the British and French governments were lifted in the late 18th century, Europeans began to produce their own printed cottons with

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MA Degree Show 2012 Exhibition opens to the public Friday 31st August - Tuesday 4th September 10 - 4pm. Closed Sunday St Georges Building and The Gallery at NUCA St Georges Street, Norwich, NR3 1BB

www.nuca.ac.uk/madegreeshow MA Communication Design MA Curation MA Fashion MA Fine Art MA Moving Image and Sound MA Textile Design


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WOULD YOU RATHER BE OVER OR UNDERDRESSED? Back in the mists of time, before the 60s, a clear code of conduct guided us through

the States they admire your ambition. Do it in London and you look like a prat.”

fashion’s choppy waters. In the age of etiquette you didn’t need to think; no, no, those

I knew it! Perhaps it’s a British thing, this tendency to look down on obvious effort

that knew better did that for you. Admittedly if you lived in the era of strict rules it might

in dress? Any country that elevates the Duchess of Devonshire in her pearls and

have felt a little caged, a little constrained: but looking back I think we can all see those

wellingtons as a fashion icon, as Luella does in her Guide to English Style, is going to

rules for what they truly were – the architecture of an easy life.

be uncomfortable with overstated grooming.

I cannot be alone in lamenting the fact that I cannot turn my dilemmas of dress

Call me defeatist but most days I’d take the anonymity of the underdressed any

over to the incomparable Emily Post. Yes, (thanks to Project Gutenberg) I can still look

day – there’s a slim chance I might be mistaken for someone too cool to care. Yet I

up her advice, and her lighthearted approach to the “etiquette of gloves and napkin”

have serious opposition. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,”

is a study in practicality – it’s all very well to say we must place our fan and gloves on

admonishes Oscar Wilde. Like the Bible

our knees but who can keep them from sliding off a “slippery satin skirt on a little lap”?

you can find in Wilde a quote to support

Oh Emily, I know I can’t! Yet Miss Post is distressingly silent on the subject of

any argument: but you can’t deny he paid

appropriate attire for the opening of a ‘vintage shop-stroke-gallery-stroke-cafe-stroke-

more than lipservice to this one. And

pop up cinema’ in a recently gentrified area of Dalston.

when you look at his exuberant style

Today, with the freedom to wear whatever I choose, I am undone by indecision,

doubts about playing safe do creep in. Do

If you overdress in the States they admire your ambition. Do it in London and you look like a prat...

beset by anxieties and one in particular – the fear of trying too hard. With the demise

dandizettes have more fun? The overdressers certainly have outstanding role models.

of social guidelines we have lost a navigation system for those who, unlike the

Quaintrelles were defined as “persons of beautiful dress or refined speech” and later

courageous few, do care if they make the wrong impression. Without them, we, the

“a feminine over-dressed person”. Women such as Grace Dalrymple Elliott and

unsure, flounder in a sea of casual dress and giddy notions of self expression. Above

Marchesa Luisa Casati chose to be “living works of art”. Obviously if you’re aiming that

all we are left to fret if going unnoticed is worse than going overboard?

high a few snooty glances won’t cramp your style. Even Audrey Hepburn, whom I

Which is the greater faux pas? Over or under dressing? Costumier and editor of online magazine Your Wardrobe Unlock'd, Cathy Hay, knows: “Overdress and

associate with capri pants and ballet pumps, is attributed “I believe in manicures. I believe in overdressing. I believe in primping at leisure.” Well, I don’t believe it.

you just need the confidence to pull it off. Underdress on a formal occasion and

The carefree overdressers, I salute you – next time I choose a statement

you may have to apologise to your host – I’d find that more uncomfortable.” She

necklace I will try not to hide it in my handbag. But Emily Post is the star I follow

has a point, and the idea that positive thinking will see you though if you turn up

and she says this: “women of distinction wear

in a floor-length silk while everyone else arrives in shorts is a prevalent one. “At

rather simple clothes... conspicuous clothes are

least if you’ve made an effort you’ll look your best – even if you look out of place,”

chosen either by the new rich, to assure

suggested another friend unafraid to be the centre of attention or accused of

themselves of their own elegance – which is

(quake at the thought) showing off.

utterly lacking – or by the muttons dressed lamb-fashion, to assure themselves of their own

had a transatlantic take on the issue. Interviewing her about her forthcoming

youth – which alas, is gone!” Now is that really a

retrospective at Bath’s Museum of Costume, I asked her which would she prefer?

polite thing to say? Beth Smith, Editor, Selvedge

“Underdressed in England, Overdressed in America. My dear, if you overdress in

editorial@selvedge.org

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Biba founder Barbara Hulanicki, a woman supremely confident in her own style,


Time and space TAMARA FOGLE KEEPS THINGS IN PROPORTION

Have you studied textiles? No, but I have always loved them. Could you describe your studio? I work in two places, my home studio for sampling and day to day running of the business, and my workshop where most of the bag production takes place. The home studio is a purpose built space at the end of the garden that houses my collections and the things that inspire me – Victorian and Edwardian leather coin purses that I have collected since the age of three. Threads and ribbons galore, wound on vintage bobbins. Old mannequins – I have four – they aren’t necessary for bags but I love them anyway. Cards of vintage buttons that I’m not quite sure what to do with yet. Then there’s the useful stuff; rivets, poppers, buckles, eyelets and zips stored in old Kilner jars. In the corner is the old industrial flat bed sewing machine. I can’t do everything with it – hence the bags are now made elsewhere – but it has done me proud over the years. Then there are the textiles, piles of them. Vintage flour sacks from Germany and Hungary. Antique linens in varying shades of white and oatmeal. Czech Military tent bags, French mattress ticking, hand-stitched quilts from India and Pakistan, antique Welsh blankets, Swiss Army blankets, Danish Army blankets, British Wool Witney blankets. All destined to be bags. Leather hangs over a ballerina pole attached to the wall. I just keep sample pieces of leather here. Poles along the ceiling hold bag samples themselves. I love being able to see the bags I’ve made.


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The workshop nearby, where most of the bag production takes place, houses more industrial machines. Classic, heavy, mainly British-made machines, a little scruffy but they do the job perfectly. More cubby-hole storage houses metal fittings. Knives and tools are hung on walls and from racks, hanging in the centre of the room. More walls are stacked with boxes of machine threads bought from an old factory when it was closing down. Organised chaos. Can you tell us about the process of making the bags? We source textiles, wash and iron them, then choose how to cut them. We cut textiles and leather with knives, scissors, specialist hand tools and the hydraulic press. We punch and skive leather hides. We often fold the edges of the leather for a neat finish. We edge dye hard bridle leather and buff it to a polished finish. We stitch invisible seams inside linings and we stitch oversize contrast seams as design detail on the outside of the bag. We insert each rivet by hand, and squash it to keep it in place. The same goes for magnetic fasteners or feet on the base of a bag. Leather labels are heat embossed with our logo, using a hand press and stitched inside each bag. We make metal frames. We cut the steel and mould it to size and shape. We insert springs and weld the metal catch. Our metal frames are attached to the finished bag, one by one, with a foot press, framing machine. Every task requires a particular skill. What do you think makes a handcrafted object special? Each object is slightly different to the next and it’s been made with care and enthusiasm. The pieces are a reflection of the maker themselves.


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Where do you find your inspiration? I know it is a cliché but inspiration really is everywhere. My vintage collections are always a good starting point. I might take an antique coin purse and blow it out of proportion into a day bag. Colour combinations often come from nature. I’m also inspired by textiles. The fabric itself might instigate a design. The tough tent bag canvas for example just screamed ‘men’s bags’ because of its ruggedness. But then I also use the canvas for some quite smart women’s bags too – I like the contrast. Do you have a favourite colour? What is it and why? It’s always changing. I experiment with different colours in my designs but I love neutrals too. Yellow is my flavour right now. It’s fresh and brings summer to mind. What do you listen to as you work? An American on-line radio station – Radio Paradise. It plays great music. Do you have any particular designers that you admire? Interior Designers – Sibella Court is brilliant. Her interiors are curated to perfection. In fashion I’d pick Humanoid and Temperley for their clever knits. I wear them every day. Burberry Prorsum, I’d like to wear every day, but don’t. Artists – Peter Clark makes paper collages with wonderful character... I covet one. Is there a particular era you identify with? The Victorian Era. I wouldn’t say I strictly ‘identify‘ with it, but I like what they liked. From Gladstone bags and smart leather luggage (which inspire my own bags), to


the typography commonly used in advertising and publishing (which inspired the font design that I’ve used for my new logo and type). I also like the proportions of women’s fashion – I like almost anything with slightly odd proportions. Do you have any projects or new products planned for 2012? I am launching the men’s range of bags. It will start with a small capsule collection and expand over the following seasons. Do you ever collaborate with others on projects? I have been working with British Brand YMC on our men’s range. The first bags launched in their stores and online in May this year. I am also collaborating with a Japanese artist who each season creates textiles based on her own paintings. We are working on some bags using these textiles. If you weren’t a designer what would you like to be? An archaeologist. I love to learn about the style and lifestyle of the past, but I also love the present. Archaeology combines the two. It brings the past directly into the present. Oh, and I love the idea of unearthing something amazing. What do you read or watch to relax? I love watching films, to really switch off. Something like ‘Walk the Line’. I read interior magazines. Too many of them I think! I read blogs too. They relax me and help me feel like I’m keeping up to date with what’s going on. ••• Tamara Fogle bags and purses from £140, Selvedge Drygoods, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org, www.tamarafogle.com


FREE KNIT PATTERN When you subscribe... pattern from Nikki Gabriel worth £14

Nikki Gabriel is a knitwear and textile designer but she has an architect’s approach to hand-making. For Nikki it’s about building structures that experiment with technique and form. Her Construction series of knitting patterns are designed to be made in stages by knitting simple shapes. Each one is a building block in the evolution of ever more complex garments. Each of the three ‘Constructions’ is different: the first enables you to make a minimal hat or add sections until you have a full cardigan. www.nikkigabriel.com www.selvedge.org

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ESTABLISHED Academic gowns, Queen Street Mill, Court dress, Madder ECLECTIC The Festival of Britain, Orla Kiely, Yohji Yamamoto, Mark Hearld ECCENTRIC Norfolk, Shoddy, Luella

BLUSTERY Hang-gliding, headscarves, Nygårds Anna BRINY Bathing caps, wetsuits, seaside style BLUE Indigo, Austria, Tracey Emin

Textiles with strange tales to tell INVESTIGATE Agatha Christie, Legal dress, Crimes of fashion

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THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: TEXTILES IN FASHION, FINE ART, INTERIORS, TRAVEL AND SHOPPING

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Souvenir Celebrate with textiles

MODEST Demure fashion, The wimple, Bess Nielson

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Sporting FUN AND GAMES WITH TEXTILES

ENERGY Sail Making, Riding, High-tech Sportswear

MENTOR School prints, Enid Marx, Inspirational teachers MATURE Carmen Dell‘Orefice, Back to manual, Portrait of Genius

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Ingenuity Making the mundane magical

Legacy

Taking the best of the past for the future

PALE Winter wedding, Manon Gignoux, Priscilla Carluccio

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STROLL Anthropologie, Eley Kishimoto, Vera

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INCARCERATE Convict textiles, Fine Cell Work INSIGHT Arthur Bispo do Rosário, Lonaconing: the last silk mill

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TEXTILES MAKING WAVES...

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A Ramble through Town and Country Textiles

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INVALUABLE Clothes pegs, Dhobi Ghat, Sir William Henry Perkin INTRIGUING Mary Katrantzou, Spider Silk, Crimplene INSPIRING The Gentlemen of Bacongo, François Lesage Michael Brennand-Wood

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TIMELESS Chiffon, Handbags, Kensington Palace TREASURED Norman Hartnell, Cecil Beaton, Rosettes

ENTERPRISE Jekells Sails, Jantzen, China ENCHANTING Nancy Crow, Straw hats, canal living

TRADITION Signature quilts, Pakistan, Rush matting

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WIN, WIN, WIN! Exclusively for Selvedge Readers...

Smarten up your act with a bow tie but not any old bow tie. We have a taffeta cream tie, hand-embroidered with navy stripes, and a navy and green version with checkerboard embroidery. Worth ⇔150 each, they are the work of Jupe by Jackie and are probably the finest of their kind. Visit www.selvedge.org/pages/competition to enter. www.jupe-by-jackie.com

Tamara Fogle is a collector of antique textiles and

To enter please visit

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Tamasyn Gambell’s recent work has been in the field of interiors which will disappoint fans of her beautiful scarves. If future supply is limited it’s a good idea to add one of her pieces to your wardrobe as soon as possible. And if you enter our competition to win one of three Italian wool scarves printed with organic dyestuffs you could do just that. Each beautifully soft scarf is worth £65 and features Tamasyn’s signature Mid-century Modern inspired geometric prints in bold colours, see pg 56. www.tamasyngambell.com

vintage bags, see pg 76, but not everyone has her luck in coming across these rare finds. Fortunately she uses her collection to inspire and create a range of handcrafted bags and luggage. We have one of her leather Portland bags, worth £295, to give away. Meticulously made with attention to detail that includes a cotton ticking lining this bag will last a lifetime. www.tamarafogle.com


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Exhibition and event listings LONDON • Hollywood Costume Exploring the central role costume design plays in cinema storytelling. Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL 20 October-27 January 2013 Daily 10-5.45 Fridays 10-9:30, T: +44 (0)20 7942 2000 www.vam.ac.uk • The Body Adorned: Dressing London Investigating how body adornment has become part of London life across times and cultures. Horniman Museum, 100 London Road, London SE23 3PQ until 6 January 2013 Daily 10.305.30, T: +44 (0)20 8600 1872 www.horniman.ac.uk • Pre-Raphaelites: Victorian Avant Garde Bringing together over 150 works in different media, including painting, sculpture, photography and the applied arts. Tate Britain, Millbank, London SW1P 4RG until 13 January 2013 Sat-Thurs 10-6 Fridays 10-10, T: +44 (0)20 7887 8888 www.tate.org.uk • Superhuman A broad and playful look at our obsession with being the best we can be. Wellcome Collection, 183 Euston Road London NW1 2BE until 16 October 2012 Tues-Sat 10-6 Thurs 10-10 Sun 11-6, T: +44 (0)20 7611 2222 www.wellcomecollection.org • Hartnell to Amies: Couture by Royal

Michael Brennand-Wood: Forever Changes An exhibition documenting Michael BrennandWood’s practice over forty years. Forever Changes features previously unseen and new works including installation, sculptural, relief, studio and commission works with the emphasis firmly on the ideas behind each piece. 22 September –25 November 2012 MonSun daily 10–5.30, Ruthin Craft Centre, Park Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire LL15 1BB, T: +44 (0)1824 704774 www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk

THE ARCHITECTURE OF CLOTH, COLOUR & SPACE

New works by Ptolemy Mann & Anna Glasbrook. Colour-saturated lengths of cloth will wrap stone columns and Ptolemy Mann's wall-based hand dyed and woven textile artworks will punctuate the majestic cathedral space. In hidden parts of the cathedral the architectural textile artist Anna Glasbrook will reveal her textile art pieces in the wintry light and splendour of the cathedral’s fine architecture. Linked conference on 27 October with six leading speakers. 27 October-31 December Mon-Sun, 8-6, Gloucester Cathedral College Green Gloucester EH1 1LT, Presented by Stroud International Textiles T +44 (0)1453 751056 www.stroudinternationaltextiles.org.uk Appointment London couture fashion by the designers to H.M. The Queen: Norman Hartnell, Hardy Amies and Frederick Fox. Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3XF 16 November 201223 February 2013 Tues-Sat 11-6, T: +44 (0)20 7611 2222 www.ftmlondon.org SOUTH WEST • The Architecture of Cloth, Colour & Space A One Day Symposium linked to the exhibition. Speakers include Margo Selby, Sophie Smallhorn, Ptolemy Mann. Booking essential, Gloucester Cathedral, College Green, Gloucester GL1 2LX 27 October 11-5 T: +44 (0)1453 751056 www.stroudinternationaltextiles.org.uk • Dreaming in Colour Handwoven blankets, cushions & wraps by Jo Andrews. Matthew Burt Furniture Showroom, High Street, Hindon, Nr. Salisbury, Wiltshire SP3 6DR 10 November-21 December Mon-Fri 11-5, call for weekend opening, T: +44 (0)1747 820511 www.matthewburt.com SOUTH EAST • Prism: art through textiles Group showcase of fine art textile practice and craftsmanship. Whitstable Museum & Gallery, 5 Oxford Street, Whitstable, Kent CT5 1DB until January 2013 daily 104, T: +44 (0)1227 276998 • Material World Uses for textiles in decoration and fashion. Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Jermyns Lane, Ampfield, Romsey Hampshire SO51 0QA 1-30 November Daily 10-4, T: +44 (0)1794 369318, www.hilliergardens.org.uk • Atomic Art textiles inspired by the Large Hadron Collider by Kate Findlay. The Willis Museum, Market Place, Basingstoke, Hampshire RG21 7QD 24 November-22 December Tues-Fri 10-5, Sat 10-4 T: +44 (0)1256 465902 www.art.findlays.net • Thread of Silk and Gold: Ornamental Textiles from Meiji Japan Intricate embroideries, tapestries and dyed silks. Ashmolean

Museum, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH 9 November-27 January 2013 Tues–Sun 10-6, T: +44 (0)1865 278002 www.ashmolean.org • Textile Studio Exhibition 2012 New work by members of the Textile Studio. Chequer Mead Arts Centre, De La Warr Road, East Grinstead, West Sussex RH19 3BS 2-14 November Mon-Sat 10-5, T: +44 (0)1342 325577. NORTH • Celebrating 30 Years: a bespoke shopping experience The Craft Centre and Design Gallery, City Art Gallery The Headrow, Leeds LS1 3AB West Yorkshire until 12 January 2013 Tues-Sat 10-5 T: +44 (0)1132 4708241 www.craftcentreleeds.co.uk • Pauline Burbidge Retrospective: Interpretations in Cloth: North Country Quilter Quilt Museum and Gallery, St. Anthony’s Hall, Peasholme Green, York, Y01 7PW North Yorkshire until 1 December Mon-Sat 10-4 T: +44 (0)1904 613242 www.quiltmuseum.org.uk WALES • Quilted Bridge: The Amish-Welsh Connection The Welsh Quilt Centre's 2012 Exhibition. The Old Town Hall, Lampeter, Ceredigion SA48 7BB West Wales until 3 November Tues-Sat 11-4:30, T: +44 (0)1570 480610, www.welshquilts.com USA • The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art How stylized flowers came to embellish the Ottoman court beginning in the mid-16th century. The Textile Museum, 2320 S Street, NW Washington DC 20008-4088 21 September-10 March 2013 Tues-Sat 10-5, Sun 1-5 T: +001 (202) 667 0441 www.textilemuseum.org • Dragons, Nagas and Creatures of the Deep Textiles from the museum’s collection, as above 3 February-6 January 2013 • 2nd International TECHstyle Art Biennial (ITAB) Chronicles how emerging artists are combining textiles and technology. Museum of Quilts & Textiles, 520 South First Street San Jose, CA 95113


We feature exhibition and event listings one month in advance. In the November issue most listings should be for December or January. To book a Selvedge listing please contact T: +44 (0)208 341 9721 or email listings@selvedge.org • Standard Listing £40: title, subtitle, venue, address, telephone number, website, dates and opening times. • Boxed listing £150 as above with additional 50 words of text and an image. • Discounts are available for 2 x standard listings: £75. 3 x standard listings: £100. 2 x boxed listings: £275. 3 x boxed listings £400. All prices exclude VAT. Listings are booked on a first come first served basis and can be booked six issues or one year in advance. The deadline for our November/December issue is the 31st October 2012.

The Textile Society:

Set within the atmospheric surrounds of a Grade II listed Victorian Mill lies Britain’s only museum fully dedicated to hats and hat-making. Wellington Mill was once a thriving hat factory: Ward Brothers Ltd made hats there from 1890s-1930s during the heyday of hat-making when there were over 100 hat-making businesses in Stockport. The interactive displays and expert demonstrators tell the story of Stockport’s hat-making industry. This runs from its humble origins in the late 17th century – when to supplement a meagre income, farmers would prepare and felt rabbit fur for hat-makers – through the pre-industrial processes in the hat-maker’s cottage: to the fully mechanised processes of the Victorian era by demonstrating the museum’s collection of working machinery on the re-created factory floor. The hat-block maker’s workshop is a complete and accurate re-creation of that of William Plant & Co, the last hat block maker in the north of England which closed in 1976. Hat-blocking was a vital part of the process, creating the size and setting the style of the hat before finishing. The Hat Works Museum holds a collection of 400 hats from around the world and hosts exhibitions of the best in modern millinery. Bringing together exciting new designs from 10 of the finest contemporary British milliners, the current one runs until January and admission is free. Highlights of the current exhibition Hot Heads are Bang include a deconstructed hat by Stephen Jones and a fantastic Red Macaw from the parrot headdress series by the talented J. Smith Esquire. ••• SJD Hot Heads – Inspirational British Millinery, until 6th January 2013, The Hat Works Museum of Hatting, Wellington Road South, Stockport. SK3 0EU, T: 0161 355 7770 www.stockport.gov.uk/hatworks

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London ATF The 3rd London Fair hosted by the Textile Society will feature a wide range of antique dress and textiles from around the world including pre-1950s rugs, vintage dress, accessories, ephemera and books. Visitors can also seek advice on conservation. Profits from the society’s London and Manchester fairs support student bursaries and museum awards. Chelsea Old Town Hall King’s Road, London, SW3 5EE, 7 October 2012 10.30-16.30, trade from 10, T:+44 (0)20 7923 0331 www.textilesociety.org.uk

until 2 December Tues-Sat 10-4 Sun 1-4 T: +001 (828) 327 8576 www.hickoryart.org • Ivy Style Examining the genesis of Ivy style on the college campuses of the United States during the 20th century. The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, New York NY 10001-5992 until January 5 2013 Tues-Fri 12-8, Sat 10-5, T: +001 (212) 217 4558 http://fitnyc.edu CANADA • Dreamland: Textiles and the Canadian Landscape Textile Museum of Canada, 55 Centre Avenue, Ontario Toronto M5G 2H5 until 30 September Daily 11-5, Wed 11-8 T: +001 (416) 599 5321 www.textilemuseum.ca • Roger Vivier: Process to Perfection Working process of Vivier and his masterpieces of shoe design. The Bata Shoe Museum, 327 Bloor Street West, Ontario Toronto M5S 1W7 until 7 April 2013 Mon-Sat 10-5 Sun 12-5, T: +001 (416) 979 7799 www.batashoemuseum.ca AUSTRALIA • 50th Anniversary Exhibition: The Embroiderers’ Guild Australian branch showcase. The Albert Hall, Canberra 19-21 October Daily 104, T: +61 (0)2 62538609 ouralberthall.com FRANCE • Trompe-l’œil Imitations, pastiches et autres illusions. Les Arts Décoratifs 107, rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris until November 2013 Tues-Sat 11-6, Thurs 11-9, T: + 33 (0)144 55 57 50, www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr SPAIN • Dressing the body Garments from 1550 to 2000. Disseny HUB Museu, Palau de Pedralbes, Av. Diagonal 686, Barcelona O8 034 until 31 December Tues-Sun 10-6, T: +34 (93) 256 34 65 www.dhub-bcn.cat

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until 14 October Tues-Sun 10-5, 7-11 T: +001 (408) 971 0323 www.sjquiltmuseum.org • Textiles in America Exploring how people have used art and science over the past 250 years to create beautiful and useful textiles. American Textile History Museum, 491 Dutton Street Lowell, Massachusetts MA 01854 Ongoing Wed-Sun 10-5, T: +001 (978) 441 0400 www.athm.org • Past, Present and Accounted For Jeana Eve Klein’s mixed-media quilts inspired by abandoned houses. Hickory Museum of Art, 243 Third Ave NE, Hickory North Carolina 28601

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The Hat Works Museum


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British fashion is having a golden moment. Erdem, Mary Katrantzou and Jonathan Saunders are the hot designers exporting their special brand of fashion and textiles. This trio would have captured the imagination of Hans and Elsbeth Juda who, between 1946-72, were dedicated to showcasing the ‘creative ability and craftsmanship’ of the Brits for a global marketplace via their far-sighted publication, The Ambassador. The Juda’s extraordinary efforts are the subject of a new book, The Ambassador Magazine, Promoting Post-War British Textiles and Fashion, edited by Christopher Breward, Principal at Edinburgh School of Art and Claire Wilcox, Senior Curator of Fashion at the V&A. The specialisms of the book’s authors (art and fashion) reflect the relationship between culture and commerce that was fundamental to the ethos of founder Hans and his wife Elsbeth, who multi-tasked as associate editor, in-house photographer and stylist. They drafted an array of talent to assist – artists Joe Tilson, Graham Sutherland and Henry Moore designed covers and Norman Parkinson, who photographed for the magazine, was Charmed Elisabeth to model menswear. The fashions, from haute couture by Victor Stiebel to a Terylene shift by Jean Muir for Jane & Jane, and the fabrics were documented with beguiling brio, whether worn by the English Ballet or set alongside an Elisabeth Frink sculpture. The pages resonate with innovation and irreverence – a policeman’s outstretched arm becomes the perfect peg for a handbag while model Barbara Goalen is draped in fabrics still attached to the looms of Lancashire mills. The magazine ceased publication as the industry it championed fell into decline. At a soiree at Downing Street earlier in the year to celebrate London Fashion Week, Samantha Cameron, herself an Ambassador for the British Fashion Council, rallied a new initiative: ‘We want to be able to say we don’t just design it in Britain, we make it in Britain too!’ It might just be time to dust off The Ambassador. ••• Iain R Webb

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The Ambassador Magazine: Promoting Post-war British Textiles and Fashion Christopher Breward, Claire Wilcox, V&A Publishing, ISBN-10: 18517 7677X, RRP £35, Selvedge price £31.50

Jessica Hemmings, a prolific writer on all things textile, has assembled a wide-ranging survey of recent textile explorations and innovations in the realms of fashion, art and interiors. The book explores 21st century work by artists, craftspeople and designers and focuses on the unexpected results of cooperation across disciplines. The work ranges from textiles made with milled wood (Woven Wood by Ismini Samanidou and Gary Allson in the UK) to sound-absorbing architectural panels (the Architextile range by Netherlands-based Polish designer Aleksandra Gaca); from room-sized murals of recycled coat hangers (Counterbalance by Suzanne Tick from the USA) to high-tech tweed fabrics that reflect light (Dashing Tweeds by Kirsty McDougall and Guy Hills, another UK based pair). The work sits firmly between weaving’s legacy as one of the oldest craft techniques, and its potential for innovation by way of equipment, process and materials or the application of textile techniques to other realms like installation art, engineering and architecture. While the connection between weaving and computing, which are both ultimately binary in nature, is an expected jumping-off point, Hemmings also examines less-expected links between weaving and sound (including staff notation and weaving drafts), and introduces community textile projects. Though she highlights the use of computer technology, Hemmings points out that hand weaving remains a crucial part of the equation. Many of the artists/makers included see hand weaving as an important part of their process, even though their final product may well be woven on an industrial or computer-assisted loom. This survey is readable, with enough technical insight to satisfy an academic or professional audience and enough explanation to reach a more casual reader. Carefully chosen photographs (and especially the detail shots) help clear up any ambiguities and pique the reader’s curiosity. ••• Thomas Cronenberg

Warp and Weft: Woven textiles in Fashion, Art and Interiors Jessica Hemmings, A & C Black Publishers, RRP £19.99, Selvedge price £17.98 ISBN-10: 1408134446


Ties, Marc Solal, Assouline Publishing, ISBN: 2-84323-523-5 RRP £16.00, Selvedge price £14.40 Photographer Marc Solal explores a defining article of men’s fashion, the tie, in a whimsical way. Solal has isolated them and created thirty-five tie ‘portraits’. Each image is accompanied by a fictional quote from their fictional owner. And whether striped, floral or polka-dotted, they all represent an individual identity. In the foreword Sophie Fontanel points out: “At first glance they don’t seem to be anything special... Some ooze power. Some are ridiculous. Some are poignant. Some look like they have been worn over and over. Some I would say, should never have been worn at all.” •••

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Fashion Designers at the Opera, Helena Matheopoulos, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0-500-51576-1, RRP £35, Selvedge price £31.50 Fashion and opera are natural arenas for collaboration. In 2009–2010 alone, Viktor & Rolf, Miuccia Prada, Emanuel Ungaro and Christian Lacroix collaborated with opera companies in New York, Baden-Baden, Naples and Berlin. Many of these projects are profiled together with illustrations of their costume designs. Helena Matheopoulos’s interviews with many of the designers illuminate the journey that led each to the opera and the challenges of working in a demanding new medium. ••• Fashion at Royal Ascot: Three Centuries of Thoroughbred Style, James Sherwood, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0-500-51596-9, RRP £35 Selvedge price £31.50 The dress code in Ascot’s Royal Enclosure has been tightened after standards slipped, making this the right time for a reminder of the event’s proud sartorial history. Sherwood, the BBC’s official Royal Ascot fashion commentator, takes readers through five chapters interspersed with twelve photo-essays which document fashion and formal dress worn by royalty and other international jet setters at the annual British occasion. For the first time in its history Ascot has released its formidable archive to present a history of elegance as seen through the prism of this event – from millinery to morning dress. •••

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Weaving The Century: Dovecot 1912-2012: 100 Years of Contemporary Tapestry 13 July7 October 2012, Dovecot Studios, 10 Infirmary Street, Edinburgh, EH1 1LT, T: +44 (0) 131 550 3660, 20 October 2012 - 16 December 2012, Compton Verney, Warwickshire, CV35 9HZ, T: +44 (0)1926 645500, www.comptonverney.org.uk A visual feast of works, many designed by British artists, has been gathered to create the internationally acclaimed Edinburgh-based Dovecot Studios’ centenary exhibition. Celebrating ‘100 Years of Contemporary Tapestry’, more than 60 richly coloured and intricately woven tapestries and rugs – many rarely seen and on loan from major museums and private collections from America and Britain – have been brought together to mark the centenary of this eminent studio. Founded in 1912 by the Marquess of Bute to create monumental tapestries for his home at Mount Stuart on the island of Bute, Dovecot quickly became a leading contemporary fine art studio. Today the weavers continue to work to commission, creating tufted rugs and tapestries for private and public clients. Many of the tapestries have been designed by renowned artists including Elizabeth Blackadder, Alan Davie, Frank Stella and David Hockney. And the unusual setting – Dovecot’s remarkable home in the refurbished public baths in Edinburgh – lends fresh appeal. This exhibition marks more than the mere passing of time. It is a celebration of talent, visual interpretation and virtuoso technique that have established Dovecot’s reputation as a centre for supreme innovation. The tribal tones of Alan Davie’s Cosmic Spiral (2003) simply sing, while the eloquence captured in the detail of Archie Brennan’s At a Window (Spotty Dress) (1980, V&A) is inspired. Again, the level of detail depicted in Edward Bawden’s Farming (1950, V&A) displays the intricate skill required when weaving a story into the tapestry. The first exhibition of this kind in 30 years, it also showcases a tapestry interpretation of a Stanley Spencer painting Cabbages, as well as a series of new commissions. These include a collection of signed limited edition tapestries inspired by British pop artist Sir Peter Blake; a

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depiction of Victoria Crowe’s Large Tree Group created using undyed wool sourced from smallscale British producers; and a woven translation of Peter Saville’s interpretation of Sir Edwin Landseer’s Monarch of the Glen. A series of limited edition hand-tufted rugs have been produced by the Dovecot weavers in collaboration with the Templeton/Stoddard carpet factory in Glasgow and Glasgow’s Panel. The book produced to accompany the exhibition – The Art of Modern Tapestry: Dovecot Studios since 1912 – is edited by Elizabeth Cumming, the curator of the exhibition, whose uncle William Skeoch Cumming was the first designer at Dovecot. It is here that the history of the studio is explored in full. The book includes works that do not feature in the exhibition, making it a precious account of the remarkable artistic strides made in British weaving during the past 100 years. As David Weir, Director of Dovecot Studios, says in the chapter “Dovecot Today”, “We build our future from our past.” This exhibition and book are not the equivalent of a cutting off ceremony. Times have been tough – David Weir quotes Archie Brennan who once described tapestry as ‘economic suicide’, and Weir should know as he was an integral part of the battle to save Dovecot in 2000. What he pinpointed as a problem was “lack of confidence in the medium’s place in today’s world” and he goes on to outline issues that have long plagued the medium: “The technique was confused with embroidery; it was often associated with historical pieces or their machine-made replicas hanging in airport shops ...; it was the preserve of musty halls, moth-eaten, dusty, dingy and out of date; it was simply a woolly cypher for paint.” What this exhibition shows is that over the last twelve years tapestry has returned to the light. The works brim with confidence that is contagious and will long continue. ••• Jennifer Harper 01 The Cycle of Life, Sax Shaw, 1957-58, wool, 290 x 274 cm 02 Humankind, Robin Philipson, 1988, Cotton warp, wool, 213.5 x 213.5 cm 03 Inner Landscape, Paul Furneaux, 2003, Cotton warp, wool, 214 x 140 cm


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The pioneering Japanese fashion designer Yohji Yamamoto has had a number of memorable exhibitions in the past decade. I braved a snowy day in Antwerp to review Dream Shop, the third instalment of a trilogy of European exhibitions, held at the MODE Museum, for Selvedge in 2006. The exhibition tackled what was seen as three “taboos” of fashion curation: low lighting, no-touch rules and the predicament that viewers must ‘look on’ objects that are designed for us to inhabit and ‘look out’ from. Here Yamamoto generously invited viewers to don selected garments, breaking down for a rare moment the barrier between viewer and owner. And the previous year, Yohji Yamamoto: Juste des Vetements at the Musée de la Mode et du Textile in Paris took another approach and brought the designer’s studio to life to expose his creative process. This exhibition promises yet another tactic: the opportunity to consider fashion curation in response to the striking architecture of Ron Arad’s building. Compared to Britain, the climate of Israel is idyllic. Instead of overcast skies, the intensity of sunlight in the region is often piercing. This has an effect on how all materials are perceived – everything benefits from a visual intensity that Britain’s low light often subdues. Plans for this exhibition propose a contemplative atmosphere for the light-filled 500 square metre upper gallery, a slowdown to see-whatyou-may-see type of thinking. The museum’s smaller lower level is planned as a counterpoint to this sense of contemplation and aims to capture the pace and energy that fashion moves at today. The split seems appropriate for a designer whose identity rests on what you could call the cerebral end of fashion, but who has also worked in partnership with the likes of the brand-savvy sportswear company Adidas. The venue for this exhibition, the Design Museum Holon, exists thanks to similar principles that brought the Guggenheim Museum to Bilbao, Spain in 1997: a “build it and they will come” injection of culture. The existence of the Design Museum Holon, inaugurated in March 2010 after four years of construction, is part of a large-scale urban regeneration programme for the area with

aims to achieve much the same outcome. To be fair, those in the know have often commented on the strength of Israeli design both within the country and abroad. My recent visits as a Guest Critic at the Bezalel Academy of Art & Design in Jerusalem have confirmed the vibrancy and skill of emerging designers and a healthy presence of independent design shops. While the Israelis I spoke to largely resisted my enthusiasm and bemoaned the state of independent design within the country, the key is that in comparison to the numbing familiarity of the British high street, independent design looks healthy. Born in Tel Aviv, Ron Arad has lived in London since 1973 when he came to Britain to study architecture. His reputation was established in the early 1980s as a product designer and maker. Traces of this education are present in the building he has created here. Comprised of a stack of five giant steel bands that bend and settle in forms reminiscent of the flexibility of cloth or leather, this is a building that in another life and scale could have been a bag – or a hat. The building’s exterior colour also contrasts with the hardness of uninspired architecture: and Israel’s intense sunlight allows it to cast dramatic shadows akin to one of Royal Ascot’s more daring hats on Ladies’ Day, rather than the sensible stuff of bricks and mortar. This exhibition will coincide with the fortieth anniversary of Yamamoto’s company Y’s, which was launched in 1972. Yamamoto explains: “After exhibiting in London, Florence and Paris, it is a natural flow for me to organise an exhibition in Israel this time – a country very rich in culture. In an era where we only receive prepared information, as a thinker, I want to see Israel with my own eyes and feel it through my skin to get to know it well.” A number of additional events have been planned: Parallel Nippon , an exhibition of Japanese architecture from 1996 to 2006, will be on display in one of the museum’s satellite galleries come September; and October sees Holon Fashion Week wrap up the Yamamoto exhibition with Israeli and international designers participating in the second year of the event. It is hardly a venue on our doorstep, but it’s well worth the time if you are in the region. ••• Jessica Hemmings 04 Yohji Yamamoto AW 1990-91 Homme Croquis 05 Yohji Yamamoto SS 1989 Croquis

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Yohji Yamamoto at the Design Museum Holon, 5 July– 20 October 2012, Pinhas Eilon St. 8, Holon, 58459, Israel, T: 972 73 2151515, www.dmh.org.il


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Elsa Schiaparelli and Miuccia Prada: Impossible Conversations 10 May–18 August 2012 Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, T: www.metmuseum.org

(212) 535 7710,

Over the last decade we have seen some spectacular fashion exhibitions of individual designers – Victor + Rolf at The Barbican in London, Alexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The viewer, though awed by the visual, rarely emerges with any significant new knowledge. This exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum sets a new benchmark in fashion curation as it is as thought-provoking as it is spectacular. The exhibition, curated by Andrew Bolton and Harold Koda, is based on Vanity Fair’s “Impossible Interviews” column that ran in the 1930s and included such incongruities as Freud and Jean Harlow, Stalin and Schiaparelli. The latter is reprinted in the entrance to the exhibition along with its accompanying illustration by the Mexican artist Miguel Covarrubias. A specially made series of eight short videos by Baz Luhrmann introduce the visitor to the exhibition and continue to set the scene throughout the show. In the film, Miuccia Prada is seated opposite the actress Judy Davis in the role of Elsa Schiaparelli: both are in deep conversation with the viewer placed in the role of eavesdropper as they discuss, flatter, argue and laugh together. Schiaparelli: “[Once] I took a trip to London… and stormed the press with my trouser skirts… The controversy was violent, and unexpected because it was not such a new idea. … People wrote angry letters to the editors, asking that it should be made a penal offense for a woman to appear in male attire.” The exhibition is divided into seven themes: “Waist Up/Waist Down”, “Hard Chic”, “Ugly Chic”, “Naïf Chic”, “Exotic Body”, “The Classical Body” and “The Surreal Body”. As each is explored the curators have drawn upon a wider frame of reference than the clothes and accessories themselves. In “Waist Up/Waist Down”, we are reminded of how the changes in women’s lives are reflected in what they wear and how they wear it. For Schiaparelli the emphasis was from the waist up; she designed for café society and focused on what could be seen above the table. Prada’s woman is one of perpetual motion so the waist down is her area of concentration; she designs for her clothes to move and change with the body. Shoes and hats are seen throughout the exhibition but are given a special sub-section in “Waist Up/Waist Down”. This lets the

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viewer see them in detail, without the distraction of clothes. Seeing them in this way brings out their sculptural quality with surprising results – Schiaparelli’s famous “Shoe” hat, winter 1937–38, looks strangely less shoe-like when not viewed on the body. Miuccia Prada: “I’m more known for my shoes. For me, shoes are where I can express my fantasy, my imagination. I think you have much more freedom to be outrageous with shoes. There is more room for craziness, for exaggeration. In my spring 2012 collection my shoes resembled Cadillacs, complete with tail lights.” In “The Surreal Body” the focus is on trompe l’oeil, housed in a Hall of Mirrors that owes more to Coney Island than the Palace of Versailles. It works though, and gives the viewer the chance to see garments in the round and create juxtapositions that would not be possible with a more static display. Photographs have been enlarged on lightboxes to show some garments, including those worn by Schiaparelli herself and Wallis Simpson in the famous Dali collaboration Dress with Printed Lobster, 1937. The delight of these photos is that if you pause for 30 seconds, you are rewarded by the sight of a skirt fluttering in a light breeze or a slow blinking of the eyelids. Schiaparelli: “Dress designing... is to me not a profession but an art.” Prada: “Dress designing is creative but it is not an art. Fashion designers make clothes and they have to sell them. We have less creative freedom than artists. But to be honest, whether fashion is art or whether even art is art doesn’t really interest me. Maybe nothing is art. Who cares!” The exhibition catalogue is a lavish production with full-page images of whole garments or details – the latter a delight for those as fascinated by the fabric as the garments themselves. It feels churlish to complain but my one gripe is the lack of detail about the fabrics, processes and embellishments in the publication. It matters a great deal that the Prada dress on page 4 is a brown synthetic faille organza printed with moiré pattern while the Schiaparelli dress opposite is a silk moiré; that the bejewelled Prada dress on page 159 is embroidered with pressed metal ‘bottle tops’. That said, this is an exhibition about two of the greatest innovators in fashion. As such, it not only delivers, but sets a new standard in bringing together the intellectual with the aesthetic in fashion curating. ••• Marie O’Mahony 06 Elsa Schiaparelli by Man Ray, 1931 07 Miuccia Prada by Guido Harari 1999


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Fashioning the Object: Bless, Boudicca, and Sandra Backlund 14 April–13 September 2012,

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Curated by Zoë Ryan and organized in three distinct sections, this exhibition is as much about how fashion is represented as it is about fashion itself. Refreshingly the garment is not the core of the exhibition. In her exhibition introduction, Ryan notes that her selected triumvirate of designers, Bless, Boudicca and Sandra Backlund are each adept at “harnessing a conceptual and intellectual approach to design”, with practices that “are located firmly within the fashion industry, yet their work is not driven purely by market forces.” This may be true, but I found the more engaging aspect of this exhibition to be the decision to select three designers who question – through different means – the presentation of fashion. The Austrian/German duo Bless set the tone with an installation that hangs and hides much of its content in a series of metal and raffia chainmail curtains that the visitor must push through in order to see the work. No bland standing back and staring allowed. Instead, the curtain’s physical barrier encourages what we are so often discouraged from doing in the museum context: reaching out to touch what we see. Captured in the curtain and along the walls behind are pieces from their collections, as well as print material used to document their eclectic design strategy. Bless have become expert in the temporary adoption of existing publications to act as platforms for what can be likened to a look book. As a result, nothing appears quite where you would expect it to be, highlighting how often we come to accept and expect the formulae of fashion. From this invitation to touch, the show leads the viewer into the British partnership Boudicca’s black cube where, in contrast, very little physical material is on display. Instead video takes the foreground. Rather than using the moving image to capture an event locked in the past, Boudicca’s use of video feels more like an attempt to record the shifting reference points of a particular project. At times the moving image is a necessity in communication. “Wode”, their 2011 perfume, sprays on as a deep blue before disappearing under the wearer’s touch; the Motion Capture Sequin Dress from “Fragmented Dream”, Spring/Summer 2011 is covered with sequins that move when the

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The Art Institute of Chicago, S Michigan Ave & E Adams St, Chicago, Illinois 60604, T: (312) 443 3600, www.artic.edu

surface is stroked. Both require movement and time to properly understand the work. Ironically, the predominant projection in this room is given to the Spring/Summer 1999 show “System Error”, which is in many ways the most conventional. Not only does the video record a catwalk presentation of a collection, it edits out what the fashion historian Caroline Evans recollects as the audience discomfort caused by the single model who “changed backstage, producing painful moments as the audience fretted in uncomfortable silence, wondering if something had gone wrong.” A clean white cube reappears for the display of Swedish knitwear designer Sandra Backlund’s work. This final section contains the most material work of the whole exhibition – eight works in knit, fabric and a paper mock-up, each displayed on stands accompanied by a single large suspended photographic print by Ola. Shot by photographer Ola Bergengren these images do not record Backlund’s garments on the body or in motion but in fact aim to do the exact opposite: capture the stillness and detail of the work. Rather than record the object, they act as particular interpretations of form and texture. Here each image is printed so that some of the reverse is also visible from the back, accompanied by the shadow of the garment on the stand. Ironically, it is the flat image that encourages the viewer to see Backlund’s exquisitely crafted, often extreme, silhouettes in the round. Ryan writes that the exhibitors’ “presentation methods are... fundamental to the meaning of their work.” The truth is that none of these elements flourish if forced into isolation. Backlund’s garments are misunderstood if known solely through Bergengren’s photographs; Boudicca’s films esoteric without some accompanying dialogue to contextualise; and the output of Bless potentially more exciting as process than outcome. As three contrasting practices they show a thriving curiosity that is often made bland by the time fashion reaches the commercial setting. Ryan’s curation is careful not to overcomplicate the picture, and brings professionalism and creativity to a smart exhibition. ••• Jessica Hemmings 08 Sandra Backlund, Last Breath Bruises, Fall/Winter 2008-09. Ola Bergengren, 2011 09 Bless, Hairbrush, 1999. 10 Boudicca, “Distress Dress” and “Solitary Dress” System Error collection, Fall/Winter 1999.


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Full Moon Story • Traditional Korean Costume, Lee Kyung Ja, Hong Na Young and Chang Souk Hwan, Global Oriental Ltd, ISBN: 978-1905246045, £75 • Korean Art and Design, Beth McKillop, V & A Publishing, ISBN: 1851771042, £16.95 • Traditional dress from Korea, www.vam.ac.uk/content /articles/t/traditional-dress-from-east-asia/ • Lee Young Hee Korean Museum, 2 West 32nd St.. Suite 301, New York, NY 10001 www.lyhkm.org • Galerie Paris-Beijing, 54, rue du Vertbois, 75003 Paris, France. 2nd location #3 Qianyongkang Alley 5, Beixinqiao Santiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China, www.galerieparisbeijing.com

ATTIRE

Namesake • New Vintage Type: Classic Fonts for the Digital Age, Steven Heller & Gail Anderson, Thames & Hudson, ISBN: 978-0500241370, £17.95 • History of the monogram, www.embroideryarts.com • Victoria Bain Embroidered Textiles, Studio (By appointment only) 20 Lysander Grove, London N19 3QY www.victoriabain.co.uk • Edith Mezard, www.edithmezard.fr • Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court Palace Surrey KT8 9AU www.royal-needlework.org.uk • Hand & Lock Embroidery, www.handembroidery.com • The Cloth Shop, Portobello Road, 290 Portobello Road, London, W10 5TE www.theclothshop.net •Monogram Linen, www.monogrammedlinenshop.com

ANECDOTE Time and space • Museum of Bags and Purses, Herengracht 573, 1017 CD Amsterdam, www.tassenmuseum.nl • Museum of Flour Sacks in Wittenburg, Germany, www.flour-art-museum.de • Hardware store, www.thesocietyinc.com.au • Etcetera, Sibella Court, Murdoch Books, ISBN: 9781741965568, RRP £25, www.thesocietyinc.com.au • Nomad, as above, ISBN: 1742665691, £25 • Paperwork, Peter Clark, Black Dog Publishing, ISBN: 9781907317521, £16.95

COHABIT Table Manners • Made in France: Linen and Thread, Monique Lyonnet, Murdoch Books, ISBN: 978-1741966039, £29.99 Dining Out • Charlemagne's Tablecloth: A Piquant History of Feasting, Nichola Fletcher, Phoenix, ISBN: 9780753819746, £8.99 • English domestic interiors from 1600 to the present day, Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, London, E2 8EA, www.geffrye-museum.org.uk

INDUSTRY Local delicacy • A soie à Lyon: de la Grande Fabrique aux textiles du XXIe siècle, Bernard Tassinari, Ed. Lyonnaises d’Art et d’Histoire, 2012, ISBN: 978-2841472970, £25 • L’Institut National des Metiers d’Art Viaduc des Arts, 23 avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, www.institut-metiersdart.org • Prelle, silk furnishing manufacturers established in 1752, http//prelle.fr • Tassinari & Chatel, silk weavers established in 1680, www.tassinari-chatel.com • L’Atelier de Soierie, silk printing established in 1895, www.atelierdesoierie.com • Marc Rozier established in 1890, www.marcrozier.com • Institut National des Metiers d’Art, 23 avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris, www.institut-metiersdart.org • Musee des Tissus et des Arts Decoratifs, 34 rue de la Charité, F-69002 Lyon, www.musee-des-tissus.com • Musee du Textile, Rue de la Rive, 81270 Labastide Rouairoux, http://musee-textile.tarn.fr • Silk heritage centre, Soierie Vivante, 21 rue Richan, 69004 Lyon, www.soierie-vivante.asso.fr • Living museum of silk jacquard weaving, 10-12 rue d’Ivry 69004 Lyon, www.maisondescanuts.com • Historic trimming, braiding and tassel factory, 42740 Saint Paul en Jarez, www.effet-passementeries.com • Cité international de la Tapisserie et de l’Art Tissé, Avenue des lissiers, 23200 Aubusson, http://blog.citetapisserie.com/le-musee/ • Guide to the historic tapestry region of Aubusson, http://aubusson.region-limousin.fr • Weaving and tapestry production, Manufacture SaintJean, www.manufacture-saint-jean.fr • Rugs and tapestries, http://ateliers-pinton.com • Ribbon and silk, www.julien-faure.fr • Museum de Toulouse, 35 Allee Jules Guesde, 31000 Toulouse, www.museum.toulouse.fr • Lectoure Blue Pastel, www.bleu-de-lectoure.com • La Maison de la Passementerie, 42660 Jonzieux, www.maison-passementerie.info • Musee Souleiado, 39 Rue Charles Demery, 13150 Tarascon, http://souleiadolemusee.com • Regional quilts, www.la-maison-du-boutis.com

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Crowning Glories: Hats off to Little Shilpa • Little Shilpa, www.littleshilpa.com • Little Shilpa headpieces, ‘India: Fashion Now’, 18 August-13 January 2013, ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen, Denmark, www.arken.dk • BBC’s Collaboration Culture, episode one: Shilpa Chavan and Martin Churba, www.bbc.co.uk • Little Shilpa’s catwalk shows, YouTube www.youtube.com/user/littleshilpaindia?feature=chclk Schiaparelli Prada • Shocking Life: Autobiography, Elsa Schiaparelli, V & A Publishing, ISBN 1851775153, RRP £8.99 • Shocking! The Art and Fashion of Elsa Schiaparelli, D. Blum, Yale University Press, ISBN 0300100663, £35 • Prada, Miuccia Prada, Patrizio Bertelli, Abrams, ISBN 888702944X, £75 • Prada, www.prada.com • Schiaparelli, www.schiaparelli.com Norfolk Jacket • Archive image of the Norfolk Jacket and Neck Piece,http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O78848/norfolk-jacket-and/ • 1953 article detailing how Prince Philip was leading the renaissance of the Norfolk Jacket, www.oldmagazinearticles.com/Norfolk-Jacket-article

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Out November 2012 *Contents are subject to change

THE EVERGREEN ISSUE IDEAS, IDEALS AND TEXTILES THAT ENDURE

inform inspire insight

Coming next Principal dancer Sustainable fashion for the party season Scaling the heights How Victorian mountain climbers overcame the crinoline Heart of Lovikka Modern Swedish knitwear from within the Arctic Circle Festive fare Katelyn Toth-Fejel creates a Christmas dinner to dye for Natural beauty Environmentally friendly ways to decorate Leading light The many faceted career of Yoshiko Wada

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Heart of Lovikka

Plus: The Sami, Barbara Hulanicki, Knockando Woolmill, Arxe


“Phone for the fish knives, Norman As cook is a little unnerved; You kiddies have crumpled the serviettes And I must have things daintily served.” John Betjeman’s cruelly funny poem How To Get On In Society pinpoints with unerring accuracy the social anxiety around language. It echoes Nancy Mitford’s essay on U (upper class) and non-U vocabulary, Noblesse Oblige, written in 1956. In the first stanza alone the in-jokes come thick and fast. Crumpled serviettes are the least of this poor lady’s social handicaps; doesn’t she know it’s called a napkin? Don’t judge too harshly: when it comes to matters of etiquette the table is a gladiatorial arena without equal (perhaps it is no coincidence that in Ancient Rome a napkin was thrown to signal the start of combat). Society has found ingenious ways to complicate one of life’s most basic requirements with codes of conduct, polite procedures and layers of meaning that make the consumption of food all but irrelevant. And returning to the napkin: if you think its function is to wipe food and drink from the mouth, or protect clothing while eating, well, you must be a social simpleton. Skipping over the dark days when it was deemed the height of sophistication to wipe your hands on a piece of bread, some researchers believe early napkins were mere lumps of dough called ‘apomagdalie’. The first recognisable cloth napkins are found in Roman antiquity and were known as ‘sudaria’ and ‘mappae’. Napery expert and author of The Book of Fine Linen, Francoise de Bonneville, explains: “The sudarium, ancestor to the modern pocket handkerchief, was used to wipe perspiration from the face, whereas the mappa was used at the table. Guests brought their own mappa to dinner parties, and at the end of the meal the host might invite them to take leftovers home in

it. By the end of the Roman Empire, mappae had become so luxurious and so coveted that people no longer carried one for fear of theft. The most magnificent were fine linen or silk, embroidered with gold thread, painted or woven with scintillating colours.” As the form of napkins evolved so did the level of formality associated with them. In the Middle ages guidance came in treatises on courtesy and civility instructing children how to sit properly at the table and how to use a napkin. They were not afraid to state the obvious. One piece of advice reads: ‘‘Child, ‘tis a shameful thing, if you have a napkin or cloth, to drink from your tankard mouth all covered with filth and spittle.’’ As late as 1729 a French treatise was obliged to point out that ‘‘it is ungentlemanly to use a napkin for wiping their face or scraping their teeth, and a most vulgar error to wipe one’s nose with it.’’ Bonneville notes that it “was the humanist Erasmus who popularized the term ‘civility’ with his treatise on etiquette aimed at children, De Civilitate Morum Puerilium, in 1530. The book was an instant success...” Today the napkin is unfolded in the lap when you take your seat or when your drink arrives, but even this simple arrangement has taken some negotiation. The elaborate ruffs of Renaissance fashion required napkins to be knotted around the neck. They later moved down to protect the lace on shirtfronts and were sometimes attached with a pin – a practice maintained into the 19th century – before settling in the lap. Unfortunately, as Bonneville reminds us, knowing where to put the napkin is only half the battle. There exists a rule of decorum dating back to 1729 about when you should put it there: ‘‘the person of the highest rank in the company should unfold his napkin first, all others waiting till he has done so before they unfold theirs. When all of those present are social equals, all unfold together, with no ceremony.’’ But if in doubt whether you are in the presence of social equals, simply refer to Mr Betjeman – and make sure no one calls it a serviette. Milk and then just as it comes dear? I'm afraid the preserve's full of stones; Beg pardon, I'm soiling the doileys With afternoon tea-cakes and scones. •••

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96 anecdote

UNFOLDING THE SOCIALLY FRAUGHT HISTORY OF NAPKINS

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Class act


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portrait: Phil Sayer. top/middle: James Austin. bottom: Peter Mennim

MICHAEL BRENNAND-WOOD Forever Changes

Ruthin Craft Centre, The Centre for the Applied Arts Park Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire, Wales UK LL15 1BB Tel: +44 (0)1824 704774 FREE Admission. FREE on-site parking. Open daily from 10.00am – 5.30pm. Visit our website for exhibition information www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk A beautiful 200 page book accompanies the exhibition. Call to reserve your copy. Tel: +44 (0)1824 704774

22 September – 25 November 2012 An exhibition documenting Michael Brennand-Wood’s practice over forty years. Forever Changes features many previously unseen, new and important works with the emphasis very firmly on the ideas behind each piece.

48 Etiquette  
48 Etiquette  
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