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THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE

THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: THE KNIT ISSUE

60

TEXTILES IN FASHION, FINE ART, CR AFT, DESIGN, INTERIORS, TR AVEL AND SHOPPING


AUTUMN - WINTER 2014 - 2015 WWW.CATHERINEANDRE.COM


YARN SOURCED FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD HANDMADE & VINTAGE GIFTS HABERDASHERY, BOOKS & PATTERNS WORKSHOPS & GIFT VOUCHERS WE SHIP EVERYWHERE!

Cover Image: This image appeared in Vogue UK in August 2000, photographer: Tim Walker, model: Iekeliene Strange, knits: Giles Deacon, stylist: Kate Phelan Selvedge Magazine Editorial Office 162 Archway Road, London N6 5BB editor@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 Marketing Manager: Clare Bungey marketing@selvedge.org Communications Manager: Penny Gray communications@selvedge.org Customer Service Manager: Catherine Harris customerservice@selvedge.org Distribution Manager: Ronja Brown distribution@selvedge.org Interns: Laura Brainwood, Miranda Evans, Sarah Bandy intern@selvedge.org Copy Editor: Peter Shaw

SELVEDGE (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 2014. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is strictly prohibited. The editor reserves the right to edit, shorten or modify any material submitted. The editor’s decision on all printed material is final. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of Selvedge magazine, Selvedge Ltd or the editor. Unsolicited material will be considered but cannot be returned. Printing: Westdale Press Ltd UK. Colour Origination: PH Media. Web Design: datadial. Distribution: Spatial Mail. Postmaster send address corrections to Selvedge Magazine, Spatial House, Willow Farm Business Park, Castle Donnington, Derby, DE74 2TW. Subscription rates for one year (6 issues): Paper Magazine, UK £50.00; Europe £75.00; USA & Rest of World £100.00

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BIAS

CONT RIBUTORS

We asked our contributors if they knit...

Knitting is a technique for creating cloth by looping a single thread. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The structure is intrinsically weaker than a woven cloth, yet more flexible. It is this flexibility that has accounted for its success. Where weave structures have stayed pretty constant since the industrial revolution, knitting has continued to evolve, as Freddie Robins notes, pg 43. The vast majority of clothing manufactured today is knit. As soon as the sag – the bane of all knitters, created by the imbalance of weight and scale of loop – was eliminated with the invention of spandex and lycra, knits have become ubiquitous. The streetwear/ sportswear of today is a homage to the flexibility of knits. The revolution started slowly in the 1920s when Gabrielle Chanel made outerwear from knitted underwear. The stretch and flexibility of knit structure suited her modern relaxed style. This aesthetic is continued today in the work of another french designer, Catherine André, pg 56. Her sophisticated knit collections utilise the attribute of knitted structure to create organic pattern and multi-colour effects that are not limited by the warp and weft. The complex patterning made possible by knit structure has become the tour de force in Fair Isle, pg 28, where the yolk of a traditional sweater can have as many as five colours: although surprisingly there is only ever two in each row. The 700 islands, pg 36, bathed in clear northern light dotted around the Scottish coast are renowned for their textiles, and none more so than Harris off the west coast, whose tweed is world famous. This cloth is an embodiment of the island and its people. The simple structure is woven by hand in crofts from native fleece traditionally dyed with dye derived from native plants, before being blended to create the complex palette we see in the cloth. The connection between the land and the cloth has been sensitively captured in Ian Lawson’s photographs, pg 15. If you are not able to make it to Shetland for Wool Week which is celebrated during the second week in October then why not indulge in some of Katie Mawson’s delicious knitted accessories, pg 60, at our Winter Fair at the Chelsea Old Town Hall, October 31st and November 1st, pg 6. We hope to see you there.

My godmother taught me to knit and at 17 I won the Lister Lee / Fashioncraft knitwear competition. I still have that jumper. Sadly I don’t have the Patricia Roberts ‘Tarzan’ jumper, that I knitted the next year. I often search ebay in an attempt to find it again. FREDDIE ROBINS, pg 43

KATE CAVENDISH, pg 71

I generally knit without a pattern and in the 80s people bought my chaotic mohair jumpers. Later, knitting joined my artist's toolbox and appeared as live performance, video, installation and even chainmail sculpture. NICOLA DONOVAN, pg 26

Polly Leonard

Founder

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When visiting Iceland, I fell in love with lopi wool, returning home with skeins of mottled gray that evoked the lunar landscape, smoky blue accents that recalled the geysers. I knit my lopapeysa while watching the Winter Olympics: the sweater felt like “gold” for this novice.


CONTENTS

INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire 78 HUNG, DRAWN AND QUARTERED The capital celebrates its wealth of creative talent with the London Design Festival, 13-21 September 2014, www.londondesignfestival.com

INDUSTRY from craft to commerce 28 FAIR SHARE Sarah Laurenson unravels the wide appeal of one of Scotland’s most distinctive knits SELVEDGE 16

76 STEPPING OUT Ptolemy Mann follows Roger Oates as they take carpet in a new direction

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Portrait by Richard Nicholson POPULAR OPINION

GLOBAL Textiles from around the world 15 FROM THE LAND COMES THE CLOTH Ian Lawson photographs the island of Harris and its tweed 19 THE SCOTS BLUE BONNET Each cavalier who loves honour and me, Let him follow the bonnets of bonnie Dundee Enid Gauldie has researched the history of this iconic headgear 66 SPLENDID ISOLATION Illustrated by Sarah Burwash We asked textile designers from the Scottish Islands to send us a ‘postcard’ from the place they call home

Central St. Martin’s. Deacon learned how important popular culture often is to marketing fashion design and took inspiration from ancient TV sitcoms and sex-shop tack. He also absorbs high cultural influences, such as classical sculpture and historic portraits, which have appeared on the catwalk as large scale, digital prints. Deacon has featured trompe d’oile prints of life size classical semi-nude figures, partially swathed in drapery, and with hand drawn heads. Like fellow establishment Brits Dame Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen, Deacon displays a streak of willful eccentricity that sets his work apart from the classic conformity of French and American design. But unlike Westwood, whose idiosyncratic and complex approach to form, texture, scale and surface can result in her work being utterly bewildering to the inexperienced, or un-emboldened dresser, Deacon’s designs are pretty user-friendly. Certainly, they might sometimes be adorned by giant prints of marble backsides and massively scaled up cockroaches; but the shapes, or forms of his designs are generally easy to wear. Deacon claims there is a ‘dark’ aspect to his design apparent in printed and 3D embellishments of ‘creepy’ wildlife, such as bats and beetles. But, given the late Alexander McQueen’s expert handling of genuinely uncanny, tortured, phantasmagorical and dangerous darkness, Deacon’s ‘gothnicity’ is probably better understood as a cartoonish, Hammer Horror theatricality. Nevertheless, with his fusion of playful, sometimes naughty-ish imagery, and classic but contemporary silhouettes, Deacon demonstrates a modern approach to fashion, which he aptly defines as “sophistipop”.

This combination of timelessness and market aware modernity appears again in Deacon’s big, cool knits for A/W 2014. Deacon commissioned Dalston based, urban knit outfit ‘Wool & the Gang’ to step in, log-sized needles at the ready, and deal with the chunky end of his knitwear collection. On the catwalks stompy models in big boots showed us that skinny biker jeans topped with huge cuddly jumper dresses create a relaxed vibe. True, the huge and front facing cartoon eyes on beanie hats might be a bit playful (or childish) for many grown-ups; but overall Deacon has his eye on reality. Less ‘of the people’ but nonetheless spectacular were Deacon’s improbable gigantiknits from a few seasons ago. Constructed using a 3D ‘dragon stitch’ designed by hip knitwear label Sibling’s Syd Bryan, Deacon’s ‘dragon knits’ brought an extra aspect of engineering to the craft of winding wool around needles and pulling it through loops. Wearing one of these beautiful, monster knits must be something of a challenge too; after all they’re not your everyday, shrug-on cardi. Deacon seems to like a challenge, as exemplified by his position as a champion of ‘real’ women as models; which despite being a predisposition not welcomed by the fashion establishment, he continues to stand by. Giles Deacon, formerly of luxe labels Bottega Veneto and Gucci is, for the most part, a very British, very commercial designer. He recognises that contemporary consumers want fashion designers to offer more reflection on the ‘real world’ than many are prepared to do – a sophistipopulist providing sophistipopulism for a sophistipopulace. •••

London Fashion Week, 12-16 September 2014, www.londonfashionweek.co.uk, giles-deacon.com

This image appeared in Vogue UK in August 2000, photographer Tim Walker, model, Iekeliene Strange Knits Giles Deacon, stylist Kate Phelan.

Nicola Donovan considers fashion’s crowd pleaser, Giles Deacon

Home grown in the Northern territories of Britain, designer Giles Deacon is now without any doubt whatsoever a senior member of fashion royalty. But in spite of his elevated status, he’s a man of the people and a million miles away from the high fashion propensity to appear aloof, arrogant and perhaps even disdainful. Indeed, it is clear from the plentiful online footage that shows him chirruping happily about his thoughts on allsorts, that Deacon is a genial fellow endowed with an open and democratic approach to the business of being a fashion giant. Moreover, Deacon’s approach to fashion as something that everyone can enjoy, was demonstrated by his collaboration with the high street chain ‘New Look’. A more recent and perhaps unexpected pairing occurred between Deacon and the now mainstream purveyors of bedroom-time essentials ‘Anne Summers’. Not one for sitting back for a breather, unless it’s on the hand-built ‘Lipgloss’ sofa he conceived for the British furniture chain DFS, Deacon is almost incontinent in his creative output: last year he even designed decorated packaging for style conscious consumers of Muller yoghurt. So, Deacon is a designer whose democratic attitude is filtered through market savviness: and importantly, he clearly understands contemporary consumers’ desires to acquire branded design. Although some might regard his infiltration of grocery and budget end fashion as a cynical exercise in retail annexation, he does nevertheless offer unusually wide-ranging access to his brand. Initially a failed trainee marine biologist, Deacon began to develop his label as he finished a formal education at British fashion design’s hothouse,

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P26/27 Opposite: Child’s Jumper, C.1950s Below: Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, John St Helier Lander, Illustrated London News, 1925

FAIR SHARE Sarah Laurenson unravels the wide appeal of one of Scotland’s most distinctive knits

COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed

Fair Isle is renowned for its knitted textiles and for being a place of astonishing natural beauty. In the northern half of the island, jagged cliffs stretching to upwards of 200 metres, plummeting valleys and heather hills dominate the landscape. This wildness settles into a relatively flat, rolling southern half, which is dotted with the homes and crofts of the people who live there, on the UK’s most remote inhabited island. Thinking about Fair Isle as an island of two halves is a good way to think about the knitwear with which it is synonymous. The earliest written records of Fair Isle knitting, which date to the first half of the 19th century, tell us that it has always been a form of ‘native’ local dress and a product sold outside the island. The abstract motifs across bands of colour mean that the finished garment is both decorative and, as a result of the double layer of fabric created by the stranding technique through which the patterns are created, highly practical. The craft is bound with place, inseparable from this tiny island in the North Atlantic, but has evolved and been successful as a result of that island’s outside links. Even the origins of Fair Isle knitwear are double-sided. The most enduring story relates to the wrecking of a Spanish Armada ship, El Gran Griffon, in 1588, when locals are said to have been influenced by the coloured knitwear of stranded sailors. This tale demonstrates the power of marketing stories, and their ability to dominate and distort history. A more widely accepted theory is that Fair Isle knitting grew up around the various styles of stranded colourwork that developed in Scandinavia and the Baltic

60 HOME COMFORT Clare Lewis visits knit designer Katie Mawson and admires her cosy colour palette Photographed by the late Claire Richardson 66 CHECKMATE ANTA and others prove there’s no endgame in sight for tartan in interiors Written by Elizabeth Machin SELVEDGE 28

regions. Fair Isle was an important stop on busy trade routes between these coastal communities, so it makes sense that shared influences led to the development of the island’s distinctive technique over an extended period. The origins of Fair Isle knitwear will probably always be a mystery. But the defining feature of its development – its versatility – could not be clearer. From its rise to fame in the second half of the 19th century, right through to the present, Fair Isle knitwear has shifted with the ebb and flow of wider fashions. In the 1920s, the fashionable and eminently handsome Prince Edward was photographed sporting Fair Isle knits on the golf course and was immortalised in a V-neck pullover in a portrait by John St Helier Lander in 1925. In the 1930s, a shop girl from Lerwick’s capital, Jeannie Jarmson, put shiny Rayon yarns to the test in a sweater which, as a result of its intricacy and innovative design, won her a prestigious prize from a national magazine. Strengthened links between Shetland and Norway during the Second World War saw a distinctly Scandinavian influence on patterns and garment shapes. And we’re all familiar with the images of the McCartneys and Twiggy in their Fair Isle yokes in the 60s. It is this re-invention that continues to define Fair Isle knitting today. The endless creativity afforded by infinite combinations of pattern and colour mean that the technique is personal, exciting and highly addictive. Fair Isle knitting is not a dead tradition, revived for the 21st century – it remains a living, breathing craft. In the south of Fair Isle, makers like Kathy 4

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96 SCOTLAND THE BRAVE As the V&A announce their forthcoming Alexander McQueen retrospective Sarah Jane Downing examines tartan, a fabric that is a symbol, stereotype and fashion staple 70 THE GOLDEN FLEECE Meg Lukens Noonan’s quest to find the ultimate luxury fibre

ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends

especially as worn by the romantic Highlander. Round knitted bonnets were once the universal head covering of men in Northern Europe. When, in the later Middle Ages, brimmed felt hats became generally adopted, the wearing of woollen bonnets was pushed out to the northern fringes. It lingered on until the present day, when it became the sign by which a Scotsman was everywhere identified. Bonnets traditionally made in Dundee were not the neat little caps nowadays worn by the kilted fraternity. They were, in their heyday, serious affairs, built to keep out the extremes of weather. They were heavy and dense, weighing as much as 18 ounces and made of rough, coarse wool. Their circumference was much larger than the head so that they sat low on the crown and hung down over the ears, neck and forehead. The wide, wheel-like crown was gathered into a narrow headband which fitted closely round the brow. Sometimes an extra depth of band allowed a pattern of checks or stripes to be knitted in and sometimes there was a finishing touch of a ‘toorie’, a bobble made of wool ends; bright red, or more often – for the elderly and dignified – flatter and black to match the bonnet. The blue bonnet was frowned upon by town society, perhaps because it was generally worn by the men who came down from the glens to trade or by the wild troops who followed one marauding leader after another in raids upon the town. The black bonnet was “douce” and respectable but it did not aspire to elegance. It is not surprising that, as they gained some prosperity, those who cared to cut a dash adopted a hat. A hat could be worn with an air, while the bonnet was

30 POPULAR OPINION Dr Nicola Donovan considers the commercial success of fashion’s crowd pleaser; Giles Deacon London Fashion Week, 12-16 September, www.londonfashionweek.co.uk

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An incident during the visit of George the IV to Edinburgh, Sir David Wilkie, 1822, pencil and watercolour on paper, 137 x 189cm

THE SCOTS BLUE BONNET “Each cavalier who loves honour and me. Let him follow the bonnets of Bonnie Dundee”

The Scots blue bonnet is famous in story and song,

practical, serviceable and sensible. Just the same, a bonnet was a garment a man could grow fond of. After a little wearing it grew to fit the head, comfortable and moulded into shape. It was cheap enough for the poor, who owned little else. It was hard wearing and suited to the roughest weather but it was worn indoors as well as out. A man put on his bonnet as he put on his trousers and he kept it on all day. It was a receptacle as well as a protection. Bothy men, after each meal, would suck their horn spoons clean and tuck them in their bonnets where they lay unnoticed until wanted again, each man sure of his own. The historic ‘bonnet of Bonnie Dundee’ was the regular headgear of working men, until cheaper machine production caused its replacement by the factory-made cloth cap. Even then the old name was retained and, in country parts at least, a man’s cap is still known as a ‘bunnet’. Dundee was the first of the Scottish towns to have an Incorporated Trade of Bonnetmakers. Its ‘Seal of Cause’ is dated 1496, ten years before Edinburgh’s, 25 years before Aberdeen’s and at least a century before Stewarton’s. This suggests that, before the end of the 15th century, there were enough people crafting bonnets to require some regulation and need some quality control if the products of the trade were to be saleable. The manufacture of a bonnet was not difficult but it was laborious. It involved a large number of successive processes almost all of which were carried out within the same household. Bonnet makers were independent and purchased and prepared their raw materials. The broad flat heavy bonnet made in Dundee was manufactured of

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coarse wool bought as fleece. The coarseness and cheapness of the raw material was one reason why bonnetmakers were thought of as a lowly trade, from which no one seems to have emerged to riches or high social position. They were producing a cheap headgear for working people and they could enter the trade with small outlay of capital, on poor quality fleece and with only the simplest of tools. The wool was carded and spun in the cottages and dyed in their yards. The most common blue was at first woad, which grew wild in parts of Scotland but was often imported from Bordeaux and Dieppe. John Smollett was importing woad into Scotland at the beginning of the 16th century at £7 Scots a ton. David Wedderburn’s account book records frequent imports of dye stuffs with woads of different varieties, one marked with a double crescent, one with a rose, another one with a heart. Another blue dye could be obtained from scabious, a wayside flower readily available to those unwilling to spend money on imported dye stuffs. But woad and scabious both gave fugitive and unsatisfactory blues compared with indigo which became available with the opening up of the West Indies. Indigo did not reach Scotland until the end of the 16th century, so bonnetmakers in Dundee had been operating without it for at least a century. Both woad and indigo were imported in the form of hard balls of paste which had to be ground down into powder, then steeped in urine before the yarn was boiled in it. Woad gave a lightish blue, indigo a darker hue. To achieve black took several stages of dyeing over a period of days, with the addition of oak galls to build up black from blue. Carrying out these processes as a domestic 4

National Galleries of Scotland

ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives

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56 SURFACE TENSION Anne Laure Camilleri finds knit designer Catherine André in perfect Harmonic Motion Enel Contemporanea 2013, Braided nylon 6-6; hand crochet, Charles MacAdam with Interplay Design & Manufacturing, Inc, Nova Scotia, Canada design & production Norihide Imagawa & T.I.S. & Partners., Co. Ltd, Tokyo structural design, MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome

SOCIAL NETWORK Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam plays with our perceptions of art

Roberto Boccacino courtesy of Enel Contemporanea

Roberto Boccacino courtesy of Enel Contemporanea

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam explains that the crucial turning point in her textile practice came the day two children innocently clambered onto her art. Despite being sited within the unspoken no-touch rules of the gallery, Toshiko saw that “suddenly the piece came to life. My eyes were opened. I realised I wanted just such a connection between my work and people alive at this moment in time – not a hundred years from now. I realised I was in fact making works for children.” If Japanese textile art brings to mind subtle investigations of monochrome materials, you would not be wrong. But Toshiko is not that kind of artist, at least not today. Her textile art first emerged in the late 1960s and enjoyed acknowledgement in publications such as The Art Fabric: Mainstream, which described her Air Contained in a Floating Cube (1977) as a “haloed radiance” of linen and Mylar knitted panels and floodlights. Her past work suggested a defiance of gravity, but her work for children now actively encourages it. After studying fine art and weaving at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, Toshiko’s postgraduate studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan provided the freedom to determine her own direction. A persistent interest in space, tension and the ability of the textile to act as both structure and surface emerged. Her 1976 sculpture Moving Columns made in Thread in the ancient technique of sprang, an early elastic textile structure, epitomises these interests. Today Toshiko’s creations share some visual similarities

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with the work of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto or Canadian Janet Echelman’s installations. But closer inspection reveals the integration of form and function in Toshiko’s work that focuses on an entirely different audience by inviting the energy of children into her work. Based since 1988 with her family in Nova Scotia, Canada, her current practice has evolved through an unrelenting process of trial and error. As early as 1971 a hand-crocheted prototype of AirPocket, one of two systems she continues to develop today, was donated to a playground in Japan. It tolerated less than six months of play. After a number of projects self-financed by freelance design work, her first commission arrived in 1979. By 1981 Knitted Wonder Space I for the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan was completed and lasted an impressive 28 years before Knitted Wonder Space II was installed as a replacement. Made from nylon, the work measures 15 metres by 9 and weighs approximately one tonne, produced entirely by hand. It goes without saying that the production of a tonne of crochet is no small undertaking. Suspension demands even further input. Since 1990 the Tokyo-based structural engineering firm T.I.S. & Partners advise on the engineering of complex projects, which are handled on a site-by-site basis. Charles MacAdam, who oversees the installation of his wife’s projects, concedes that “a lot of learning” went into their early works, particularly to create a consistent tension necessary to allow the bouncing, climbing and nesting each work is built to 4

command of her colourful medium 74 HAND IN HAND Susan Mansfield meets Di Gilpin and discovers a Scottish designer who is bridging the gap between craft and couture

CONCEPT textiles in fine art

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43 LOOPING THE LOOP Ten years on Freddie Robbins revisits the revolution in knitting P50/51 Below: Loop, 15 Camden Passage, Islington, London

Previous page: Purl Soho, 459 Broome St, New York Below: Loop, 15 Camden Passage, Islington, London

is closer to the truth. This doesn’t sound terribly exciting or headline grabbing but that’s knitting for you, quietly subversive. What has definitely evolved is the language of knitting. Craftivism, yarnbombing, yarn storming, guerilla knitting, kniffiti, graffti knitting and stitch ‘n bitch are a few terms added to the knitter’s vocabulary. Social media has a lot to do with the popularity, accessibility and visibility of knitting. Internationally numerous exhibitions have been dedicated to the theme and process of knitting, most notably Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York and the UK Crafts Council’s Knit 2 Together: Concepts in Knitting. The latter attracted the largest audience that the Crafts Council has had for an exhibition of contemporary craft: 16,000 visitors in an 11-week period. I lose track of how many of these exhibitions I have been in and how many I have seen. And this is where things get cloudy for me. I feel knitting is more visible and accessible as a fine art medium too but maybe that is just because it has become my world, a world that I am now completely subsumed in. My network of artists working with knitting now stretches across the world from Liz Collins in New York to Kate Just in Melbourne. But one thing I do know is that knitting is not a fine art medium that is accepted by all. In some circles it is embraced, in others rejected and branded “Craft”, where craft is seen as a dirty word, a lesser creative discipline that requires skill and cannot therefore also convey meaning or concept. The increased visibility of knitting has also come literally “off the back of” a female detective, Sarah Lund, from the Danish TV drama Forbrydelsen. Better known as The Killing, this hit UK screens 4

Simply Knitting is still the UK’s leading publication, with a circulation of 65,000. Ravelry, the online forum for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers gained its 4 millionth member in February: 0.49% of people in the UK are members. In 2013 a worldwide survey of 3,500 knitters found that 81.5% of respondents felt happier after knitting. This is something that I definitely agree with – even thinking about knitting makes me feel happier. But what about knitting being “the domain of women” – is there any significant shift here? I would welcome knitting becoming a less gendered activity. According to a recent article in The Telegraph there is change; Gerrard Allt opened his South London yarn shop, I knit London, eight years ago. At that time men made up only five percent of his customers; last year this had climbed to 20 percent. Yorkshire-based yarn company Rowan has reported a similar trend, with the number of men registered on their website now accounting for 12 percent of members: while the Oxford Street, London branch of John Lewis last year offered men-only knitting classes in response to increased interest. But this increase is not a trend we see repeated in academia. The number of male students studying knitted textiles and knitwear remains consistently and disappointingly low. Last year just one man graduated with an MA in Knitwear from the Royal College of Art and this year one will graduate from Knitted Textiles and one from Knitwear. These are the same sort of numbers of male knitters we had when I studied there 25 years ago. There hasn’t been a revolution, in terms of a dramatic and wide-reaching change, but more a sense of things revolving. Perhaps a gentle evolution

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50 SOCIAL NETWORK Dr Jessica Hemmings enjoys watching Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam play with our perceptions of art

WIN 83 PRIZES THIS ISSUE A chance to win one of three pairs of gloves by Katie Mawson, a ‘Graph’ scarf by Donna Wilson and one of two limited edition bespoke tweed bags by Ally Capellino SELVEDGE 45

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INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings

SURFACE TENSION

collection in Florida when a woman approached her and confessed “I feel a lot more human since I’ve been wearing your clothes.” It’s clear, eighteen years after launching her own line of knitwear, that this softly-spoken designer has built a strong connection with her customers around the world. The comfort and fluidity of her knitwear embraces a timeless elegance reminiscent of Fortuny’s style or Madeleine Vionnet’s legendary bias-cut gowns. An artist with a passion for Baroque music – she plays the viola – Catherine André has created an utterly feminine style, combining bold colours with casual, elegant designs. Her graceful silhouettes have a “je ne sais quoi” appeal that has captured the hearts of women looking for sophisticated simplicity. Born in the pink city of Toulouse, Catherine André studied English and Spanish Language at the University of Besançon. She visited Ireland in the summer months of her first year and had an epiphany. She fell in love with the warm natural light, the dramatic landscape and with the Irish people. The sight of children wearing beautifully mended sweaters inspired her to collect threads from the local spinning mills and to start a yarn journal. She spent her final year at the University of Stirling, Scotland before settling down in Uzès in Southern France. Her time in Ireland had been a decisive experience and she set out to knit “abstract paintings” by assembling small knitted patches, and made sweaters that required nearly 200 hours of work. The exclusive knit pieces became quite successful on the local markets. Soon, she met her future husband and briefly attended the Ecole des

Beaux Arts of Nimes before the newlyweds moved to Rodez, the capital of the Aveyron Region in 1980. The small provincial town is as far from the fashion world as it can get but the aspiring young stylist succeeded in showing her work to Promostyl in Paris. She was commissioned to make samples and hand knitted 60 different pieces. She sold them all, which led to a meeting with Italian knitwear designer Rossana Orlandi in Milan. She landed a three month internship and over the next eight years would return to Milan periodically to help Ms Orlandi finalize yarn collections and prepare the Pitti Filati Fair: “I was homesick at first, but living in the land of arts and music was an old dream come true. I learned a lot about colour coordination with Rossana and we became close. I had the chance to work in a large knitting lab and to meet the stylists of Nina Ricci and Ungaro.” During the 1980s and mid-1990s, Catherine established herself as a stylist for Rodier, Ungaro, Lacoste, Cacharel and as a colour consultant for spinning mills in France and Japan. In 1993, she designed a knitwear line for French stylist Philippe Model. Being part of the production process was an exciting experience that prompted her to start her own line. Strongly encouraged by her close friend, maverick designer Claude Barthelemy, she presented her first knitwear collection in January 1996 and opened her first store in Paris in 2006. Catherine André’s studio is located in an old tawnery building in Millau (tawners would dress and prepare the skins of sheep, lambs and goats). The large, high-ceilinged rooms are bathed with the natural light of southern France, creating the ideal conditions to select yarns or coordinate colours 4

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Hugues Roualdes

A few years ago, Catherine André was showing a

Richard Haughton

Anne Laure Camilleri finds Catherine André in perfect command of her medium

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In a higgledy-piggledy terrace of Victorian houses on the fringes of the Cumbrian market town of Penrith, knitwear designer Katie Mawson is busy in her kitchen, like a latter-day Mrs TiggyWinkle, hanging out her colourful knitted mittens to dry above the roaring wood burning stove. The place Mawson has made home for her family and flourishing knitwear business is just over the hills from the open skies and wild landscapes of her childhood. Brought up in a tiny rural community by her lawyer and doctor parents, Katie’s artistic streak, probably inherited from her grandmother who was a hobbyist painter, was drawn out by an unusually creative collection of neighbours and family friends. The artist Winifred Nicholson lived nearby and was a formative influence. ‘I remember going into her house and being struck by the simplicity of the stark white walls. Any colour in the interior was in her paintings.’ This aesthetic is mirrored in the white-walled rooms of Mawson’s house that are enlivened with colour accents reminiscent of Nicholson’s palette. Katie’s moss-green knitted cushions, blockcoloured bed covers, candy-striped knit curtains and dry-point pictures are scattered throughout. Objet trouvé and jugs of wild scabious, bluebells and vividly coloured hedgerow favourites are carefully laid out on table tops, echoing a Nicholson stilllife. Vintage letters decorate the wall of the dining room; Katie set out to collect and display the whole alphabet after finding a random letter in a French market. Continuing the literary theme and jostling for wall space are her own work and an original Penrith sales poster for the house dated 25th July 1927 presented to the family by a friend who is also an antiquarian book collector. A more hands-on artistic experience came through the unexpected presence of a little gallery on the Roman wall. ‘Nicholson sold a farmhouse on her land to a Taiwanese artist, Li Yuan-Chia, which he extended and converted into a little museum called LYC. He ran life-drawing classes and there4

Knit designer Katie Mawson’s cosy colour palette

03 BIAS/CONTRIBUTORS A letter from the founder and comments from our contributors 06 EVENTS The Selvedge Winter Fair, 31 October-1 November, 07 NEWS Ally Capellino & The London Cloth Company, Horst: Photographer of Style at the V&A, Saatchi Art Showdown prize, India Street, Margo Selby 09 NEEDLE’S EYE 08: Pattern Darning

12 HOW TO Make the Purl Bee’s slip stitch dish towels 80 SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS This issue every new subscriber and renewal will receive a decorative set of Catherine Andre notebooks worth £10 82 BACK ISSUES Complete your Selvedge collection while you still can! Many issues are now sold out or have limited stock 84 LISTINGS Exhibitions, fairs and

events taking place around the world in October and November 86 READ Knitting Fashion, Industry, Craft reviewed by Katy Bevan, Art and Textiles reviewed by Arianna E Funk 88 VIEW Redwork; Rachael Howard, War and Memory: Rozanne Hawksley, On Aura Tout Vu 95 COMING NEXT The North Issue: Textiles worth the trek

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MATERIAL GIRL

Glance at Ally Capellino’s website and you might conclude that this is a designer who has always loved leather. But while Ally definitely has an affinity for the material, she won’t be pigeonholed: “I think making things is my first love,” she states simply. In fact Ally Capellino was well known for tailoring in the 80s and 90s and had strong associations with Harris Tweed. This autumn she is returning to those roots by collaborating with The London Cloth Company. The micro-mill, the first in London, was founded by Daniel Harris in 2011 and specialises in simple structures, particularly woollens, produced on a range of restored shuttle looms dating from the 1870s. Ally worked with the mill to create a bespoke grey Donegal fabric with striping and an orange selvedge: this will be used to create runners for the Ally Capellino shop and window displays and a limited edition tote bag (see pg 81). The process of designing the fabric has been important. “I was excited to see the machinery that Daniel’s built and custom design a fabric. Being able to work with a small scale weaver who may be a disappearing breed was wonderful.” Ally continues: “Wool and leather share a lot of characteristics. They smell great and can be moulded and shaped. They have strong natural properties.” And the same could be said for Daniel and Ally, who share an enthusiasm for machinery, engineering, processes and fabrics. “I love working with other people and understanding how they operate. We gain when there are common design values and we can bring our audiences together.” It is fitting then that, to coincide with UK Wool Week, we would like to invite you to an event hosted by Ally Capellino at The London Cloth Company. ••• Join Ally Capellino on a guided tour of The London Cloth Company, 7th October, 6.30-8pm; Limited to 15, please RSVP to communications@selvedge.org to reserve your place, www.londoncloth.com, www.allycapellino.co.uk

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INDIA STREET As the Commonwealth baton passes from India to Scotland, the India Street exhibition brings together designers from both countries for a collaboration which explores the legacy of Scotland’s Turkey red dye industry. Designers have produced contemporary graphic and textile work in response to The Bombay Sample Book, now held in the National Museums Scotland archive which contains some of the many designs printed on to this signature red fabric. Until 11th September 2014, www.gayfield.co.uk,

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Fair Isle Reiko: tonal red, damson, purple and grey on linen

©National Museums Scotland 2013 with kind permission of Coats plc.

If it’s your heart’s desire to live in a silk clad, Margo Selby world then your dream just got one step closer to reality. Her first ever wool carpet and runner designs have been created by Alternative Flooring. Fair Isle and Shuttle are inspired by a collection of deflected double weave cloths that Margo developed on her hand loom in the studio. She explains: “making on a hand loom was an integral part of the design process for my first carpets. The designs were originally produced as soft silk and wool fabrics and have been blown up and re-coloured to make them suitable for flooring. The graphic colour combinations give a deep textural feel to the carpets and runners.” www.margoselby.com, www.alternativeflooring.com


The beautiful images of Horst P. Horst – one of the leading photographers of the 20th century – are reason enough to head to the V&A this autumn: but as an added bonus this retrospective will display couture garments by designers such as Chanel, Lanvin and Vionnet alongside 250 photographs and film footage. If getting to London will prove too difficult the accompanying book, with a foreword by Anna Wintour, is a decent consolation prize. Like the exhibition the book looks beyond Horst’s work for Vogue and other fashion titles and reveals his little known travel photography, his nude studies and still-life photography. Horst: Photographer of Style, 6 Sept 2014-4 Jan 2015, www.vam.ac.uk, ISBN: 9781851778010, £40

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C Keiber Pattern Darning Sampler, 1841 33 x 40cm,Courtesy of The Cooper Hewitt Museum 1981-28-322

© Condé Nast / Horst Estate

Hormazd Narielwalla » Le Petit Echo de la Mode No.5

We’ve been following the career of Hormazd Narielwalla since the publication of his first art book Dead Man's Patterns in 2008 and it was no surprise to hear he has been awarded the ‘Body Electric’ Saatchi Art Showdown prize. Showdown is an online competition that gives artists from all over the world a chance to showcase their work and have it judged by internationally acclaimed artists and curators. Artist Raffi Kalenderian chose Hormazd’s work from 4,200 entries and was impressed by his process of finding radical abstraction within antique tailoring patterns sourced from Parisian fashion magazines. He commented, “I loved the colours and composition of Hormazd Narielwalla's piece. The scale of the work also seemed perfect. When I read about his process of making collages, I thought: "This is an artist after my own heart.” www.saatchiart.com/narielwalla

NEEDLE’S EYE 08: Pattern Darning What is it? Darning is a traditional method of mending damaged woven textiles. Pattern darning is an evolved form with decorative patterning. Darning recreates the fabric pattern through interlaced stitches following the weave pattern of the original textile. Darning samplers are thought to have originated in the Netherlands towards the end of the 18th century. Samplers were used as a visual reference for the teaching of stitches and were often signed and dated by the stitcher. How do you work it? Pattern darning needs to be worked onto a fabric with a defined weave. This technique consists of long stitches running along the surface: these stitches can vary in length to form decorative diaper patterns to imitate different woven textures. Does darning have a modern use? Darning will always have a practical application in prolonging the lifespan of any damaged textile. Similarly there will always be decorative uses for pattern darning. Simple diaper patterns can easily be translated into couching patterns for goldwork and free darning is a useful tool when designing blackwork. Where can I see it? Many museums have darning in their collections. Those in the V&A musuem can be viewed online at www.collections.vam.ac.uk How can I learn? Join a day class in Pattern Darning at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court Palace on Saturday 1 November 2014. RSN tutor Jen Goodwin has created samplers with a modern twist. ••• Jen Goodwin, Royal School of NeedleworkTutor, www.royal-need lework.org.uk


Creative textile & surface design show

I INDIGO BRUSSELS I HOME EDITION I 9 - 11 September 2014

I INDIGO PARIS I FASHION EDITION I 16 - 18 September 2014 indigo-salon.com


TITLE Sub head

HUNG, DRAWN AND QUARTERED Perhaps someone on the London Design Week planning committee is missing Games of Thrones? Or maybe it’s just the urge to organise? Whatever the reason this year the capital has been carved into six distinct design ‘kingdoms’ with Islington and Queens Park joining the four pre-existing areas (hopefully we’ll gain a seventh next year). Visitors are encouraged to venture out on foot and lose themselves in the Shoreditch Design Triangle or pace across the Chelsea Design Quarter – each contains plenty to see and will be home to ‘concentrations’ of design activity – though sadly no jousting. Highlights include Design Junction at The Sorting Office where bright new designers such as Kangan Arora will be showing. We can also look forward to a fresh take on established events such as Decorex which will make a splash in a new Syon Park location. A special feature area Future Heritage, curated by Corinne Julius, will steer you towards the most collectable names in craft; in textiles she showcases the work of Jennie Moncur and Natasha Kerr. ••• London Design Festival, 13-21 September, www.londondesignfestival.com

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HOW TO Make the Purl Bee's Slip Stitch Dishtowels

GAUGE 23 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch FINISHED SIZE 11 1/4 x 17 1/4 inches PATTERN NOTES For the Indigo dishtowels COLOUR A: Cream COLOUR B: Caribbean Blue COLOUR C: Navy Slip all stitches purlwise. When changing colours, carry the new yarn up the selvedge in front of the old yarn. THREE-AND-ONE TWEED PATTERN With Colour A, cast on 75 stitches. Row 1 (wrong side): Purl. Row 2 (right side): With Colour C, k3, *slip 1 with yarn in back (wyib), k3, repeat from * to end of row. Row 3: With Colour C, slip 1 wyib, k2, *slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif), k3, repeat from * to end of row. Row 4: With Colour A, k1, *slip 1 wyib, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyib, k1. Row 5: With Colour A, slip 1 wyib, *slip 1 wyif, k3, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyif, k1. Repeat Rows 2 - 5 until piece measures 17 inches, ending with a Row 3. Cut Colour C. Next Row (right side): With Colour A, knit to last 2 stitches, k2 onto a double pointed needle. FINISHING With the right side facing you, work an I-cord on those last 2 stitches until the cord measures 3 inches from its base. Work the last row as a k1, slip 1 wyib, yo.

These dishtowels look really complicated to make, don't they? We love that because, just as you want hard things to look easy, it's a great coup to make easy things look difficult! These three stitch patterns come from Barbara Walker's classic Treasury of Knitting Patterns and use the simple technique of hiding yarns behind slipped stitches. There's no tricky stranding or two-hand knitting or even issues of tension; there's just the easy matter of slipping stitches and watching as amazing patterns emerge! ••• Purl Soho, 459 Broome Street, New York, NY 10013, USA, T: +1 212 420 8796, www.purlbee.com www.purlsoho.com, MATERIALS We used Louet's tough and absorbent Euroflax 100% linen. Purl Soho’s Yarn for Slip Stitch Dishtowels kit includes four skeins of Louet's Euroflax, enough to make these three dish towels plus one more. You will also need US #3 knitting needles, knitting-crochet-knittingneedles (straight or circular) and two US #3 double pointed needles.

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EDGING Now starting at the base of the 3-inch I-cord, work an attached I-cord down the left selvedge. Pick up 1 stitch for every 4 rows (which means picking up 1 stitch at either every Colour A or every Colour C stripe) until you reach the bottom corner. Pass the first stitch over the second, cut the yarn and pull it through the remaining stitch. Now, with Colour A, cast 2 stitches onto a double pointed needle. K1, slip 1 wyib, yo and with right side facing, pick up a stitch in the bottom right corner. Work an attached I-cord up the right selvedge to the top corner. Knit 1 row of a regular, unattached I-cord, then pass the first stitch over the second so that 1 stitch remains. Using the double pointed needle with 1 stitch on it, knit the first stitch that is on the circular needle and bind off. Continue to bind off all the stitches that remain on the circular needle. Cut the yarn and pass it through the remaining stitch. Weave in the ends and block your new dishtowel!

TRIPLE L TWEED With Colour C, cast on 76 stitches. Row 1 (wrong side): Purl. Row 2 (right side): With Colour B, k3, *slip 1 with wyib, k2, repeat from * to last stitch, k1. Row 3: With Colour B, slip 1 wyib, k2, *slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif), k2, repeat from * to last stitch, k1 Row 4: With Colour A, *k2, slip 1 wyib, repeat from * to last stitch, k1. Row 5: With Colour A, slip 1 wyib, *slip 1 wyif, k2, repeat from * to end of row. Row 6: With Colour C, k1, *slip 1 wyib, k2, repeat from * to end of row. Row 7: With Colour C, slip 1 wyib, k1, *slip 1 wyif, k2, repeat from * to last 2 stitches, slip 1 wyif, k1. Repeat Rows 2 - 7 until piece measures 17 inches, ending with a Row 5. Cut Colours A and B. Next Row (right side): With Colour C, knit to last 2 stitches, k2 onto a double pointed needle. FINISHING Using Colour C, follow the instructions for the Threeand-One Tweed. Pick up 1 stitch for every 4 rows (picking up 1 stitch at every other stripe of colour). Follow edging instructions.

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BASKET STITCH With Colour B, cast on 71 stitches. Row 1 (wrong side): Purl. Row 2 (right side): With Colour A, k3, *slip 1 with yarn in back (wyib), k3, repeat from * to end of row. Row 3: With Colour A, slip 1 wyib, k2, *slip 1 with yarn in front (wyif), k3, repeat from * to end of row. Rows 4 and 5: Repeat Rows 2 and 3. Row 6: With Colour B, knit Row 7: With Colour B, slip 1 wyib, purl. Repeat Rows 2 - 7 until piece measures 17 inches, ending with a Row 5. Cut Colour A. Next Row (right side): With Colour B, knit to last 2 stitches, k2 onto a double pointed needle. FINISHING Using Colour B, follow the finishing instructions as for the Three-and-One Tweed; except, for this stitch pattern, pick up 2 stitches for every 6 rows (which means picking up 2 stitches at the Colour A stripes and skipping the Colour B stripes). Follow edging instructions. •••


Alexandra Palace, London 8–12 October 2014 RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin 30 October–2 November 2014 Harrogate International Centre 20–23 November 2014

The definitive events for anyone with a love of stitch and creative crafts. Supplies, workshops and textile art. Tickets and information from www.theknittingandstitchingshow.com 0844 848 0132

Beadwork – Crochet - Cross Stitch - Dressmaking - Embroidery – Feltmaking - Home Furnishing Image: Renate Keeping Knitting - Lacemaking – Patchwork & Quilting - Tapestry - Weaving, Spinning, Dyeing UPPER STREET EVENTS

Image: Renate Keeping


FROM THE LAND COMES THE CLOTH Ian Lawson’s photographs

The colours of Harris Tweed come from the land. For hundreds of years, islanders have skillfully coloured handspun yarns using natural dyes derived from the plants and lichens found on their crofts or on the seashore. Today, synthetic dyes have largely replaced original plant dyes: but the landscape of the Outer Hebrides remains a source of endless inspiration for contemporary weavers. Colour reflects our moods and the seasons; it calms and excites the senses. Different textures add depth and definition. The light and shadow of the Outer Hebrides and its unique landscape of ancient stones, mountains, loch, machair (a fertile low-lying grassy plain), moorland, beach and ocean slowed me to a standstill. As I began to photograph the landscape, the people and the tweed, I started to see patterns emerge. A beat began and the rhythm of Harris Tweed flowed into my consciousness and into my pictures. Herringbone, hounds tooth, basket weave, bird’s eye, glen check, windowpane: evocative names for original Harris Tweed patterns. This is the only tweed in the world that uses fleece dyed before it is spun, and yarn composed of up to eight different blends of yarn. A piece of Harris Tweed is a work of art. Caught up in the warp and weft is a combination of inherited tradition, individual imagination, craftsmanship and skill. This artistry and ingenuity in the weaver’s work is a genuine appreciation of the land, told in wool. The closer I look, the more beautiful and complex the patterns become. 4

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What makes Harris Tweed so special? It is arguably the most famous fabric in the world. It is certainly the only cloth that is protected by an Act of Parliament. For centuries, the people of the Outer Hebrides have woven An Clo Mòr – the Big Cloth – known as Harris Tweed. While Scotland’s textile industry was transformed by technological advances during the industrial revolution, in the Outer Hebrides tweed continued to be made along traditional lines. In the mid-19th century, North Harris Estate was owned by the Earl of Dunmore. Lady Dunmore took a keen interest in the lives of her tenants, and the hard-wearing woollen cloth they produced on handlooms. Recognising the potential of the cloth, she introduced it to her London acquaintances and the fledgling Harris Tweed industry was born. As demand for the cloth increased, small looms were replaced by larger fly-shuttle looms and the industry prospered. But success led to imitations, prompting the formation of the Harris Tweed Association in 1909. The Orb trademark was devised to authenticate genuine tweeds and ensure the industry retained its reputation for quality. In 1910 it was granted to the islanders and continues to be held in trust by the Harris Tweed Authority on their behalf. ••• From the Land Comes the Cloth, Ian Lawson, ISBN-10: 0956872409, Classic Edition £125, Selvedge readers will receive The Art Postcard Collection, worth £27, as a gift and free postage and packing within the UK, to order email mail@ianlawson.com or visit www.fromtheland.co.uk

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POPULAR OPINION Nicola Donovan considers fashion’s crowd pleaser, Giles Deacon

Home grown in the Northern territories of Britain, designer Giles Deacon is now without any doubt whatsoever a senior member of fashion royalty. But in spite of his elevated status, he’s a man of the people and a million miles away from the high fashion propensity to appear aloof, arrogant and perhaps even disdainful. Indeed, it is clear from the plentiful online footage that shows him chirruping happily about his thoughts on allsorts, that Deacon is a genial fellow endowed with an open and democratic approach to the business of being a fashion giant. Moreover, Deacon’s approach to fashion as something that everyone can enjoy, was demonstrated by his collaboration with the high street chain ‘New Look’. A more recent and perhaps unexpected pairing occurred between Deacon and the now mainstream purveyors of bedroom-time essentials ‘Anne Summers’. Not one for sitting back for a breather, unless it’s on the hand-built ‘Lipgloss’ sofa he conceived for the British furniture chain DFS, Deacon is almost incontinent in his creative output: last year he even designed decorated packaging for style conscious consumers of Muller yoghurt. So, Deacon is a designer whose democratic attitude is filtered through market savviness: and importantly, he clearly understands contemporary consumers’ desires to acquire branded design. Although some might regard his infiltration of grocery and budget end fashion as a cynical exercise in retail annexation, he does nevertheless offer unusually wide-ranging access to his brand. Initially a failed trainee marine biologist, Deacon began to develop his label as he finished a formal education at British fashion design’s hothouse,

Central St. Martin’s. Deacon learned how important popular culture often is to marketing fashion design and took inspiration from ancient TV sitcoms and sex-shop tack. He also absorbs high cultural influences, such as classical sculpture and historic portraits, which have appeared on the catwalk as large scale, digital prints. Deacon has featured trompe d’oile prints of life size classical semi-nude figures, partially swathed in drapery, and with hand drawn heads. Like fellow establishment Brits Dame Vivienne Westwood and the late Alexander McQueen, Deacon displays a streak of willful eccentricity that sets his work apart from the classic conformity of French and American design. But unlike Westwood, whose idiosyncratic and complex approach to form, texture, scale and surface can result in her work being utterly bewildering to the inexperienced, or un-emboldened dresser, Deacon’s designs are pretty user-friendly. Certainly, they might sometimes be adorned by giant prints of marble backsides and massively scaled up cockroaches; but the shapes, or forms of his designs are generally easy to wear. Deacon claims there is a ‘dark’ aspect to his design apparent in printed and 3D embellishments of ‘creepy’ wildlife, such as bats and beetles. But, given the late Alexander McQueen’s expert handling of genuinely uncanny, tortured, phantasmagorical and dangerous darkness, Deacon’s ‘gothnicity’ is probably better understood as a cartoonish, Hammer Horror theatricality. Nevertheless, with his fusion of playful, sometimes naughty-ish imagery, and classic but contemporary silhouettes, Deacon demonstrates a modern approach to fashion, which he aptly defines as “sophistipop”.

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This combination of timelessness and market aware modernity appears again in Deacon’s big, cool knits for A/W 2014. Deacon commissioned Dalston based, urban knit outfit ‘Wool & the Gang’ to step in, log-sized needles at the ready, and deal with the chunky end of his knitwear collection. On the catwalks stompy models in big boots showed us that skinny biker jeans topped with huge cuddly jumper dresses create a relaxed vibe. True, the huge and front facing cartoon eyes on beanie hats might be a bit playful (or childish) for many grown-ups; but overall Deacon has his eye on reality. Less ‘of the people’ but nonetheless spectacular were Deacon’s improbable gigantiknits from a few seasons ago. Constructed using a 3D ‘dragon stitch’ designed by hip knitwear label Sibling’s Syd Bryan, Deacon’s ‘dragon knits’ brought an extra aspect of engineering to the craft of winding wool around needles and pulling it through loops. Wearing one of these beautiful, monster knits must be something of a challenge too; after all they’re not your everyday, shrug-on cardi. Deacon seems to like a challenge, as exemplified by his position as a champion of ‘real’ women as models; which despite being a predisposition not welcomed by the fashion establishment, he continues to stand by. Giles Deacon, formerly of luxe labels Bottega Veneto and Gucci is, for the most part, a very British, very commercial designer. He recognises that contemporary consumers want fashion designers to offer more reflection on the ‘real world’ than many are prepared to do – a sophistipopulist providing sophistipopulism for a sophistipopulace. •••

London Fashion Week, 12-16 September 2014, www.londonfashionweek.co.uk, giles-deacon.com


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This image appeared in Vogue UK in August 2000, photographer Tim Walker, model, Iekeliene Strange Knits Giles Deacon, stylist Kate Phelan.


FAIR SHARE Sarah Laurenson unravels the wide appeal of one of Scotland’s most distinctive knits

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Opposite: Child’s Jumper, C.1950s Below: Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor, John St Helier Lander, Illustrated London News, 1925

Fair Isle is renowned for its knitted textiles and for being a place of astonishing natural beauty. In the northern half of the island, jagged cliffs stretching to upwards of 200 metres, plummeting valleys and heather hills dominate the landscape. This wildness settles into a relatively flat, rolling southern half, which is dotted with the homes and crofts of the people who live there, on the UK’s most remote inhabited island. Thinking about Fair Isle as an island of two halves is a good way to think about the knitwear with which it is synonymous. The earliest written records of Fair Isle knitting, which date to the first half of the 19th century, tell us that it has always been a form of ‘native’ local dress and a product sold outside the island. The abstract motifs across bands of colour mean that the finished garment is both decorative and, as a result of the double layer of fabric created by the stranding technique through which the patterns are created, highly practical. The craft is bound with place, inseparable from this tiny island in the North Atlantic, but has evolved and been successful as a result of that island’s outside links. Even the origins of Fair Isle knitwear are double-sided. The most enduring story relates to the wrecking of a Spanish Armada ship, El Gran Griffon, in 1588, when locals are said to have been influenced by the coloured knitwear of stranded sailors. This tale demonstrates the power of marketing stories, and their ability to dominate and distort history. A more widely accepted theory is that Fair Isle knitting grew up around the various styles of stranded colourwork that developed in Scandinavia and the Baltic

regions. Fair Isle was an important stop on busy trade routes between these coastal communities, so it makes sense that shared influences led to the development of the island’s distinctive technique over an extended period. The origins of Fair Isle knitwear will probably always be a mystery. But the defining feature of its development – its versatility – could not be clearer. From its rise to fame in the second half of the 19th century, right through to the present, Fair Isle knitwear has shifted with the ebb and flow of wider fashions. In the 1920s, the fashionable and eminently handsome Prince Edward was photographed sporting Fair Isle knits on the golf course and was immortalised in a V-neck pullover in a portrait by John St Helier Lander in 1925. In the 1930s, a shop girl from Lerwick’s capital, Jeannie Jarmson, put shiny Rayon yarns to the test in a sweater which, as a result of its intricacy and innovative design, won her a prestigious prize from a national magazine. Strengthened links between Shetland and Norway during the Second World War saw a distinctly Scandinavian influence on patterns and garment shapes. And we’re all familiar with the images of the McCartneys and Twiggy in their Fair Isle yokes in the 60s. It is this re-invention that continues to define Fair Isle knitting today. The endless creativity afforded by infinite combinations of pattern and colour mean that the technique is personal, exciting and highly addictive. Fair Isle knitting is not a dead tradition, revived for the 21st century – it remains a living, breathing craft. In the south of Fair Isle, makers like Kathy 4

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Coull and Mati Ventrillon produce textiles alongside their other roles in the local community. Kathy Coull welcomes visitors to Fair Isle to her workshops, where she imparts her knowledge of local skills in knitting and weaving and infects folk with her love of fibres. Mati Ventrillon’s approach is informed by the history of the craft in the island. Mati says: ‘As a Fair Isle crofter, albeit in the 21st century, I continue, in my own way, hundreds of years of Fair Isle tradition.’ In 2012, Mati’s work was featured as ‘fashion flag’ in Oxford Street during the celebrations of the London Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee. A year earlier, in September 2011, the Fair Isle Crafts Co-operative was dissolved after 30 years' trading: in response Mati launched the Fair Isle Knitwear website and applied to the Crafted UK business mentoring programme in an attempt to fulfil her dreams of a ‘Made in Fair Isle’ labeI. In an age of massproduction which has seen the term ‘Fair Isle’ applied loosely to all types of coloured knitwear, Mati works with the goal of reasserting the island as the home of the craft in fashion circles. In the island of Whalsay, a half-hour ferry journey from the Shetland mainland, Andrea Williamson is inspired by the light, landscape and, of course, the fast-moving weather. She works mainly in local wool from native Shetland sheep. Her work celebrates those sheep in all their multi-hued glory, without which, she says, ‘Shetland’s knitting history would be very different.’ Andrea is fascinated by ‘the bit of alchemy that goes on’ in the making process, and that sense of the magic in making is reflected in the

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things she makes. Andrea’s passion for local wool and the skill and process of crafting a garment, and the influence of the landscape and light, is something that comes up over and over again when talking to knitters all over the isles. This is perhaps most apparent in the chatter among customers of Lerwick-based Jamieson & Smith, who produce hundreds of shades of yarn in delicious colour palettes spun from the wool of Shetland sheep from over 800 of the isles’ crofters. The shop, in a former kirk now lined with every colour of yarn under the sun, is something of a mecca for lovers of textiles all over the world, and is frequented by the hundreds of skilled knitters throughout Shetland who are utterly addicted to Fair Isle. After a few hours there, you get the feeling that some folk just have it in their blood. Self-diagnosed knitting addict Ella Gordon, who works for the company, puts these colours together in thoughtful garments and documents her journeys in wool on her blog. In blogging, Ella connects with the wider knitting community and shares inspirations, just as islanders on Fair Isle did with people on passing ships centuries ago. Her exploration of colour and technique speak more broadly of the enduring allure of a technique which has, throughout its long history, enabled Shetland’s knitters to express their creativity and harness their experiences of the landscape and life in the islands, in the everyday garments they made, sold and wore. ••• Shetland Textiles: 800 BC to the Present, Sarah Laurenson (ed.), Shetland Heritage Publications, ISBN: 9780957203129, £35

Bridgeman Art Library

The Fair-Isle Jumper, Stanley Cursiter, 1923


Julie Arkell ‘away’ 27 September – 30 November 2014 Gallery 3, Ruthin Craft Centre

Walk and Talk with Julie Arkell Saturday 27 September, 2.00pm. Gallery 3 FREE please book in advance, places are limited. Call 01824 704774. For a full list of Julie Arkell workshops and events visit our website www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk

A special book is being published to coincide with the exhibition, call 01824 704774 to reserve your copy.

Ruthin Craft Centre Galleries / Shop / Makers Studios / Restaurant 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 10.00am – 5.30pm. Visit our website for exhibition information www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk photography: Dewi Tannatt Lloyd

Also showing in Gallery 1 & 2: Is it Wood? 27 September – 30 November 2014


THE SCOTS BLUE BONNET “Each cavalier who loves honour and me. Let him follow the bonnets of Bonnie Dundee”

The Scots blue bonnet is famous in story and song, especially as worn by the romantic Highlander. Round knitted bonnets were once the universal head covering of men in Northern Europe. When, in the later Middle Ages, brimmed felt hats became generally adopted, the wearing of woollen bonnets was pushed out to the northern fringes. It lingered on until the present day, when it became the sign by which a Scotsman was everywhere identified. Bonnets traditionally made in Dundee were not the neat little caps nowadays worn by the kilted fraternity. They were, in their heyday, serious affairs, built to keep out the extremes of weather. They were heavy and dense, weighing as much as 18 ounces and made of rough, coarse wool. Their circumference was much larger than the head so that they sat low on the crown and hung down over the ears, neck and forehead. The wide, wheel-like crown was gathered into a narrow headband which fitted closely round the brow. Sometimes an extra depth of band allowed a pattern of checks or stripes to be knitted in and sometimes there was a finishing touch of a ‘toorie’, a bobble made of wool ends; bright red, or more often – for the elderly and dignified – flatter and black to match the bonnet. The blue bonnet was frowned upon by town society, perhaps because it was generally worn by the men who came down from the glens to trade or by the wild troops who followed one marauding leader after another in raids upon the town. The black bonnet was “douce” and respectable but it did not aspire to elegance. It is not surprising that, as they gained some prosperity, those who cared to cut a dash adopted a hat. A hat could be worn with an air, while the bonnet was

practical, serviceable and sensible. Just the same, a bonnet was a garment a man could grow fond of. After a little wearing it grew to fit the head, comfortable and moulded into shape. It was cheap enough for the poor, who owned little else. It was hard wearing and suited to the roughest weather but it was worn indoors as well as out. A man put on his bonnet as he put on his trousers and he kept it on all day. It was a receptacle as well as a protection. Bothy men, after each meal, would suck their horn spoons clean and tuck them in their bonnets where they lay unnoticed until wanted again, each man sure of his own. The historic ‘bonnet of Bonnie Dundee’ was the regular headgear of working men, until cheaper machine production caused its replacement by the factory-made cloth cap. Even then the old name was retained and, in country parts at least, a man’s cap is still known as a ‘bunnet’. Dundee was the first of the Scottish towns to have an Incorporated Trade of Bonnetmakers. Its ‘Seal of Cause’ is dated 1496, ten years before Edinburgh’s, 25 years before Aberdeen’s and at least a century before Stewarton’s. This suggests that, before the end of the 15th century, there were enough people crafting bonnets to require some regulation and need some quality control if the products of the trade were to be saleable. The manufacture of a bonnet was not difficult but it was laborious. It involved a large number of successive processes almost all of which were carried out within the same household. Bonnet makers were independent and purchased and prepared their raw materials. The broad flat heavy bonnet made in Dundee was manufactured of

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coarse wool bought as fleece. The coarseness and cheapness of the raw material was one reason why bonnetmakers were thought of as a lowly trade, from which no one seems to have emerged to riches or high social position. They were producing a cheap headgear for working people and they could enter the trade with small outlay of capital, on poor quality fleece and with only the simplest of tools. The wool was carded and spun in the cottages and dyed in their yards. The most common blue was at first woad, which grew wild in parts of Scotland but was often imported from Bordeaux and Dieppe. John Smollett was importing woad into Scotland at the beginning of the 16th century at £7 Scots a ton. David Wedderburn’s account book records frequent imports of dye stuffs with woads of different varieties, one marked with a double crescent, one with a rose, another one with a heart. Another blue dye could be obtained from scabious, a wayside flower readily available to those unwilling to spend money on imported dye stuffs. But woad and scabious both gave fugitive and unsatisfactory blues compared with indigo which became available with the opening up of the West Indies. Indigo did not reach Scotland until the end of the 16th century, so bonnetmakers in Dundee had been operating without it for at least a century. Both woad and indigo were imported in the form of hard balls of paste which had to be ground down into powder, then steeped in urine before the yarn was boiled in it. Woad gave a lightish blue, indigo a darker hue. To achieve black took several stages of dyeing over a period of days, with the addition of oak galls to build up black from blue. Carrying out these processes as a domestic 4


National Galleries of Scotland

An incident during the visit of George the IV to Edinburgh, Sir David Wilkie, 1822, pencil and watercolour on paper, 137 x 189cm

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trade was difficult and uncomfortable: the boiling vats, the barrels of urine, the skeins of wet wool hanging to dry, all within the small cottages. The cottages were ‘humble and miserable enough, consisting of one low storey, with an earthen or claytrodden floor, and a straw thatch or divot roof. The occupants sat on stone or sod seats at the ends of their cottages, knitting their wares.’ Bonnetmakers wore a thick leather belt around their waists with a slit or pocket at the front into which was fixed horizontally a single heavy wooden needle called a ‘bonnet brod’. The belt was needed to support the considerable weight of the wool and needles. Two other needles were used to knit the stitches on to the fixed needle. This would have the same effect as knitting on a modern circular needle, a device which could not be invented without modern steel. Needle wires for knitting fine woollen bonnets like those of present day machine-made bonnets were unknown in Dundee: they were introduced by Robert Mackie of Stewarton in the West of Scotland in the early 19th century. After the wool had been spun, dyed and knitted up into bonnets it was ‘dighted’, that is, wetted and beaten into shape, probably upon wooden forms. The next step in the process was to carry a supply of bonnets out to the water powered ‘waulk’ mill. The bonnet knitter paid a fee to the waulk miller of 2 shillings per dozen bonnets. From the mill he received back a product which had been washed and beaten by water-powered machinery until it had acquired a dense, almost felted, weatherproof texture. Back in the cottages the bonnets were brushed with teasels to raise a

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pile, which improved the appearance, comfort and weather proofing. Finally they were sheared, so the pile was dense and close, and carried to market. A servant or apprentice, usually a family member, was expected to make from 16 to 22 bonnets each week. Elspeth Hog’s task in 1683 was the working and spinning of 16 great bonnets or two dozen smaller or “meikle” ones. Margaret Gibb agreed to make 32 little bonnets for her mother-in-law weekly as well as 32 for her brother. An apprentice was given meal and clothes and a half yearly sum, usually of four pounds Scots. A Scots pound was roughly equivalent to an English shilling. Bonnet making by hand did not survive the industrial revolution. In the West the introduction of machine tools made possible the capture of the profitable market for military headgear for the Highland regiments. Bonnets for soldiers had been an important part of Dundee’s trade before Culloden. When local lairds and Highland chieftains raised their own armies they supplied their men each with a plaid and a bonnet and they ordered their bonnets from Dundee. After the Jacobites were suppressed and regular uniformed regiments were raised, the trade in handmade bonnets was dead. In Dundee the volcanic growth of the flax and jute industries drew home workers into the factories and bonnet making was abandoned . Bonnets were still worn for a few generations more. They were too well made to wear out and their comfort and usefulness won the affection of their wearers. Not one of them, more’s the pity, has survived from which modern knitters might make a copy. ••• Enid Gauldie

National Museums Scotland

Laird of Grant's piper, William Cumming by Richard Wiatt, oil on canvas, 213 x 154 cm


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SPLENDID ISOLATION Postcards from the Scottish Islands

Where is the Calf of Flotta? Can you pinpoint Linga near Muckle Roe on a map? No? Well, don’t feel too bad – Scotland has over 790 offshore islands so you may be forgiven for not knowing that the latter is part of the Shetland Islands. Still, some command of the geography is expected and getting your Outer and Inner Hebrides confused with the Orkney Islands is a risky mistake. Knit designer Alice Starmore put us on the right track: “To give you an idea, the Isle of Lewis is the same distance from Shetland as Newcastle is from London. We have less in common with Shetlanders than Londoners have with Geordies.” To mix up The Hebrides with the Shetlands would, she warns, “invite the wrath of the Scottish Gaelic speaking world.” We visited Shetland but clearly no one knows these varied islands better than those who live and work on them – which is why we asked some of them to send Selvedge readers a personal invitation to visit... 4


Sarah Burwash

–It’s true, I can’t promise you the weather – you’re not going to confuse Shetland with the Seychelles – but even if it’s a bit Wuthering Heights it’s worth it when the mists clear. Besides, ignore the clouds and come for the characters: the textile community here is wonderful and welcoming. Where else will you find a New York criminal lawyer turned knitwear designer, Niela Nell Kalra, www.nielanell.com; an “accidental shepherd” producing organic yarn, www.shetlandorganics.com; artists knitting covers for cold war bunkers, Roxane Permar & Nayan Kulkarni, www.roxanepermar.com; Joanna Hunter – a business women who commutes from Lerwick to London and finds time to knit her own wedding dress, www.ninianonline.co.uk; oh, and Hazel Tindall, the world's fastest knitter? Shetland Wool Week brings them all together and is the perfect time to visit. This celebration of Britain’s most northerly native sheep also champions the island’s textile industries such as Laurence Odie Knitwear in the tiny village of Hoswick. Tours of the factory are encouraged and Laurence himself might be around for a chat – just don’t make my faux pas and ask him how big his flock is. “You never ask a man how any sheep he has,” was the stern reply – he then fell about laughing as I stammered an apology. I cheered myself up in the factory shop and left laden with lambswool sweaters. Jamieson and Smith (Shetland Wool Brokers) Ltd have a shop in Lerwick but travel to the mill in Sandness. The setting by a long golden beach is spectacular, and, in its own way, so is the mill. Shetland doesn’t just attract craftspeople; it creates them. The island is home to Scotland’s newest university, the University of the Highlands and Islands, www.shetland.uhi.ac.uk, which offers a contemporary textile course that draws on the area’s design heritage. If wool is where your interest lies, I can’t think of a more inspiring place to study. Shetland Wool Week 2014, 4-12 October 2014, www.shetlandwoolweek.com


Hello all, It’s great to hear that you're going to be visiting Skye soon. I can't wait to show you my studio and the new designs I've been working on – the landscape and wildlife around here are so inspiring. I've got a good selection of vintage fabrics that I've been working with and have been keeping busy stocking my display area for all the visitors coming to the studio at this time of year. It'll be nice to take a break for a couple of days and show you around! There are lots of interesting textile studios and galleries, I thought we could take a tour and visit a few. We must drop in on the Skye Weavers at Glendale, www.skyeweavers.co.uk, where they weave beautiful tweeds on their pedal powered loom! After that we could take a look at the Skye Quilt Studio,skyequiltstudio.co.uk, before walking to the lighthouse at Neist point. Then there's the Shilasdair yarn shop in Waternish where they sell the most beautiful naturally dyed yarns that I know you will love, www.theskyeshilasdairshop.co.uk. Just down the road from there we can stop off at SkyeSkyns and have a workshop tour in their exhibition tannery, www.skyeskyns.co.uk. The following day I thought we could head over towards Staffin. We can take in the views of The Old Man Of Storr before heading over to the Ellishadder Art Cafe, www.ellishadderartcafe.co.uk, for a delicious lunch and browse the beautiful handwoven textiles that are made on site and the gorgeous Tillitocki childrens clothes they stock. If you want to go into Portree, I'll take you to see Caroline Dear, www.carolinedear.co.uk, she works with moss, rush and heather and materials such as peat to create sculptures. And we’ll stop at the Skye Batiks shop, www.skyebatiks.com, as well as items made from their batik fabric they sell colourful cotton tailored coats and jackets. On the way back down the island you could pop into the Handspinner in Broadford, www.handspinnerhavingfun.com, if you still need some yarn for your knitting project. I can't wait ‘til you get here! Sam Sam Peare Textiles, Loch View, Edinbane, Isle of Skye IV51 9PW, samanthapeare.co.uk

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It would be lovely to see you on the Isle of Eigg – I know you’ll find it as inspiring as I do. When I blend colours or knit my cobweb lace it’s as if the scenery, the weather and the wildlife are actually spun into my scarves, shawls and gloves. If you can only come for a day, choose Monday when the Shearwater from Arisaig and the Calmac boat from Mallaig get to Eigg at about mid-day and leave about 4pm, giving you four hours ashore to explore. There's a weekly craft market in the Community Hall close to the pier where you can get an excellent lunch cooked by Eiggy Bread and see some of the crafts such as Floras who makes beautiful felt and runs workshops too, www.facebook.com/FlorasCrafts. The 'small but

perfectly formed' Craigard Art Gallery is close by, and has work by local artists. It’s on the way to the Massacre and Cathedral Caves, so we can include it in a walk. If you can spend longer, there are wonderful walks and bird watching opportunities, including guided tours with our SWT bird warden. Pick up a map pack in the Craft Shop... We have yoga retreats on the island now and if you’re bringing the family Eigg Adventures offers archery. The Isle of Eigg will be a wonderful place to recharge your batteries! Jenny Robertson A'Nead Hand Knitwear, Isle of Eigg, PH42 4RL, T: +44 (0)1687 460153, www.anead-knitwear.co.uk

Now I know the city has its charms but sitting here on Orkney, looking out at the hills of Hoy and a patchwork of lush green fields waiting to be harvested, I wouldn’t swap places. I can even see the sea and from my warm studio, it looks as blue and clear as the mediterranean. When are you coming to see for yourself? I have so much to show you. My shop The Long Ship is just the start. It lies in the shadow of the famous St Magnus Cathedral and I’ve filled it with handcrafted pieces from the British Isles – my own included. Alongside the Tait and Style collection I’ve put Hume Sweet Hume. Two sisters in Westray, a little island 40 miles away, make furnishings and garments – their ponchos are flavour of the month, www.humesweethume.com. Hilary Grant’s work is popular too, www.hilarygrant.co.uk. Did you hear Orkney designer Kirsteen Stewart, www.kirsteenstewart.co.uk, won the Scottish EDGE Competition and has been

awarded £50,000 to grow her business? I like the things I sell to have a story and I love the reaction when I tell customers that Teresa Probart’s soft blankets are made from the wool of a tiny flock of seaweed eating sheep. Teresa keeps her sheep on the island of Auskerry but they originate on North Ronaldsay, the most northerly of Orkney’s islands. They’ve been there since Neolithic times and apparently their meat is a delicacy – you don’t get that in London! Ingrid Tait The Longship, 7-15 Broad Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, T: + (0)1856 888 792, www.taitandstyle.co.uk


Apologies for being brief but we’re so busy! I’m not sure if I told you but last year the company returned to making tartan fabrics – we’ve registered 12 new colour variations of the Stuart of Bute, each named after a farm on the Isle of Bute, and are registering several more bespoke tartans for clients. The looms hardly stop... it’s been hectic! Anyway do come up to the west coast and see us on the Isle of Bute, for a place only 15 mile long we pack in quite a lot – glorious gardens and grand architecture. Fiona Hardie Bute Fabrics, 4 Barone Rd, Rothesay, Isle of Bute, PA20 0DP, T: +44 (0)1700 503734, www.butefabrics.com

I hear you’ve made the travel arrangements for your Hebridean adventure! Hooray! You’ll love Lewis – our uninterrupted horizons will broaden yours! You’ll meet weavers (working in their loom sheds as they have for generations) and I know you’ll appreciate how they blend the wool in the tweeds to reflect the land. We’ll visit local designers who use Harris Tweed – at Rarebird’s studio in Carloway they design lovely contemporary accessories, www.rarebirdhandbags.com. In Ness (the most northern settlement on the island), you’ll find textile designer; Alison Macleod in the Tiger Textiles Studio, tigertextiles.moonfruit.com, and Breanish Tweed; a family business specialising in traditional weaving, www.breanishtweed.co.uk. Buy a length of their beautiful tweed and I’ll run you up a bespoke kilt. My company ‘Diggory Brown’ is going well, I’m sticking to traditional hand tailoring techniques – so I can make you a ‘souvenir’ that holds the essence of the island. Netty Sopata Diggory Brown, aigh An T`aillier, Ness, Isle of Lewis, T: +44 (0)1851 810254 www.diggorybrown.com SELVEDGE 40


Greetings, I snatch a moment amidst the hum of bees and screech of panicked Starlings in the barn eves to ponder my existence as a textile maker, living on a 40 acre croft on a small, Scottish Island Lismore. It is long and thin and resembles a skinned pig or, more romantically, a lithe hound bounding up the lynn of Lorne. Lios Mhor (big garden in Gaelic) has a fertile soil which in spring and summer bursts with rare wildflower, billowy grasses and masses of things that buzz and flutter. In winter it just bulges with mud. The island is peppered with burial cairns and forts, has two castles, a seminary, the remains of a 5th century cathedral, a Pictish Broch and an award-winning museum, www.lismoregaelicheritagecentre.org. It also has a cafe with the best fruit scones in the west and a shop which sells everything from knicker elastic to shitake mushrooms. There is no pub on the island but every house becomes a pub of sorts when you get to know folk and you do, very quickly, because there are only one hundred and eighty of us. We’re a varied lot, amongst us journalists, civil servants, teachers, writers and therapists. There are a fair number of makers turning a living from creative pursuits: Gilly B distinctively depicts island life in pen and paint, www.gilly-b.com, Simon and Nicki Lewis of Seahorse employ an army of island “elves” to keep up with Christmas demand for their gifts, www.notonthehighstreet.com, and Catherine Bloy of Calgary Crafts creates stitched alternatives to hunting trophies, www.facebook.com/CalgaryCrafts. We mingle regularly, whether by chance on ferries, at gigs or one of Lismore Lumiere’s film nights in the community hall. Most farmers on the Isle of Lismore prize white sheep. Their stock is hefty, with thick, course wool. Ours, much to the bemusement and amusement of our neighbours, are small, unkempt and rugged, coated in a smorgasbord of hues from off white through various subtleties of fudge, grey, brown to black. They are Shetland sheep, prized for their hardy nature and multi hued, super fine wool. While other farmers assess their mighty produce for meat, I visualise mine contributing to a magnificent, multi-coloured knit. While most farmers estimate profit through sales at Oban Mart I am totting up margins in a craft pack or a crocheted corsage. So every newborn is prized not so much for the bulge of its rump but the splendour of its coat with my particular favourites being the twin lambs of Lollita boasting marl and mottled back and sides, black bellies and the face of fluffy skulls otherwise known in Shetland Sheep world as “Yugglet, Marlits”. As you may notice, I name my sheep. This alone puts me firmly into the amateur farming bracket. However, names are useful when discussing sheep away from the field. I can ask Yorick to check on Myrtle or feed Rhonda rather than “Look out for the fudge coloured one with impossibly thin legs and feed the scraggy brown one that looks really like the other scraggy brown one but with triplets”. Every afternoon when inspiration ebbs and I crave a change of scene I head out for a dose of ovine therapy and can be spotted rubbing noses with Stella, Bella, Hellen and Dolores as they crowd round for tickles behind the ears. So if your Mogwaii lampshades or cushions hold a light odour of lanolin or a stray strand of crimped wool you know why. I sheepishly admit that I’m smitten. With love from the croft x Sarah Campbell, T: +44 (0)1631 760 117, www.mogwaiidesign.com


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LOOPING THE LOOP Ten years on Freddie Robins looks at the revolution in knitting

“A horrific sight greets me. The shelves are half empty, yarn is strewn all over the place and the genteel dignity of the haberdashery department has been destroyed.” That description of a visit to the knitting department of John Lewis, the department store in London, was written almost ten years ago in an article for Selvedge on the renewed popularity of knitting. Just months later an even more horrific sight greeted me; the knitting department had disappeared from the ground floor to be replaced by a new menswear department. There is so much that grieved me about this, not least the fact that I have always seen knitting as “the domain of women” – a phrase Jo Turney uses in her book The Culture of Knitting. And to lose my domain to men when they dominate so much else was more than irritating. Still, not all is lost. Today the independent wool shops I mourned the loss of ten years ago are back. I don’t need the diminished knitting department in John Lewis when I can now visit Prick your Finger or Loop in London or, further afield, Purl Soho in New York. Whilst selling yarn these places are so much more than simply shops. They are havens of creativity, acting as libraries, places to hang out and knit in, hosting knitting clubs, classes and exhibitions. They are institutions that exist beyond the walls that contain them with pop-up shops, a presence at festivals, organising or hosting craftivist activities and a strong online presence with blogs, Pinterest pages, twitter and Facebook accounts. The knitting magazines are back too; they appear to be able to compete with the ever increasing number of websites dedicated to knitting. In my local shop I counted three titles entirely dedicated to knitting with several others dedicated to general craft 4.

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Previous page: Purl Soho, 459 Broome St, New York Below: Loop, 15 Camden Passage, Islington, London

Simply Knitting is still the UK’s leading publication, with a circulation of 65,000. Ravelry, the online forum for knitters, crocheters, designers, spinners, weavers and dyers gained its 4 millionth member in February: 0.49% of people in the UK are members. In 2013 a worldwide survey of 3,500 knitters found that 81.5% of respondents felt happier after knitting. This is something that I definitely agree with – even thinking about knitting makes me feel happier. But what about knitting being “the domain of women” – is there any significant shift here? I would welcome knitting becoming a less gendered activity. According to a recent article in The Telegraph there is change; Gerrard Allt opened his South London yarn shop, I knit London, eight years ago. At that time men made up only five percent of his customers; last year this had climbed to 20 percent. Yorkshire-based yarn company Rowan has reported a similar trend, with the number of men registered on their website now accounting for 12 percent of members: while the Oxford Street, London branch of John Lewis last year offered men-only knitting classes in response to increased interest. But this increase is not a trend we see repeated in academia. The number of male students studying knitted textiles and knitwear remains consistently and disappointingly low. Last year just one man graduated with an MA in Knitwear from the Royal College of Art and this year one will graduate from Knitted Textiles and one from Knitwear. These are the same sort of numbers of male knitters we had when I studied there 25 years ago. There hasn’t been a revolution, in terms of a dramatic and wide-reaching change, but more a sense of things revolving. Perhaps a gentle evolution

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Below: Loop, 15 Camden Passage, Islington, London

is closer to the truth. This doesn’t sound terribly exciting or headline grabbing but that’s knitting for you, quietly subversive. What has definitely evolved is the language of knitting. Craftivism, yarnbombing, yarn storming, guerilla knitting, kniffiti, graffti knitting and stitch ‘n bitch are a few terms added to the knitter’s vocabulary. Social media has a lot to do with the popularity, accessibility and visibility of knitting. Internationally numerous exhibitions have been dedicated to the theme and process of knitting, most notably Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York and the UK Crafts Council’s Knit 2 Together: Concepts in Knitting. The latter attracted the largest audience that the Crafts Council has had for an exhibition of contemporary craft: 16,000 visitors in an 11-week period. I lose track of how many of these exhibitions I have been in and how many I have seen. And this is where things get cloudy for me. I feel knitting is more visible and accessible as a fine art medium too but maybe that is just because it has become my world, a world that I am now completely subsumed in. My network of artists working with knitting now stretches across the world from Liz Collins in New York to Kate Just in Melbourne. But one thing I do know is that knitting is not a fine art medium that is accepted by all. In some circles it is embraced, in others rejected and branded “Craft”, where craft is seen as a dirty word, a lesser creative discipline that requires skill and cannot therefore also convey meaning or concept. The increased visibility of knitting has also come literally “off the back of” a female detective, Sarah Lund, from the Danish TV drama Forbrydelsen. Better known as The Killing, this hit UK screens 4

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Left: Gudrun and Gudrun

in 2011. Lund wears a traditional Faroese jumper, designed and produced by the knitwear company Gudrun and Gudrun. Lund’s jumper has people so enthralled that it even has its own website www.sarahlundsweater.com with the strap line, “How to get your hands on ‘that jumper’”. Ironically the site currently bears the statement “Sarah Lund jumpers currently out of stock.” This desire to wear traditional knitting is also being seen in Shetland, not so far from Denmark or the Faroe Islands. When I was in Shetland last summer I noticed a large number of people wearing traditional Shetland knitwear with a big resurgence of the Fair Isle yoke sweaters and cardigans amongst young women. This was reiterated by a paper presented at In the Loop 3.5 conference by the experienced Shetland knitter Elizabeth Johnston, who spoke about her granddaughter’s desire for a traditional Fair Isle yoke in blue. As Elizabeth kept saying, “I don’t knit yokes but I do like blue.” She eventually bent under the pressure and did knit her granddaughter the desired yoke. In the Loop is a series of knitting conferences initiated and led by Linda Newington from the University of Southampton Knitting Reference Library. Their aim is “to encourage and support all types of research and making from academics to designers, artists to knitters, students and experts, including all generations in contributing to worldwide knitting.” These conferences have enabled a cross pollination of knowledge and information and resulted in an issue of the peer-reviewed academic journal, Textile, being dedicated to knitting. Knitting exists in an ever broadening range of contexts. At one extreme it has joined the cupcake

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culture lifestyle, where yarn and knitting accessories are bought not to use but to adorn the home; beautiful balls of yarn artfully placed in a bowl as a form of interior decoration: to the opposite extreme where technologies are knitted into fabrics for military or medical purposes. Recent innovations include the Scan-to-Knit system, which uses body scanning to manufacture bespoke engineered, seamless compression sleeves for the treatment of lymphoedema: or the integration of micro-electronic devices into the core of yarns to produce flexible, machine-washable smart interactive textiles. Developments in knitting technologies have helped Nike produce the Flyknit Running Shoe. Which uses state-of-the-art integral knitting techniques to create a one piece upper which is virtually seamless. In March, ahead of the World Cup 2014, both Nike and Adidas launched their knitted football boots, all in one sock boots. Players’ feedback on the Nike Magista boots has been that the boots mould to your feet, feeling like a “second skin”. When reporting the story one newspaper headline read, “The worlds of knitting and football rarely collide.” They are obviously forgetting about the traditional knitted football scarf and ignorant of the fact that all performance football wear is produced through the use of some form of knitting technology. So why don’t these innovations change our perceptions of knitting? I believe it’s because the items produced don’t look knitted. Knitting is so familiar yet completely unrecognizable when it doesn’t fit the stereotypical mental picture. We can only see it one way. Knitting occupies many different worlds, be it as cutting edge technology, fashion or as a stress relieving, much loved pastime, and 4

Gareth Hacker

Below: Donna Wilson

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Below; cushions by Abigail Ahern

these worlds do not overlap or influence each other enough. The world of industrial knitting and the world of domestic knitting even use different words to talk about the same things; courses and wales in industry are rows and stitches in a written knitting patterns. The industrial, technological world is a predominantly male one, and those men who work in it didn’t do so because they enjoyed hand knitting: the design and fashion world is predominately female, women who for the most part came to the profession because they learnt to knit by hand first. The one thing that has not changed at all is the use of knitting as a symbol of the old-fashioned. This stereotype is as pervasive as ever. The breakfast cereal Shreddies are now “Knitted by Nanas”, a concept so successful it has been running for seven years. In their latest TV advertisement, Shreddies ...AND YOU'RE READY! the sweet bespectacled elderly knitters are seen dusting their needles. The final message is delivered whilst a “nana” knits a Shreddie. Even the queen of ambivalence, singer and songwriter Tracey Thorn, isn’t ambivalent when it comes to knitting. In her recent autobiography, Bedsit Disco Queen: How I Grew Up and Tried to Be a Pop Star, she uses a negative knitting analogy to express where another musician thought she was during her years away from the music industry: "He seemed to be under the impression that I have lived in an isolated croft in the Orkneys knitting my own muesli.” The former Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, was widely ridiculed for knitting in a photo shoot for Australian Women’s Weekly. And here my article ends, the same way as my first one ten years ago did. It appears the stereotype that knitting and knitters hold is not only deeply

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Below: Freddie Robins

Sophie Mutevelian / Crafts Council

rooted in our culture but is also very popular. The Knitting Nanas Facebook page has over 800,000 likes – and what’s not to like about a friendly elderly woman? I just wish she wasn’t always associated with knitting. I am sure that the elderly female population who don’t knit are sick of this cliché too. So can the general perception of knitting ever be changed? Fifteen years ago I would have answered yes, its image would change when women didn’t knit at home any more, when grandmothers no longer knitted garments for the arrival of a grandchild, when people didn’t know how to knit, when the skill was not passed on in a domestic environment, when it was completely professionalized and you had to go to college to learn it. But this was before the unexpected resurgence of interest in knitting arrived, when I thought that the days of domestic knitting for the masses were over. This leaves me in a precarious position when it comes to making a final statement about the future. What would I rather have? A stereotype-free image of knitting or a nation full of domestic knitters who continue to knit throughout their lives, passing their skill and enthusiasm down the generations? As with everything in my life I want it both ways and will continue to strive for it; but if I had to make a single choice it would have to be for the continuing growth of domestic knitting with all the creativity, joy and well being that it brings. We are knitters, we are many, we are powerful, we are skilful and we will continue to challenge and contradict the stereotypes. Well, I will anyway. ••• Freddie Robins is an artist working with knitted textiles. She has recently taken on the role of Senior Tutor for Knitted Textiles at the Royal College of Art, London. www.freddierobins.com,

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SOCIAL NETWORK

Roberto Boccacino courtesy of Enel Contemporanea

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam plays with our perceptions of art

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Harmonic Motion Enel Contemporanea 2013, Braided nylon 6-6; hand crochet, Charles MacAdam with Interplay Design & Manufacturing, Inc, Nova Scotia, Canada design & production Norihide Imagawa & T.I.S. & Partners., Co. Ltd, Tokyo structural design, MACRO, Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome

Roberto Boccacino courtesy of Enel Contemporanea

Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam explains that the crucial turning point in her textile practice came the day two children innocently clambered onto her art. Despite being sited within the unspoken no-touch rules of the gallery, Toshiko saw that “suddenly the piece came to life. My eyes were opened. I realised I wanted just such a connection between my work and people alive at this moment in time – not a hundred years from now. I realised I was in fact making works for children.” If Japanese textile art brings to mind subtle investigations of monochrome materials, you would not be wrong. But Toshiko is not that kind of artist, at least not today. Her textile art first emerged in the late 1960s and enjoyed acknowledgement in publications such as The Art Fabric: Mainstream, which described her Air Contained in a Floating Cube (1977) as a “haloed radiance” of linen and Mylar knitted panels and floodlights. Her past work suggested a defiance of gravity, but her work for children now actively encourages it. After studying fine art and weaving at the Tama Art University in Tokyo, Toshiko’s postgraduate studies at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan provided the freedom to determine her own direction. A persistent interest in space, tension and the ability of the textile to act as both structure and surface emerged. Her 1976 sculpture Moving Columns made in Thread in the ancient technique of sprang, an early elastic textile structure, epitomises these interests. Today Toshiko’s creations share some visual similarities

with the work of Brazilian artist Ernesto Neto or Canadian Janet Echelman’s installations. But closer inspection reveals the integration of form and function in Toshiko’s work that focuses on an entirely different audience by inviting the energy of children into her work. Based since 1988 with her family in Nova Scotia, Canada, her current practice has evolved through an unrelenting process of trial and error. As early as 1971 a hand-crocheted prototype of AirPocket, one of two systems she continues to develop today, was donated to a playground in Japan. It tolerated less than six months of play. After a number of projects self-financed by freelance design work, her first commission arrived in 1979. By 1981 Knitted Wonder Space I for the Hakone Open Air Museum in Japan was completed and lasted an impressive 28 years before Knitted Wonder Space II was installed as a replacement. Made from nylon, the work measures 15 metres by 9 and weighs approximately one tonne, produced entirely by hand. It goes without saying that the production of a tonne of crochet is no small undertaking. Suspension demands even further input. Since 1990 the Tokyo-based structural engineering firm T.I.S. & Partners advise on the engineering of complex projects, which are handled on a site-by-site basis. Charles MacAdam, who oversees the installation of his wife’s projects, concedes that “a lot of learning” went into their early works, particularly to create a consistent tension necessary to allow the bouncing, climbing and nesting each work is built to 4

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Roberto Boccacino courtesy of Enel Contemporanea

encourage. While some sites are ready to use from the outset, others, including a recent project at MACRO in Rome, require the creation of purpose-built points strong enough to hang the work. Even the cheerful rainbow colour scheme belies a painstaking dye process. For a few years, a textile manufacturer marketed a solution-dyed nylon that worked for their needs; but when production was discontinued dyeing of the nylon was – after several false starts – brought in house. Today the nylon filament is knitted into a tube, dyed, unravelled, wound onto a bobbin and fed through a braiding machine – all just to create the yarn which is the basis of each structure. Even these early production steps involve unexpected feats of coordination. Like so many regions, Nova Scotia has witnessed a decline in local industry and the net making machinery owned by companies manufacturing fishing nets is no longer local. Instead the braided nylon travels across North America from the east coast of Canada to the west coast of the United States where it is knotted on a net making machine, before returning to Nova Scotia for further work by hand. Interplay Design & Manufacturing, the company Toshiko and her husband run in Canada, offer two basic designs adapted as necessary to the specifics of each commission. The AirPocket design is crocheted by hand; the modular Space Net is knotted by machine and acts more like a giant bouncy spider web intended for use outside. Once assembled and4


Masaki Koizumi

Elliot Wright courtesy of Enel Contemporanea

Knitted Wonder Space II, 2009, Braided nylon 6-6; hand crochet, Charles MacAdam with Interplay Design & Manufacturing, Inc, Nova Scotia, Canada design & production, Norihide Imagawa with T.I.S. & Partners., Co. Ltd, Tokyo structural design, Woods of Net Pavilion, Hakone Open Air Museum, Hakone, Japan

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Masaki Koizumi

installed, each project’s lifespan is dependent on factors such as frequency of use and climate. “The textile can be very forgiving,” Charles explains, “as long as you don’t use it. Make it work and over time it is going to wear out.” Regular inspections determine when each of their installations needs reinforcement or replacement. Toshiko compares the energy of these structures to the rocking motion first experienced by an infant in the womb, later felt cradled in a parent’s arms. A little older, and children playing in her elastic playgrounds begin to learn that their actions impact those around them. “Their creative minds start to move and they find new ways of playing,” she explains. “They respond to each other. It is sometimes hard to entice children out of the net; they can sometimes be lost in it for three or four hours.” The enthusiasm children show for her works is the primary testament to their success. Interest has continued to grow globally, with work currently underway on commissions in Singapore that will involve the major restructuring of a building to create the space needed for the installation: and in New Zealand, where an Auckland-based philanthropist is building a children’s park. 43 years have now passed since Toshiko’s first creation for children. Today a different type of legacy is emerging: adults who played in her art as children are now returning to introduce their own children to her wonderful playgrounds. ••• Jessica Hemmings

www.netplayworks.com

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At City Hall, Cardiff

the art of the possible

The Contemporary Craft Fair

31 OCT - 2 NOV 2014

3 days 135 makers Full programme of workshops, talks & demonstrations in the heart of Cardiff

Study for a postgraduate degree at Bath Spa University and see where your talent can take you. MA Design: Fashion & Textiles Develop your creative practices in conjunction with essential marketing and business skills. MA Fashion Portfolio Study within a portfolio of fashion subjects including ďŹ lm, illustration, journalism, photography and styling.

different thinking

www.madebyhand-wales.co.uk hello@madebyhand-wales.co.uk 01626 830612

How far can you go? www.bathspa.ac.uk/pgartdesign

Selvedge Drygoods 162 Archway Road London, N6 5BB www.selvedge.org


SURFACE TENSION

A few years ago, Catherine André was showing a collection in Florida when a woman approached her and confessed “I feel a lot more human since I’ve been wearing your clothes.” It’s clear, eighteen years after launching her own line of knitwear, that this softly-spoken designer has built a strong connection with her customers around the world. The comfort and fluidity of her knitwear embraces a timeless elegance reminiscent of Fortuny’s style or Madeleine Vionnet’s legendary bias-cut gowns. An artist with a passion for Baroque music – she plays the viola – Catherine André has created an utterly feminine style, combining bold colours with casual, elegant designs. Her graceful silhouettes have a “je ne sais quoi” appeal that has captured the hearts of women looking for sophisticated simplicity. Born in the pink city of Toulouse, Catherine André studied English and Spanish Language at the University of Besançon. She visited Ireland in the summer months of her first year and had an epiphany. She fell in love with the warm natural light, the dramatic landscape and with the Irish people. The sight of children wearing beautifully mended sweaters inspired her to collect threads from the local spinning mills and to start a yarn journal. She spent her final year at the University of Stirling, Scotland before settling down in Uzès in Southern France. Her time in Ireland had been a decisive experience and she set out to knit “abstract paintings” by assembling small knitted patches, and made sweaters that required nearly 200 hours of work. The exclusive knit pieces became quite successful on the local markets. Soon, she met her future husband and briefly attended the Ecole des

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Beaux Arts of Nimes before the newlyweds moved to Rodez, the capital of the Aveyron Region in 1980. The small provincial town is as far from the fashion world as it can get but the aspiring young stylist succeeded in showing her work to Promostyl in Paris. She was commissioned to make samples and hand knitted 60 different pieces. She sold them all, which led to a meeting with Italian knitwear designer Rossana Orlandi in Milan. She landed a three month internship and over the next eight years would return to Milan periodically to help Ms Orlandi finalize yarn collections and prepare the Pitti Filati Fair: “I was homesick at first, but living in the land of arts and music was an old dream come true. I learned a lot about colour coordination with Rossana and we became close. I had the chance to work in a large knitting lab and to meet the stylists of Nina Ricci and Ungaro.” During the 1980s and mid-1990s, Catherine established herself as a stylist for Rodier, Ungaro, Lacoste, Cacharel and as a colour consultant for spinning mills in France and Japan. In 1993, she designed a knitwear line for French stylist Philippe Model. Being part of the production process was an exciting experience that prompted her to start her own line. Strongly encouraged by her close friend, maverick designer Claude Barthelemy, she presented her first knitwear collection in January 1996 and opened her first store in Paris in 2006. Catherine André’s studio is located in an old tawnery building in Millau (tawners would dress and prepare the skins of sheep, lambs and goats). The large, high-ceilinged rooms are bathed with the natural light of southern France, creating the ideal conditions to select yarns or coordinate colours 4

Hugues Roualdes

Anne Laure Camilleri finds Catherine André in perfect command of her medium


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Richard Haughton


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The knitwear are manufactured in Roanne and Puy en Velay, in France’s historic textile regions. “I work with carded fibre to get different textures. The quality of the yarns and the techniques I’ve developed explain the high-end positioning of the brand.” It takes 3 to 4 months to create a collection. She sketches her ideas before introducing a palette: “Colours convey a style, a period; usually I mix neutral and vivid hues, but each collection has its own dominant harmony. I work around it, always keeping in mind that a solid colour needs to be flattering to the skin tone. The drawings are sent to the mills and they send me back samples knitted on different gauges. The textures depend upon the theme. I use printed or solid coloured yarns and fibres such as alpaca, mohair or cashmere. The idea is to break up the regularity of knit, using textures and patterns or working with different gauges on the same piece. Once we’ve determined the right density, the tension, the thickness and suppleness of the jersey, we can start production.” Over the years, the designer has achieved harmony in style and colour. All her knit pieces, past and present, can be mixed and matched at will and layered over each other, to create infinite combinations of patterns, textures and tones. Quite effortlessly her alluring knits attract all generations. A Japanese customer once told her she had passed down her kimono to her daughter, along with a Catherine André sweater. “It was the most rewarding compliment ever, because my knitwear are designed to last. They can be darned and customized, I’m thrilled when they reflect a life’s journey.” ••• Catherine André, 26 Galerie Vivienne, 75002 Paris, T: + 33 1 4261 3160, www.catherineandre.com

Hugues Roualdes

and tones. “It’s a privilege to live here, I need to be close to nature,” she admits. Family photos, knit samples, a poster of Olga Picasso and music playing create a warm, dynamic working environment. The Catherine André brand is family run with a cohesive team of employees. Catherine’s husband, Jean-Luc Roualdes, is CEO of the brand while one of her two sons photographed the F/W 2014 collection. Ancient Greece, the Age of the Samurai or humble fishing boats on the Mediterranean Sea: Catherine André finds inspiration in her travels and in the arts. Her creations can be skillful reminders of Fauvist or Impressionist paintings, Japanese Shibori or ancient frescos. The vibrant colours and romantic mood of her 2014 summer collection were inspired by the hillsides of Valparaiso, with its historic quarter featured with mesmerizing details on the “Bellavista” jacket and cardigan. When she designed her debut collection, Catherine envisioned a never-done-before knitwear style that would match the coziness and poetry of her early works: “Knitting is like writing with a single thread. The different combinations of stitches and yarns offer infinite style and texture possibilities. Each collection has its own vocabulary.” And each has its own original theme; the free spirit of the Roaring 20s and French poet Jean Cocteau inspired the F/W 2014 collection. Two hand-knit sweaters are standout pieces, featuring traditional jacquard, cross-stitch embroidery and small decorative tassels. But the designer’s expertise and mastery are equally visible in creative details: the colour gradient in a dress, sweaters with delicate yellow borders at the wrists and hips, coats with stylish buttons and a new reversible green jacquard sweater.


Capture your creativity One-off course or a BA(Hons) Textiles Study at your own pace from home and start at a time to suit you. Support from a one to one tutor who is also a practising textiles artist. Be part of a UK and international student community.

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Holly Norris, OCA student

MA Fine Art online also available. Find out more from our website.


HOME COMFORT Knit designer Katie Mawson’s cosy colour palette


In a higgledy-piggledy terrace of Victorian houses on the fringes of the Cumbrian market town of Penrith, knitwear designer Katie Mawson is busy in her kitchen, like a latter-day Mrs TiggyWinkle, hanging out her colourful knitted mittens to dry above the roaring wood burning stove. The place Mawson has made home for her family and flourishing knitwear business is just over the hills from the open skies and wild landscapes of her childhood. Brought up in a tiny rural community by her lawyer and doctor parents, Katie’s artistic streak, probably inherited from her grandmother who was a hobbyist painter, was drawn out by an unusually creative collection of neighbours and family friends. The artist Winifred Nicholson lived nearby and was a formative influence. ‘I remember going into her house and being struck by the simplicity of the stark white walls. Any colour in the interior was in her paintings.’ This aesthetic is mirrored in the white-walled rooms of Mawson’s house that are enlivened with colour accents reminiscent of Nicholson’s palette. Katie’s moss-green knitted cushions, blockcoloured bed covers, candy-striped knit curtains and dry-point pictures are scattered throughout. Objet trouvé and jugs of wild scabious, bluebells and vividly coloured hedgerow favourites are carefully laid out on table tops, echoing a Nicholson stilllife. Vintage letters decorate the wall of the dining room; Katie set out to collect and display the whole alphabet after finding a random letter in a French market. Continuing the literary theme and jostling for wall space are her own work and an original Penrith sales poster for the house dated 25th July 1927 presented to the family by a friend who is also an antiquarian book collector. A more hands-on artistic experience came through the unexpected presence of a little gallery on the Roman wall. ‘Nicholson sold a farmhouse on her land to a Taiwanese artist, Li Yuan-Chia, which he extended and converted into a little museum called LYC. He ran life-drawing classes and there4

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TITLE Sub head

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was a room for children to paint and make things.It was wonderful.’ Katie started knitting when she was 14 after a friend’s mother, who raised Jacob sheep, presented her with a fleece. A weaver who lived next door asked her if she wanted to learn how to spin. ‘I started using a spindle and I could often be found standing on a chair spinning away. It was only later I graduated to a spinning wheel.’ The first thing she knitted was a tank top from her homespun Jacob sheep fleece. From this formative starting point, she went on to study textiles at Camberwell School of Art and has since produced an annual collection of hats, scarves, gloves, rugs and cushions distinctive for its vibrant palette. Katie is never without her sketchbooks which she likes to be as beautiful on the outside as they are on the inside. ‘I am always looking and thinking about colour whether it’s in the countryside, at an exhibition or exploring an urban landscape. I am picking out colour in everything I see always with4

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an eye to making. I soak everything up and store it in my subconscious. I find beauty in unexpected places.’ Katie also collects things that catch her eye on a countryside ramble or at a flea market: the silvery skin of a dead snake, a bronzy autumn leaf, discarded seed pod or a bright postage stamp, a black and white photo or a piece of ribbon. These treasures are carefully pinned up on the wall of her studio waiting to be incorporated into a scarf, mitten or cushion in some shape or form. ‘Suddenly I will see a colour and use it as a stripe in a mitten or design a hat using a particular detail or other. Finding the right colour combination is a process of trial and error.’ Bulging sample books stuffed with experimental swatches are testament to the efforts Katie puts in to choosing a colour palette. Just like the textiles in her house, pattern in her knitwear is kept to simple stripes and blocks of colour; it is the variety and numbers of different colours that create a sense of pattern and texture. Katie creates the initial samples but has two knitters, Kerry in Brighton and Norman in Hawick (once the centre of the knitting industry) to fulfil the orders. The labour intensive process of hand finishing and tying in the myriad ends is completed by Katie and Chris, her husband, who works with her. Each piece is washed in her machine to be felted and hung out to dry prior to dispatch. Stepping over the threshold of this old schoolhouse and exploring its artistically decorated rooms is to discover the story of her creative awakening and its enduring influence in Katie’s home and work life. ••• Clare Lewis

Katie Mawson will be exhibiting at the Selvedge winter fair. Join us on the 31st October & 1st November 2014 for our fifth seasonal fair at Chelsea Old Town Hall. www.Selvedge.org Talented photographer Claire Richardson sadly died in February. These are the last images she contributed to Selvedge.

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CHECKMATE As ANTA and others prove, there’s no endgame in sight for tartan Tartan sets the tone of the catwalks each autumn season. It’s like a leaf waiting to turn into a blaze of colour. Vivienne Westwood, the original alchemist who turned prim to punk, and imbued this cloth with a sense of rebellion, continues to declare her love for tartan. This infatuation is recurrent rather than revolutionary and this enduring textile enjoys regular revivals and never really goes away. Tartan demonstrates the cyclical nature of trends, drawing on the classics and reinventing them for a modern age or new context. Tartan is a timeless Scottish cloth with inexhaustible potential. It has now found a home as flooring and it’s invigorating to see how fresh it looks. Wendy Dagworthy, the esteemed former professor at the Royal College of Art reminds us that tartan needs to be worn in a modern way and, she says, works best “if mixed with other things like a flower or stripe; tartan works.” It’s an approach found in interiors too. Alternative Flooring follows her edict and mixes its wool tartan Fling and Dotty runners. ANTA, the highland-based company, creates tartans based on traditional setts for both fashion and interiors. It has also made traditional flat woven wool carpet and rugs for thirty years. A tartan makes a striking stair carpet and a tartan carpet injects a sense of drama into a room. Owner Annie Stewart’s designs sometimes employ wild colour combinations, yet retain a natural Scottish twist of sobriety. “Colour balanced by proportion is my objective as a designer. Similar to gardening and influenced by nature, the desire to create order or mimic nature in some

small way preoccupies me.” In a country full of contrast the Highland landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and shockingly harsh. Here it rains and rains a lot. It is the rain that makes the difference to the living landscape, the vegetation, the rivers and lochs. The light alters with the fastchanging weather, and in the north lingers almost all night in summer. The colour of the Scottish landscape changes hourly as well as seasonally. Tartan is a most abiding and adaptable of cloths. As with all good design Annie says: “there is practical purpose to the application of twill weave to carpets and this is because it makes it more hardwearing.” For carpet cloth ANTA stick to a twill weave, sometimes introducing a herringbone and the three-ply yarn twisted together to make it as durable as possible. Lovat green, typically used as camouflage, is a mixture yarn, made up of bright turquoise blue, strong yellow,


black and white. The blue and yellow fibres mixed together create the green, the black and white fibres are present to play the light – the black absorbs it and the white reflects it. This gives the tweed its lively quality. Introduce a twill weave, a diagonal rib from bottom right to top left which can be suddenly reversed by introducing a change in direction to form a herringbone, and the colour is far from flat.” “Originally carpet was woven in this way as a flat weave, using a great deal of raw material, almost 2 kilos per metre. As there is little more than a kilo of useable wool taken from a mature sheep each year it is certainly extravagant. Later in the 18th century the technique of weaving wool as a loop into jute backing, sometimes known as Brussels weave, was developed to make a thicker carpet using less raw material. Soon the pile was

trimmed and cut pile carpet was developed; as it was found that wool cross cut and presented on its end was still harder wearing.” In Annie’s old manse in Balmacara the stairs and landings are covered with ANTA Ballone tartan carpet to maximise the dramatic effect of the semi-spiral staircase. Pure wool, as well as its thermal insulating qualities, also protects against sound and Annie says, “it is for this reason a soundproof cell is lined with wool, and good reason to put it on stairs and passages too.” Tartan is famous for its balance and colour harmony. It can take a lot of colour but in an ordered way and this makes it an easy pattern to use on floors. If you used the same number of shades in a print it would look riotous but with a tartan it’s much more rigid. It can also have a quieter, timeless spirit reflected in a

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relatively muted colour palette inspired by the surrounding landscape. “Lovat green, charcoal grey, and yellow, natural colours all found in the garden and beyond, line the walls of the bedrooms as upholstery tweed, the floors are carpeted wall to wall with ANTA pure wool tweed carpet cloth. The house, now no longer damp, cold and draughty, though generous in scale feels cosy. Close to the Isle of Skye, a long way from any disturbance by man, it’s hard to detect a storm when curled up in bed at night.’ For interior designer Katharine Pooley, tartan has a sense of heritage, classicism and longevity as well as being practical and providing warmth. “I selected a variety of tartans for use throughout my home, a 16th century fortified tower in the Scottish Highlands, to celebrate the extraordinary4


history of the property and its magical location. The tartan for the chairs was woven with wool using traditional techniques and the blue and green palette was chosen to complement the historic building as well as the natural landscape that surrounds the castle. I chose to use a number of traditional tartans sourced in the local area to provide warmth in the cold Scottish winters, as rugs on the flagstone floors and as throws on the beds.” It may not be to everyone’s taste but enthusiasm for tartan endures. “Tartan is wonderfully unisex, as well as cosy and stylish,” says decorator Nina Campbell. “It really is a great British classic, up there with paisley and chintz.” ••• Elizabeth Machin

www.anta.co.uk, www.katharinepooley.com, www.alternativeflooring.com

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THE GOLDEN FLEECE Meg Lukens Noonan’s quest to find the ultimate luxury fibre

land here has the mottled look of desert camouflage; clay-beige sand tufted with pale fescue and bunch-grass, huge rocks flocked with gray-green lichen scattered across low, undulating copper-coloured hills. Peru’s high plain is so broad I could almost forget I am at 15,000 feet in the heart of the Andes mountains. My hammering heart and the frigid wind reminds me. I’ve travelled here with a team of researchers to see a ‘chaccu’, a humane, ancient Incan method of live shearing wild vicuna, a small, llama-like creature with extraordinarily soft – and extremely valuable – fleece. Just a few decades ago the vicuna was dangerously close to extinction. The chaccu was resurrected as a way to save the species and, at the same time, give local campesinos a financial

stake in their survival. The plan has worked. In the 1960s fewer than 10,000 remained; now there are several hundred thousand roaming the high grasslands. I scan the plain and at last, way off, see some movement. The researchers are pointing. One of the men runs to position himself in front of a camera mounted on a tripod. I climb down from the boulder and join them next to a fence line that was erected earlier to guide the vicuna into a makeshift corral. What seemed a solid mass is now unravelling, streamers of tawny brown moving across the slope, then doubling back. There are a hundred vicunas, maybe more, running toward us. Behind them, a human chain formed by scores of campesinos holding a long rope festooned with coloured streamers is pressing them forward. Adults and baby animals run along the netting and traverse the rocky slope, looking for

Marco Garro

I scramble to the top of a flat-topped boulder and look out over the altiplano. The


escape. Dust rises as they sprint up the hill toward the corral. Larger vicunas try to leap the barrier and a few make it out. A small one gets caught up in the fencing and falls, its legs frantically bicycling in the air, until onlookers extricate it. Children in hooded sweatshirts and dirt-caked sneakers join the men for the last stage of the round-up, laughing and urging the vicunas forward into a narrowing chute until, at last, every animal has squeezed into the enclosure and the gate has been closed behind them. I peer through an opening in the burlap panels to see the animals, now calm and quiet except for an occasional soft bleat. Their appearance is both elegant and comic, with their sleek wedge-shaped heads perched atop long necks and their split upper lips, a camel-family trait, which fix their dark mouths in pursed half-grins. Large dark eyes, outlined in black, pharaoh style, are trimmed with a thick fringe of lashes. Most remarkable, though, is their fluffy cinnamon-coloured coat. At a mere 12 microns or 1/25,000 of an inch in diameter, an individual fibre is much finer than cashmere, which averages about 19 microns. (Human hair, by contrast, ranges from about 40 to 120 microns.) It’s because of this extraordinary coat that they were nearly hunted to extinction.

When the shearing team is ready, several local men enter the corral, chase down an animal, pick it up and carry it out. They stop first at the entrance to the shearing tent for inspection by a team of veterinarians. If the vicuna is too young or has recently been shorn, it is released. If it has a kind of dandruff that makes the fibre undesirable, it is set free. If it is deemed healthy and has a full coat, it is fitted with a black hood. Though this is meant to keep the animal calm, the hood makes it look as if it’s about to face a firing squad. Inside the tent, the animal is splayed out on a low wooden platform, its front and hind legs restrained and held tight by helpers. It’s hard to look at this without thinking of sacrificial altars. But this is a haircut, not a bloodletting. With electric clippers powered by a noisy generator a skilled shearer removes the pale fleece from the back of the animal in one piece. The fluff is rolled, like a length of weightless sod, and delivered to the cleaning tables. Here two women with tissue plugs in their nose, so they won’t inhale the fine fibres or dust, shake the fleece over a screen table, pick out grass and coarse hair and then place it in clear plastic bags. Then it is weighed and recorded and added to the stockpile. Later, the fleece will be warehoused, and 4


eventually sold to spinners and weavers, most likely in Italy or the U.K. Woven vicuna is extremely expensive. Scarves can sell for as much as $4,000, while an overcoat custom-made by a skilled tailor can cost $50,000 or more. Cloth makers, including Scabal, Holland and Sherry, and Dormeuil only recently developed techniques that allow them to weave the extremely delicate fibres into a pure vicuna worsted suiting fabric. Expect to pay about $22,000 for an off the rack sport coat, $40,000 and up for a made-to-measure suit. These prices don’t seem to deter customers determined to have the best and demand has never been higher. Loro Piana, the Italian luxury textile maker and a major producer of vicuna goods, has even invested in vast preserves in the Andes in order to ensure it has a constant supply of the coveted fleece. When the shearing is done, the vicuna is carried to the doorway of the tent and the black hood is pulled off. The animal stands frozen for a moment, blinking and sniffing the air – long enough for me to take pictures, which I do from behind a big rock – and then takes a few steps: a meandering uncertain trot, at first, then a more determined run down the hill to freedom.

It goes on all day, the wrangling and shearing. Though the work is hard, the mood is lighthearted. When an animal wriggles out of the arms of a handler, he and the crowd of onlookers laugh. Occasionally, a worker lets a child cradle a young vicuna before it is released. The windowless tent warms as the morning goes by: more black hoods, more animals on the table, more humming clippers, more frantic hooves reaching for solid ground. The clear bags of tawny fluff mount up. Shearing continues into the evening, and as the sun dips below the horizon the temperature drops with it. When the work is finally done, we load the pickup truck for the long, descent to the village of Huaytara. It’s dark by the time we get to our hotel. Before I go in, I look at the high ridge, illuminated by the moon. I picture the herds of vicuna, light-footed and freshly shorn, running across the plain, their backs catching the silver light. ••• An edited extract from The Coat Route: Craft, Luxury & Obsession on the Trail of a $50,000 Coat, ISBN-10: 1400069939, Scribe, £8.99, www.meglukensnoonan.com


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HAND IN HAND Di Gilpin is bridging the gap between craft and couture

The green rolling countryside of Fife in Scotland is not a place where one would expect to find the great and the good of the fashion world. But top designers are beating a path to the tiny village of Largoward, a few miles from St Andrews, thanks to the success of hand-knit designer Di Gilpin. In the last three years, representatives from Ralph Lauren, Nike, Paul Hardy and Topshop Unique have made the journey to Di’s Knitting Bothy, which adjoins her home. Gilpin, who has been designing and making hand-knit garments for 30 years, is fast establishing a niche working in collaboration with major labels to bring hand-knit to the catwalk. Her company, Di Gilpin Ltd, not only designs knitwear for clients all over the world, but also, thanks to its growing team of 90 knitters across Scotland, offers the possibility of manufacture to couture standards. “It’s becoming a real design house,” Di says. “We are building up the tools and experience to create runway pieces and do the production for them afterwards. The fashion industry is becoming concious of the possibilities of hand-knit. It’s also waking up to the notion that you can go into production here and do it very successfully.” Earlier this year Di’s visited New York to give two lectures to Ralph Lauren design teams on gansey-style knitting and the provenance of Scottish traditions. “We have an open dialogue with them about how important it is to have these things made in Scotland because of the knowledge and provenance,” Di says. “We are thrilled that Ralph Lauren may be looking to come back to Scotland for production, they are such a wonderful brand.”

Another recent visitor to the Knitting Bothy was the designer Graeme Black, whose CV is a roll-call of fashion greats: John Galliano, Giorgio Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo. Now creative director with growing Chinese cashmere company Erdos 1436, he asked Di to collaborate with him to create 15 special pieces of hand-knit to begin and end his collection of machine-knit cashmere at Edinburgh International Fashion Festival in July. “They are incredible pieces,” Di says. “There is a pure white full-length cashmere trenchcoat with overlaid cabling, a red lace ballgown which took three of us two months to make, a full-length intarsia skirt with a Scottish garden knitted into it in the style of Arts & Crafts architect Robert Lorimer. I used every stitch in the book to create this collection.” Di uses the knitting skills and traditions of Scotland, drawing inspiration from local landscapes and stories, but creates contemporary garments which meet the demands of today’s fashion industry. In the ballgown for the Erdos 1436 collection, she used a pattern from the Shetland Island of Unst, which is famed for its lace-knitting, but developed it to create a stunning three-dimensional effect. “I think it’s my duty to make hand-knitting that can’t be replicated by machine,” she says. “That’s where it becomes innovative, when you’re creating things such as three-dimensional textiles. Shows like this one are really good for hand-knit because they showcase so many Scottish techniques and stitches, but in this new way. And it pushes me more and more to be inventive and original in the way I work.” Di started her hand-knit business on the Isle of Skye in 1983 and later moved into developing


patterns and yarns for knitting companies such as Rowan and Vogue Knitting. Three years ago, she made a decision to change direction and founded Di Gilpin Ltd, shifting the focus towards creating her own high-end collection and collaborating with top designers. She hasn’t looked back since. Her first catwalk commission was for Londonbased maverick designers Meadham Kirchhoff in 2011: multiple pairs of hand-knitted tights and stockings and a full-length lace evening gown. Two days before the show, Gilpin and two of her knitters took the train to London, knitting all the way to get the order finished. The response to the show was excellent and since then she has worked with other designers including Mark Fast, Sophia Kokosolaki and Cabbages & Roses. Meanwhile, her own eponymous collection goes from strength to strength, retailing in London, Europe and Japan. Created in Scottish cashmere and lambswool, it takes its inspiration from the Scottish landscape, including hand-twisted yarns in colours inspired by Scottish gemstones. This autumn also sees the launch of the studio’s first machine-knit collection, Largo, created under Di’s direction by young designer, Stephanie Laird. Di sees herself as an ambassador for hand-knit in the world of fashion, whether that’s explaining the history of the techniques or reassuring couture companies that their standards of fit and finish will be met. “It’s creating a fabric which has the form integrated into it. It’s got that wonderful essence which you recognise on the runway, the way the stitches react and move with the body. Hand-knit is a different way of thinking.” ••• Susan Mansfield

www.digilpin.com

SELVEDGE 75


Superb Cultural, Craft and Textile Tours in Bhutan and India Cultural tour of West Bhutan to include the Thimphu Festival October 2014 A short tour of Rajasthan including the Pushkar Camel Fair with visits to Ranthambore Wildlife reserve and Bharatpur Bird Sanctuary November 2014 The fabulous textile and craft tour of Rajasthan and Gujarat including a visit to the Surajkund Craft Mela with an optional extension to the Khanha Wildlife Reserve February 2015 Cultural tour of West Bhutan to include the Punakha Festival February/March 2015 For brochure and further information please contact Pie Chambers, 33 Sturford Lane, Temple, Corsley, Wiltshire BA12 7QR Tel: 01373 832856 e-mail: info@tulsi.uk.com • web site: www.tulsi.uk.com


STEPPING OUT

Richard Nicholson

Ptolemy Mann follows Roger Oates as they take a new direction


A vibrant, saturated rose pink runner curves down the stairs and hits a mandarin floored landing. This is gorgeous, intense colour, celebrating an often forgotten part of our interiors; the stairs. For many of us the stairs are the first things that greet us when we come home, the centre point, architecturally dramatic portals that we pass through many times a day. Roger Oates and his wife Fay set up their self-named company in the late 1980s with the desire to focus on this specific type of flooring. Their discovery of an historic flatweave fabric sample in Temple Newson House Museum in Leeds prompted them to use their respective textile training to develop a floor covering that had hand-woven qualities yet was adaptable to power loom technology. Practical and sound business sense, combined with this understanding of craftsmanship and the hand-made, has meant that Roger Oates as a brand has evolved impressively over the last two decades. “We always design products that we like and would want in our own home.” Simple as this

statement seems it’s the key to their success. This is classy tailoring for your stairs. The ‘Venetian flatweave’ which is synonymous with their name is expertly fitted and sculpted around any possible shape of stair, the stripe miraculously aligned. It transpires that the term ‘Venetian’ has nothing to do with Venice but is a generic term given to a particular kind of twill based flatweave popular in the 17th century in England. Oates is a proper weaver’s weaver, intrigued by techniques and structures, and he conducts a constant, personal enquiry into industrial revolution production methods. All of their carpets are woven on power looms with Dobby heads in the UK after extensive hand loom designing and sampling in their studio first. In comparison to the relative ease of jacquard weaving, the Dobby looms require more complex drafting and lifting plans to create a variety of patterns and textures. In the past they have used New Zealand wool but recently have been working with a UK based wool merchant who has been able

SELVEDGE 78

to source Shetland wool in its natural colour. From this relationship they are now able to spin a large volume of Cheviot blended yarn exclusively to their own requirements; and thus supporting another arm of British textile manufacturing. An important factor when dealing with dynamic colour is to begin with a suitably white raw material that can take the dye well and keep vibrancy. All the yarns they use are dyed to their own colour palette, ranging from classic neutral to bright bohemian. This use of colour sets them apart from other flooring companies and forms an important part of the “Roger Oates hand writing”. This consistent signature is crucial to their business. Their customers, Oates says, “want something that’s individual”: and although classic colours always sell it’s important that they bring the new generation fresher and brighter colours. The bulk of the business is undoubtedly their Venetian flatweave stair carpet. However, in the early 2000s they introduced furnishing fabrics and, this


year, a range of interior accessories. This makes sense when you consider that the Venetian is not a standard type of carpet but more a heavy woven fabric. To illustrate Oates refers to it as “upholstering the stairs!” and claims it’s not a stand-alone product but something that needs time and expert fitting. It therefore made perfect sense to develop a range of furnishing fabrics and ready-to-use products that shared the same quality and integrity but were more immediate. To meet the demand Fay and Roger drew again on their own passions and the help of their design team, to create a range of European sourced woven furnishing fabrics which reflect the same ethos as the flatweaves. Raspberry herringbone stripes, ombre effect twills in gem- like colours merge with elegant neutrals, making a chair covered in these cloths look like a dapper, bespoke-suited object. It became clear that many customers were visiting the website to research interior projects and that while they were there a bit of shopping was in

order. The new collection of products was a natural development and surprisingly little needed to be changed to adapt the flatweave cloth to suit them. Carpet bags and upholstered furniture such as benches and footstools were covered in the same heavyweight Venetian flatweave cloth. Throws were reinterpreted from their most popular designs into lambswool, and Roger and Fay’s love of English and Welsh blankets made it easy to introduce these to the online shop. They have also introduced a series of floor rugs which coordinate with their stair runners, simple solid textures of colour. Boldly striped floor cushions especially illustrate the woven roots of this company, Houndstooth checks, colour and weave effects and chevron twills in understated combinations. These are elegant, technique-led products which seem to have evolved naturally from the loom and their raw materials rather than a drawing board. A client says: “I am a lifelong fan of Roger Oates. Their colours are always spot-on, and work in both London and the country (rare). And they somehow manage to look chic and smarter the longer you have them.” It seems this company has managed a kind of intimacy with their customers. Their team of 25 people is driven by design. Everything is designed in house by people who really understand woven cloth and the weaving process. Roger and Fay’s touch is in everything and it shows. Another customer states: “Roger Oates is first of all a story of a family in the wider sense. We were taken by it when we first came to the Long Barn, a home/workshop/company in the middle of a spectacular landscape. The product is sophisticated, the “dress” of the staircase…” It’s this rare combination of personal touch alongside intelligent business sense that makes this an exciting name in weaving, and with a bed linen collection on the horizon we will all soon be running up our colourful stairs to beautifully woven sheets. We can’t wait. ••• Selvedge readers can enjoy 20% off all Roger Oates products until 31st October. Please use the code ‘S20’ at the checkout. Delivery price remains the same. www.rogeroates.com

SELVEDGE 79

The Campaign for Wool (CfW) is a global endeavour, initiated by HRH The Prince of Wales, to raise awareness of the benefits of wool. As part of the campaign’s 5th anniversary celebrations, an interior range has been launched. The 50 selected products – fabrics, flooring, furnishings and lifestyle items including craft and creative pieces – illustrate the story of wool in interiors. Items from John Lewis, Marks and Spencer and Heals will feature alongside rugs from Tai Ping Carpets, Roger Oates and Christopher Farr. The collection will be displayed during Wool Week at Southwark Cathedral, London and later in Yorkshire. All items are available to buy at retail stores or online. The collection is the work of CfW Interiors Director, Bridgette Kelly and stylist, Arabella McNie. They said, “The CfW Interiors Collection is a snapshot of the story of wool... it highlights how wool is the superior natural fibre of the future.” The interior collection is complemented by The CfW Fashion Collection. And more active supporters of Wool Week should sign up for the Wool Ride – an cycle around London for wool wearing cycling fans. ••• UK Wool Week, 6-12 October 2014, various

venues, www.campaignforwool.org


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Catherine André creates colourful knits that look like abstract paintings. Inspired by her travels and the arts her seasonal collection is full of vivid colours, patterns and textures – all signatures of Catherine’s keen eye. You can read more about her in ‘Surface Tension’, pg 56. Catherine is delighted to offer new Selvedge subscribers and renewals a set of three decorative notebooks worth £10.00 www.catherineandre.com www.selvedge.org THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: THE KNIT ISSUE

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

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

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

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MENTOR School prints, Enid Marx, Inspirational teachers

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Knitter

Katie Mawson works from her idyllic garden studio in the Lake District. With a small team, including her husband and two knitters, she creates knits that are sold in boutiques all over the world. In Home Comfort, pg 60, we visit Katie’s cosy and colourful home but you don’t need to travel so far to meet her. Katie will be exhibiting her work at the Selvedge Winter Fair, 31 October-1 November, in Chelsea. And she’s offering three pairs of her elbow length, striped lambswool gloves worth £49 as prizes this issue. The gloves are 40cm long and will keep you warm on chilly autumn days... To enter visit www.selvedge.org. www.katiemawson.com

Scottish born Donna Wilson graduated from the RCA with a sell-out show of quirky knitted creatures including Edd Red Head, Angry Ginger and Bunny Blue. High demand led her to set up her business, creating more creatures as well as accessories, homewares and ‘odd objects’. She runs her busy studio in London with a hardworking team who knit, sew and pack her products ready to send to shops and customers. And she still finds time to exhibit her work in shows and exhibitions. Donna is offering Selvedge readers the chance to win one of three Graph Scarves, worth £67.50 each. To enter please visit www.selvedge.org. www.donnawilson.com

Ally Capellino launched her womenswear collection in 1980 and spent years in fashion before establishing her range of accessories. Now globally recognised, her bags can be found in the Tate Gallery shops and Apple Store, and you can also source the original range from her stylish store in Shoreditch. As part of the London Design Festival she’s teamed up with Daniel Harris, founder of The London Cloth Company and on Tuesday 7th October she will host a special event, see pg7. Two lucky Selvedge readers can also win a limited edition tote bag made with Daniel’s bespoke Grey Donegal fabric worth £180 each. To enter, please visit www.selvedge.org. www.allycapellino.co.uk

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EXHIBITIONS AND EVENT LISTINGS

Royal Ontario Museum

LONDON • Horst: Photographer of Style Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, Cromwell Road London SW7 2RL 6 September-4 January 2015 Disobedient Objects Objects within social and political movements, Victoria and Albert Museum until 1 February 2015 Sat-Thurs 10-5.45, Fri 10-10, T: +44 (0)20 7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk • Knitwear in Fashion Chanel to Westwood, 83 Bermondsey Street London SE1 3XF 19 September-18 January 2015 Tues-Sat 11-6, Thurs 11-8, Sun 11-5, T: +44 (0)20 7407 8664, www.ftmlondon.org • The Knitting & Stitching Show Alexandra Palace London N22 7AY 8-12 October Weds 10-5.30, Thurs 10-7, Fri-Sun 10-5, T: +44 (0)20 8365 2121, www.theknitting

Cairo Under Wraps: Early Islamic Textiles from the museum’s collection. More than half of the 80 fabrics in the exhibition are on public display for the first time and were collected by C.T. Currelly, the Royal Ontario Museum’s founding director. Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles & Costume, Royal Ontario Museum, 100 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C6 until 25 January 2015 Mon-Thurs 10-5.30, Fri 10-6.30, Sat & Sun 10-5.30, T: +416 586 8000, www.rom.on.ca

andstichingshow.com • Stitching, a love story Embroidered portraits and still lives by Emily Jo Gibbs at Craft Central's Showcase Gallery, 33-35 St John's Square London EC1M 4DS 14-18 October Tue-Fri 10-6, Thurs 10-8, Sat-Sun 11-5, preview evening 13 October 5-8, T: +44 (0)7712 650 094 www.emilyjogibbs.co.uk • I Don’t Know, or The Weave Of Textiles Language Installation by Richard Tuttle, The Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, Bankside London SE1 9TG 14 October-6 April 2015 Sat-Thurs 10-6, Fri 10-10, T: +44 (0)20 7887 8888, www.tate.org.uk • SOUTH EAST • Thread… Festival of Textiles, Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham Surrey GU9 7QR 26-27 September Fri 12-6, Sat 10-5, T: +44 (0)1252 745 444, www.farnhammaltings.com • Imagine… Lace at Waddeston, Waddeston Manor, Aylesbury Bucks HP18 0JH until 26 October MonSat 10-4, T: +44 (0)1296 653 226, www.waddeston.org.uk • Things we do in bed: Historical and contemporary quilts, Daxon House, Bexleyheath Kent DA6 8HL until 31 October T: +44 (0)1322 621 238, www.bexleyheritagetrust.org.uk • Unravelling Uppark Contemporary artists respond to the house’s history, Uppark House and Gardens, South Harting, Petersfield West Sussex GU31 5QR until 2 November T: +44 (0)1730 825 415, www.unravelled.org.uk SOUTH WEST • Home Ground National and Regional Designer-Makers, Devon Guild of Craftsmen, Riverside Mill, Bovey Tracey Devon TQ13 9AF 20 September-9 November daily 10-5.30, T: +44 (0)1626 832 223, www.crafts.org.uk • David Sassoon: A Life in Fashion Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street Bath BA1 2QH until January 2015

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daily 10.30-7, T: +44 (0)1225 477 173, www.museumofcostume.co.uk NORTH • Birds of Paradise Plumes & Feathers in Fashion, The Bowes Museum Barnard Castle DL12 8NP 25 October-19 April 2015 daily 10-5, T: +44 (0)1833 690 606, www.thebowesmuseum.org.uk • Dressed for Battle How clothes have been affected by war, Lotherton Hall, Off Collier Lane, Aberford Leeds LS25 3EB until 28 September daily 10-5, T: +44 (0)1133 782 959, www.leeds.gov.uk • Around the World in 80 Textiles Celebrating the 10th anniversary of ULITA, St Winifred’s Chapel, Maurice Keyworth Building, University of Leeds Leeds LS2 9JT until November Tues-Thurs 9.30-4.30, T: +44 (0)1133 433 919, www.leeds.ac.uk • Head to Toe Accessorising the Georgians, Fairfax House, Castlegate York YO1 9RN until 2 November Tues-Sat 10-4.30, Sun 12.30-3.30, T: +44 (0)1904 655 543, www.fairfaxhouse.co.uk WALES • Early to Bed Welsh Quilts with Janet Bolton, The Welsh Quilt Centre, The Town Hall, High Street, Lampeter Ceredigion SA48 7BB until 1 November Tues-Sat 11-4.30, T: +44 (0)1570 422 088, www.welshquilts.com • A Dark Cloud Over the Woollen Industry The effects of WWI on the Welsh woollen industry, National Wool Museum, Dre-Fach Felindre, Llandysul Carmarthenshire SA44 5UP until 29 October Tues-Sat 10-5, T: +44 (0)3001 112 333, www.museumwales.ac.uk SCOTLAND • Craigie Aitchison Dovecot Studios, Infirmary Street Edinburgh EH1 1LT until 27 September Mon-Sat 10.30-5.30, T: +44 (0)1315 503 660, www.dovecotstudios.com EUROPE • Legendary Costumes 20 years of Lyon


EXHIBITIONS AND EVENT LISTINGS

Dewi Tannatt Lloyd

Opera, Musees de Tissus et des Arts Decorative de Lyon, 34 Rue de la Charite, F-69002 Lyon France until 21 September Tues-Sun 10-5.30, T: +33 (0)4 7838 4200, www.musee-des-tissus.com • The Fifties Fashion in France 1947-1957, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris, 10 Avenue Pierre 1er de Serbie, 75116 Paris France until 16 November TuesSun 10-6, T: +33 (0)1 5652 8600, www.galliera. paris.fr • Lace Effects 2 Moving Textiles, International Centre for Lace and Fashion, 135 Quai de Commerce Calais 62100 until 7 December daily 106, T: +33 (0)3 21 00 42 30, www.cite-dentelle.fr • The Biggest Tent in the World Installation by Claude Leveque, Louvre Palace Paris 75001, France until January 2015 Sat-Mon & Thurs 9-6, Weds & Fri 99.45, T: +33 (0)1 4020 5317, www.louvre.fr • Dries Van Noten Inspirations. 2014 Les Arts Décoratifs 107, rue de Rivoli 75001 Paris France, until 2 November Tues-Sun 11 6, T: +33 (0)1 44 555 750, www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr SWEDEN • Gudrun Sjödén, 40 years of Inspiration, Tegnérsplatsen, 223 50 Lund Sweden, Tues-Sun

12-4 until 8th March 2015 T: +46 4635 0400 www.kulturen.com USA • Grand Design Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1000 Fifth Avenue, New York 10028 8 October11 January 2015 Sun-Thurs 10-5, Fri-Sat 10-9, T: +1 212 535 7710, www.metmuseum.org • Exposed: History of Lingerie, The Museum at F.I.T, 7th Avenue at 27 Street New York 10001-5992 until 15 November Tues-Fri 12-8, Sat 10-5, T: +1 212 217 4558, www.fitnyc.edu • New York International Carpet Show Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street, between 6th and 7th Avenues, New York New York 7-9 September daily 9-6, T: +215 248 0494, www.nyics.com • Ethel Stein: Master Weaver Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue Chigaco IL, 60603-6404 until 9 November Fri-Wed 10.30-5, Thurs 10.30-8, T: +1 312 443 3600, www.artic.edu • Hollywood Glamour, Museum of Fine Arts-Boston, Avenue of the Arts, 465 Huntington Avenue Boston MA, 02115-5523 9 September-8 March 2015 Sat-Tues 10-4.45, Weds-

Julie Arkell – Away Internationally renowned maker Julie Arkell creates whimsical creatures in her own inimitable style. Lovingly made and compellingly naïve, her papier-mache people and creatures are adorned with found objects, hand sewn clothes, embroidered or knitted accessories and a healthy dose of British humour. Away is a new body of work: it follows on from Home, Julie's successful Ruthin Craft Centre touring exhibition which took place in 2004–2006. A new book, with essays by Jane Audas and Sara Roberts, will be published to accompany the exhibition. 27 September-30 November 2014 Tue-Sun 10-5, Ruthin Craft Centre, Lon Parcwr, Ruthin LL15 1BB, Wales, T: +44 (0)1824 704 774, www.ruthincraftcentre.org.uk

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We feature exhibition and event listings one month in advance. In the Nov/Dec issue most listings should be for December and January. To book a Selvedge listing 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 Nov/Dec issue is the 15th September 2014. Fri 10-9.45, T: +1 617 267 9703, www.mfa.org • CANADA • From Ashgabat to Istanbul: Oriental Rugs from Canadian Collections, 55 Centre Avenue Toronto Ontario M5G 2H5 8 October-15 April 2015 daily 11-5, T: +41 6599 5321 www.textilemuseum.ca ASIA • Gathering Domestic craft to contemporary process, Design Museum Holon, 8 Pinhas Eilon Street Holon 5845400, Israel until 25 October Mon & Weds 10-4, Tues & Thurs 10-6, Fri 10-2, Sat 106, T: +972 73 215 1525, www.dmh.org.il ••• ERRATA: The images in ‘King of the Swingers’, Issue 59, pg 20-25, were incorrectly credited and were photographed by Nelson Sepulveda Osorio.


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Published with the V&A this is not just a survey of their extensive knitwear collection but also a survey of knitting itself. Divided into four chapters, on History, Industry, Home and Fashion, both book and collection cover the period from the 3rd to the 21st centuries – no small task. From coptic socks with toes through the history of the hosiery industry in Europe, there are some lovely snippets of information about the lexicography of knit that has become common parlance. For instance, stockings for men and women were de rigueur in the 16th century, the knitted version more popular than the woven due to its stretch and comfort. We discover that men’s leg coverings were divided into the ‘upper stocks’ and the ‘nether stocks’, hence the word ‘stockings’. As Professor of Fashion, Textile Design & Technology at the London College of Fashion, Sandy Black is well qualified to discuss the history of knit and fashion, and she has done so before in Knitwear in Fashion (2002), Fashioning Fabrics (2006) and Eco-Chic: The Fashion Paradox (2008). This book goes further and looks at the social impact such as the ‘knitting assemblies’ in domestic homes – a precursor to the ‘stitch and bitch’ localised knitting that is part of current folk cultures. The cover of this well-designed book depicts Elsa Schiaparelli’s 1928 trompe l’oeil bow sweater donated to the V&A by the designer after Cecil Beaton’s 1971 exhibition Fashion: An Anthology. This is an ideal example of knitting to start with, not just because of its graphic qualities and unusual techniques but because it illustrates how design and craft, industry and fashion overlap. Schiaparelli saw a friend wearing a jumper that had been knitted by an ‘Armenian peasant’. Quick to recognise her skill, Schiaparelli engaged the same woman to work up her sketches and was inundated with orders – enabling the knitter to set up her own outworkers. Such garments gave sartorial freedom to the women who wore them – affording comfort, movement as well as style – and income to the women whose skill and industry made them possible. Questions of class and survival are not skirted in the text. Elsewhere the democratic nature of the knitting pattern is traced, along with the innovations of important but often overlooked pattern writers from Marjory Tillotson to Elizabeth Zimmerman. Familiar items from the V&A’s collection have been carefully re-photographed and there are detailed double-page spreads featuring tights, gloves, a brief history of socks and the changing face of patterns. The book includes a useful glossary for more unusual terminology like muffattee (a protective, knit wrist covering from the 19th century, since you ask) and there is a timeline that outlines the technological developments from bone needles to the Shima Seiki machine of the 1990s. This is a book for dipping into and for reading deeply. A welcome addition to the handful of good books on the history of knit. ••• K. L. Bevan Knitting: Fashion, Industry, Craft, Sandy Black, V&A Publishing, ISBN:9781851775590, £35.00

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“In the beginning, there was textile art” suggests the introduction to Art & Textiles. The many iterations of that coupling “textiles & art” are explored in this love song of an exhibition catalogue. The exhibition will grace the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg and then the Staatsgalerie Stuttgart in 2014, and this companion volume is a fine match. It spans in-depth academic texts and intuitive visual connections encouraged by the authors and editors. The sheer volume of information is inspiring: the entire time I was reading I was itching to make. Encased in a fabric-textured hardcover binding, this massive work (more than 350 pages) begs a periodic reading. I suggest you dive into the central section of the book first, enjoying the exhibition-like selection, the compare-and-contrast the curators and editors have so painstakingly and proudly compiled. The colourful, large-format images and short essays are an easy introduction to the subject of “textiles in/and art”, and this central section communicates most directly the intentions of the editors. Let yourself be led from Jugendstil (Art Nouveau), through modernism to current technology, and then decide when you want to jump into the art theoretical and deeper essays that act as bookends. This middle section is arranged into chapters that correspond with the physical segmenting of the exhibition itself. The reader is even given a blueprint of the gallery space for virtual orientation; of the many exhibition catalogues I have read over the years, this one invests the most energy in direct connections to the exhibition. Generally, I am a museum-goer that likes to be led (gently) through an exhibition by the texts, the flow of the spaces or rooms, and I like to believe in the expert opinions of the curators. That makes this book perfect for me: the direct connections to the exhibition create an inclusive feeling, and the small collections under thematic headings are intuitively leading. The chapter on networks gives us a beautifully diverse array of images: fishing nets from Denmark; artist Mona Hatoum’s woven electrical cable floor installation; a netted Egyptian mummy shroud from around the 7th century BC; and the ultra-modern graphics Peter Kogler was commissioned to create for the exhibition. There is enough familiar material for the reader to connect with the more obscure artists or non-famous museum objects. The global theme is grounded in German art and German scholarship, which also may offer the reader a new perspective. The catalogue offers impressive research and nuanced ways of looking at the wide range of artworks offered up. Although sighing about the relegation of textile art and production to “women’s work” can be counterproductive, the authors refute this sticky perception through careful, thoughtful comparison and inclusion of sometimes thick academic texts celebrating the un-motherliness of textiles in the history of all art. More dynamic than the common fibre-arts and textiles-in-art themes, this book goes beyond the expected to offer more information than you thought you’d need about textiles and art. If you’re ready to expand your understanding of that couplet, Art & Textiles is an engrossing volume. ••• Arianna E. Funk Art & Textiles: Fabric as Material and Concept in Modern Art from Klimt to the Present, Edited by Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, ISBN 978-3-7757-3627-5, £49.80

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ON AURA TOUT VU: SENSATIONS, 14 June-31 December 2014, Cité internationale de la dentelle et de la mode de Calais, 135, Quai du Commerce, 62100 CALAIS, T: 03 21 00 42 30, www.cite-dentelle.fr “All dress is fancy dress, is it not, except for our skin?” George Bernard Shaw’s question hangs, not in the air, but on the wall of this exhibition and a glance into the display cases gives a clear indication of the expected answer. For Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov, the designers behind couture house On Aura Tout Vu, it would be a resounding yes. You have to love fashion’s rose-tinted spectacles – and this is fashion at its most flamboyant. Formed in 1998, On Aura Tout Vu, which roughly translates as “You haven’t seen anything yet” began by creating accessories and embroideries for Christian Lacroix, Givenchy and Christian Dior before developing their own range and launching couture clothing in 2002. In each facet of their career to date craft and technological innovation have been key and this strong foundation has been overlaid with humour, exuberance and a refusal to be contained. But though the outlook of these designers is idiosyncratic it is far from soft focus. Skill is at the heart of these creations and it is performed with clear sighted, laser precision. And fittingly the first section of the exhibition, which is grouped to correspond to our five senses (plus another two for luck), is Vision. Curator Lydia Kamitsis has chosen a dress Narcisse to be the first object on display. Adorned with adjustable mirrors it gets the exhibition off to a reflective start. When questioned about the piece designer Yassen Samouilov offers the first of many mischievous smiles and admits it amused him to

send a dress down the runway that would return the gaze of the audience: and he acknowledges that the front row of a fashion show is as much about being looked at as looking. Each section of the exhibition is contained in a box the size of a small room, which frame, conceal and reveal the objects depending on your position. Around the corner, hidden from the entrance is an early contender for star of the show, a treasure that would look at home in the V&A’s medieval gallery. The breastplate, covered in handmade silver feathers, was inspired by the story of Icarus but could be ethereal armour for a warrior angel. It was produced in the On Aura Tout Vu atelier and it certainly showcases skills worth fighting for. There is no better illustration of the painstaking nature of couture than this fabulous collar or the iridescent beetle wing bodysuit from S/S 2013 which resides in the exhibition’s ‘Taste’ section. Thousands of wings were individually pierced and hand-embroidered onto the garment – the high street won’t be offering a version of this piece any time soon. The sheer variety of techniques and materials employed in these designs borders on bewildering. An evening dress is described as “printed silk crepe with an embroidered design using macro photography, polystyrene and plastic spheres”. A jacket features crystal embroidery on metallic fishnet, a dress is encrusted with plastic knives. At the point where I discover that for A/W 2009/10 the designers taught themselves a Japanese lacquer technique so they could customise branches sourced from the Chateau de Vincennes, I’m feeling woefully inadequate – what have I been doing with my time?

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If anything the standard rises toward the end of the exhibition. Turn the final corner and you stumble onto the set of Funny Girl during the Ziegfeld wedding number. It’s an opulent bridal parade where the show-stopping finales from previous collections vie to capture your attention. Flitting from a full-length wooden dress constructed from “lace-style linen openwork, Swarovski crystals and silk tulle netting (A/W2005/2006) to a much younger model – a lasercut Plexiglas mini-crinoline adorned with glass pearls shown on the catwalk earlier this year, it’s hard not to be fickle with your affections. So are the materials and techniques the core of their creative process? Surprisingly Livia’s answer is no, “the material cannot guide us, it comes later,” she explains. “We cannot be seduced by fabrics.” She believes that would make the work empty, like bad art-house cinema where no attention has been paid to the plot or dialogue. The collection theme comes first and, Livia insists, “the materials must deserve the idea.” And so it is that an intricate mosaic corset constructed from Sèvres porcelain, broken on request, is more than a feat of artistry; it represents the designers’ thoughts on our fragile society. I respect the designers’ interpretation of their work, although I am checking for a concealed smile. Is a fashion show really the best place to ponder the ills of the world? Fashion with a message strays dangerously close to Zoolander territory. Thankfully there is no indication that On Aura Tout Vu want to found a school “for Kids Who Can't Read Good” and this exhibition remains a joyful celebration of over a decade of success and independence in an extremely tough field. ••• Beth Smith Portrait of Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov

Laurant Julliand/Contextes

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ROZANNE HAWKSLEY: WAR AND MEMORY, 28 May–14 November, National Maritime Museum, Queen's House, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF, www.rmg.co.uk On the 1st June, a gloriously sunny afternoon, when London’s optimists were picnicking and promenading on the extensive lawns around these astonishingly beautiful buildings – the world of war, and the need for memorial, seemed far away. And yet, this was just a few days before the 70th anniversary of D-Day on 6 June 1944, when an armada of ships left Hawksley’s birthplace of Portsmouth for Normandy, and started the Western Allies’ effort to liberate mainland Europe from Nazi occupation. Hawksley was 13 in 1944, a wartime evacuee, and one of many children whose lives were impacted by mourning, wartime loss, and a sense of the need to valorize those who had made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of those left behind. One room in The Queen’s House is draped in black, contrasting markedly in effect from the scenes of bright pleasure outside. Here, in sombre atmosphere Hawksley presents us with drawings and artifacts in an emotional temperature range: from the analytical and surgical, Stitches: Means and Methods, and Stitching of Wounds, 2003, to the sacred heart, bleeding heart, symbolic and visceral, He Always Wanted to be a Soldier, 2006. Hawksley is known for her mobilization of materials and objects that speak of love, loss, present and absent bodies. And of sadness – single gloves, their partner lost; fragments of fabric; incomplete sewing, typically on military uniform; bleached bones and faded flowers; infant dolls. War and Memory commemorates the centenary of the beginning of World War One, but its power transcends that single moment to embrace both the poignancy and futility of conflict as it impacts over centuries on the men who go to war and their (mother) nations. For me, Hawksley’s work resonates with the stylistically different Overlord Embroidery, in the D-Day Museum in Portsmouth, formed of appliqué panels of more than 50 fabrics taken from uniforms of those in the three military services of land, air and sea.

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Photography by Dewi Tannatt Lloyd, Courtesy of Ruthin Craft Centre

Hawksley draws together resonant textiles to create memento mori objects: a wreath of gloves, a vanitas installation, a replica dissection of a child’s skull, to remind us of the proximity of death in war, the need to remember, and the inevitability of the failure of memorial to stall the relentless march of humanity towards inflicted death. The works take on a particular poignancy in their juxtaposition with works from the collection of the National Maritime Museum. A painted anonymous soldier boy, his youth challenged by his sombre look and uniform garb – this boy is one of those memorialized by Hawksley’s work. Hawksley steers a careful path to avoid over-sugaring the message; with beading and trimming, with the haberdashery of horror that military dress uniform conjures; and the personal hieroglyphics in sewing and padding and mending that reflect the collar-stitching work of her grandmother seamstress making do, mending, and keeping the home front intact and inscrutable; Finished Collar in Calico, 2003. There is a fussy, revolted precision in the drawings of wounds being methodically drawn together by suture, and these pieces almost disdainfully contrast with the heat and passion of the material works. Where the drawings view war and memory with cold disgust, the material works sob out loss and grief. Surgeon’s equipment (2003) provides us with a perfect replica of a crown, a gaping wound gripped by the healing instruments of the surgeon that gleam with the same light as the weapons of war. A baby appears as a figurine in tiny form, a small cherubic icon, mounted on the heart that his death broke. The Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum, see Selvedge issue 36, described mementos at the other end of life, where mothers left their babies in the mid-18th century with the Foundling Hospital retaining a token – fabric, ribbons, embroidery, baby clothes – as a means of identification. Hawksley’s work in this exhibition echoes those scraps of mundane and everyday material. Just as the tokens reflect the life of an infant child and that of its absent parent, Hawksley works within the bereft and bereaved spaces between the military dead, the lovers and mothers staring into the abyss of loss, the ghost babies never conceived or celebrated... ••• Catherine Harper He always wanted to be a Soldier I and II, 2006, Rozanne Hawksley

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REDWORK, 11 October 2014 - 31 January 2015, Waterside Arts Centre, 1 Waterside Plaza, Sale, M33 7ZF, T: +44 (0)161 912 5616, watersideartscentre.co.uk, www.rachaelhoward.com, I’m not sure how a graphologist analyses handwriting and infers a person's character, disposition and attitudes – I’m not even sure I believe they can extract meaning from a collection of assorted lines on paper. But I do know that Rachael Howard is able to perform that alchemy in reverse. She can capture a gesture, a movement or a moment in time in a seemingly unconscious, fluid mark and in doing so reveal its greater significance. Rachael’s talent first caught my eye in a quilt chronicling a trip to India in the early 1990s, it used lists and tickets as well as graceful lines to celebrate the chaos that is India. Rachael, now Lecturer in Textile Design at Bath Spa University, continues to be fascinated by the detritus of daily life: found shopping lists, drawings, doodles, scribbles, ink left on a squeegee. In this new work she has assembled a vast collection of images translated into the traditional sequencing found on a redwork quilt. The catalyst for the project was a 2009 visit to the exhibition American Beauty: Art from Craft in 19th Century America at the American Museum in Bath. Here a redwork quilt caught her attention, lodged in her creative memory and five years later formed the starting point of a new body of work. Towards the end of the 19th century, as the Victorian passion for crazy quilts waned, a new sewing craze took its place. In the 1880s women turned to redwork quilts. Stitched using a newly available cotton thread dyed with Turkey Red, these figurative quilts

were popular for their vibrant colour. Rachael was drawn to the quilt’s simple, stem stitched vignettes and found the combination of inexpensive materials, relatively easy stitches and strong tonal contrasts fascinating. They seemed to encourage a different kind of image making, spontaneous, less precious and perhaps more revealing than earlier quilts. The images, often taken from the life of the maker, were the instagram of the day. Touchingly unpolished they offered a glimpse of life – no less real for being stitched. Today following an instagram account offers a similar treat for the curious: one is offered what seems to be an intimate portrayal of the life of the user. But filtered, edited and heavily curated, social media can also be profoundly unsatisfying. The contemporary hunger for more detail is never sated because it consumes nothing of substance. We have to look elsewhere for a lasting connection and in Rachael’s work we can find it. Her drawing strikes that chord. The fluidity of line she employs and her ability to capture a gesture in a few economical marks draws parallels with the immediacy of instagram but adds something more. These images have a vitality, truth, and energy that only drawing from life can achieve. The seemingly random assortment of the everyday reveals the comedy and tragedy of life, given room to breathe and grow in meaning. In this new work it is not the materials that are precious, nor the techniques – a combination of machine embroidery, screenprinting and digital printing. What is precious is Rachael’s interpretation and the insight that she offers into family life. Tumblr is rarely this tender. ••• Polly Leonard Cloth Chronicles 6, Rachael Howard

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Steve Aland

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I am SAQA Zara Zannettino

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• Allora www.allorashop.com • Avril Yarns www.avril-kyoto.co • Bath Spa University T: +44 (0)1225 875875 www.bathspa.ac.uk • Blue Sky Alpacas www.blueskyalpacas.com • Brooklyn General Store T: +1 (718) 237-7753 www.brooklyngeneral.com • British Wool Marketing Board www.britishwool.org.uk • Carole Waller T: +44 (0)1225 858 888 www.carolewaller.co.uk • Catherine AndrÊ www.catherineandre.com • Coral Stephens Handweaving www.coralstephens.com • Eucalan www.eucalan.com • EYHO Tours www.eyho tours.com • Fashion & Textile Museum T: +44 (0) 20 7407 8664 www.ftmlondon.org • Fibre Arts, Newfoundland wwww.craftcouncil.nl • Glorious Color www.gloriouscolor.com • Gudrun SjÜdÊn T: +44 (0)20 72 40 22 11 www.gudrunsjoden.com • Habu Textiles T: +1 212 239 3546 www.habutextiles.com • Indigo www.indigosalon.com • Intrecci yarns www.intrecci.co.uk • Jennifer Levet Hats www.jenniferlevethats.co.uk • Joanna Kinnersly-Taylor T: +44 (0)141 556 6918 www.joannakinnerslytaylor.com • Knitting & Stitching Show www.theknittingandstitching show.com • Loop www.loopknitting.com • Macculloch and Wallis T: +44 (0)20 7629 0311 www.maccullochwallis.co.uk • The Makers Atelier www.themakersatelier.com • Norwich University of the Arts www.nua.ac.uk • Open College of the Arts www.oca-uk.com • Papillon Creative www.papillon creativeideas.com • Purl Soho T: +1 212 420 8796 www.purlsoho.com • Ruth Emily Davey Shoes ruthemilydavey.4ormat.co.uk • Ruthin Craft Centre T: +44 (0)1824 704774 www.ruthin craftcentre.org.uk • Sally Weatherill www.sally weatherill.co.uk • Shetland Wool Week T: +44 (0)1595 98 98 98 www.shetlandwoolweek.com • Studio Art Quilt Associates www.saqa.com • Scrap Bags www.scrap-bags.com • South Street Linen T: +1 774 234 7678 www.southstreet linen.com • Studio Stitches T: +61 (0)427 240 714 studiostitches.com.au • Studio Vee www.studiovee.co.uk • Surface Design Association www.surfacdesign.org • The Flying Club theflyingclubcoaching.com • Thread... A Festival of Knitting T: +44 (0)1252 745444 farnhammaltings.com • Tulsi T: +44 (0)137 883 2856 www.tulsi.uk.com • Wallace Sewell T: +44 (0)207 833 2995 www.wallacesewell.com • Weave Spin Dye www.weavespindye.org

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My role models are all SAQA members . . . and they have all recommended SAQA. I am loving the inspiration I get from SAQA’s exhibitions and resources like the “Portfolio�. I am an Australian art quilter, teacher and quilt appraiser. SAQA member since 2013 Detail: Opuntia by Zara Zannettino



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SCOTLAND THE BRAVE Symbol, stereotype and recurring style; Sarah Jane Downing salutes a fabric that simply won’t disappear

Firstview

Tartan is one of the most ancient ways of adding pattern to woven cloth. The weft and warp contrast with, complement and contain an impassioned story of rebellion: from 18th century Scotland via a renaissance in the early 19th century, to Vivienne Westwood’s subtle sedition for Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver Jubilee. The union that brought Scotland into the United Kingdom in 1707 was not universally embraced, for many felt the abandonment of the Stuart succession for the Hanovers was a grave mistake. So much so, that when Bonnie Prince Charlie, the young Pretender tried to claim his throne in 1745 there were thousands to stand beside him at the Battle of Culloden. This Jacobite rebellion was brutally quashed and his supporters suffered reprisals for years, most severely the Scottish Highlanders who suffered the destruction of their entire way of life. Living far to the north, the Highland clans had maintained their culture and a form of feudal order for centuries. Their lifestyle was a meagre hand to mouth existence but they were rich in tradition. Here they made tartans spinning the wool of the sheep they raised, dyeing it with plants and lichens, and weaving it at home. In a depiction of the Battle of Culloden by David Morier eight Highlanders are featured wearing 23 different tartans. In the wake of the battle many landowners were stripped of their property which was given to foreign landlords. The Act for Disarming the Highlanders of 1746 deprived men of their weapons, but the ‘Diskilting Act’ that came into force in 1748 was the final insult. Even as the authorities accepted that the Highlanders wore tartan homespun out of necessity they feared it. As Captain Burt pointed out in his

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Letters from a Gentleman in the North of Scotland it was ideal for ‘instant rebellion’ as the capacious belted plaid could be used as a sleeping bag and the natural colour palette provided effective camouflage. Punishments for wearing it were severe: six months for a first offence, and transportation to ‘His Majesty’s plantations beyond the Seas for the Space of Seven Years’ for the second. But worse was the odious oath they were forced to swear to ‘never use any part of the Highland garb… if I do so, may I be cursed in my undertakings, family and property – may I never see my wife and children... – may I be killed in battle... may all this come to me if I break my oath.’ The Highland Clearances pursued between the 1780s and periodically until the mid-19th century violently ousted yet more Highlanders. Inspired by this history and his own connections to Scotland, Alexander McQueen’s show for A/W 1995-96 was entitled The Rape of The Highlands. Featuring bold, structural designs in the McQueen tartan complemented by lace dresses like wild flowers, he captured the spirit of the Highlanders and their ancestral land so vividly that it was his breakthrough show. McQueen revisited the theme a decade later for his poignant Widows of Culloden show, representing their fierce passion with headdresses of birds’ wings and antlers. In a symphony of handmade couture he created heirloom pieces as important as the clan’s individual tartans once were. In 2011 Savage Beauty, a retrospective of McQueen’s work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art broke all attendance records. This landmark show is set to do so again when it is reprised at the V&A in Spring 2015. ••• Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty, 14 March–19 July 2015, www.vam.ac.uk


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