Cypress Motif: When studying the history of motifs in the arts and crafts, we often read about the Paisley. But there is another motif, more mysterious, more philosophical, one that represents death and eternal life. And that is the Cypress. Many say that the Paisley was born of the cypress when a stray songbird sat on its very tip, bending it slightly. But let’s go back to the beginning.
Jacobean Embroidery : We live in our current times in houses or apartments, which are fully furnished, heated in winter, and adorned extensively with textiles for aesthetic reasons and utility. But there was a time in England and the rest of the world that houses were draughty, furniture scarce, and cloth was restricted to wool, linen, and silk. There were rushes on the floor, which dogs and often people would relieve themselves in, making interiors malodorous. People often shifted from one house to another, an itinerant lifestyle because homes became quickly unhygienic.
Last week, I had written about dyes extracted from animals. In continuation of the story of natural dyes, I will describe the primary dyes extracted from plant sources and the often violent history associated with at least one of these. (more…)
MATISSE’S ART AND TEXTILES: Last week, As I was researching the works of artists who found inspiration in textiles, I came across the book ‘Matisse: His Art and His Textiles.’
Matisse had a blood association with textiles as he was born to a family of expert weavers in the French town of Le Cateau-Cambresis and brought up at Bohain-en-Vermandois in Picardy in Northern France. Since the Middle Ages, this region had been the center for manufacturing textiles- linen, wool, and silk. By the end of the nineteenth century, when Matisse was growing up, Bohain was renowned as a luxury fabric producer. – embossed and patterned velvet, tulle, voile, and above all, silk. It was second to none in supplying the top end of the Paris fashion trade.
I discussed my recent textile-related reads with a friend when she mentioned the book ‘Indiennes – Material For A Thousand Stories“. The exhibition at the Landesmuseum Zürich published this book in conjugation with their presentation.
The name ‘Indienne’ made me curious as I have not heard of it before in relation to the calico textiles that were traded between India and Europe. I grabbed my copy right away and just finished reading it. The book examines what happened next to the beautifully printed and painted cotton story after they left the Indian shores, arrived in Europe and created a veritable storm of buying enthusiasm in Europe. (more…)