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I WOULD LIKE TO THANK YOU all for the support, encouragement and subscriptions we have received since our launch, keep them coming! It is reassuring to learn that so many of you share my passion. I would also like to thank our contributors, photographers, advertisers, and the devoted selvedge team, for helping make my vision a reality.
The success selvedge is enjoying is a result of the textile community getting behind the idea and making it work. It is rare in contemporary society for an entire community to unite at a seminal moment, but when all of the elements are present, in the correct proportion, the results are a kind of alchemy. This happened during the 1940s when Ghandi, through his promotion of Khadi, page 26, changed the course of India’s history. Although Khadi no longer carries a political message, it is still a cloth of great integrity, honesty and endurance as one can observe in the DOSA current collection, page 30. We have been fortunate in being able to support the women of the Qilasaaz workshop, page 28 in Uttar Pradesh, by developing the selvedge magazine bag, made from loosely woven khadi and printed using natural dyes; the bag is available to buy or as a subscriber’s gift, page 97.
Textiles have been used as a vehicle for communicating political messages since the embroidered banners of Women’s Suffrage and today’s artists are no exception. Women in all walks of life use textiles to reflect their personal experience. Palestinian women embroider the reality of life under the shadow of conflict, Jeni Allenby traces the evolution of their traditional textiles, page 48. We also touch on Jessica Ogden’s work for the NoLoGo label, page 60, Lucy Orta’s confrontational designs, page 52 and Katharine Hamnett page, 56 comments on and criticises the fashion industry’s methods of production.
If all this political debate gets you a little hot under the collar, you can chill out in Helsinki or shop till you drop in New York.
Last but not least, the winner of our trip to Lithuania is Jane Rodgers, have a good trip. Even if you are not going far enjoy your summer! •••
Polly Leonard Editor
ED: As an artist, I worked for many years with a neutral palette of indigo and white. I was not looking for colour when I come across an intense sap green in the rice seedlings of the terraced paddy fields around Tirtagangga in Bali but it’s a moment I will never forget. I asked our contributors for similar tales…
The most striking greens are those found in the Scandinavian colour palette, which alternate between the muted, mottled pastels of the 18th century and the deep, intense colours found in foliage. I prefer the shimmering celadon of Chinese ceramics to the colours of nature, which moderate the passage of light and create a stifling feeling. BRADLEY QUINN, author p52
During my childhood summers in Greece, we went to a dressmaker for our clothes. Later, my mother made everything, keeping up with all the swinging 60s fashions. The first dress I made for myself, I will always remember, was in 1966: a shift using green Marimekko fabric – tiny triangles in all shades of green. OLGA NORRIS, author p38
Green is one of my favourite colours, a symbol of freshness and nature. I was a goat keeper when I was 10 years old and surrounded by green, I even collected moss in my bedroom. In the bullfights, I love the green traje de luces, suit of lights, particularly when combined with golden decoration. LUCIEN CLERGUE, photographer p16 download advertise subscribe archive links www.selvedge.org
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A Precious Legacy : An Open Letter Earlier this year, I joined a design team in Srinagar, Kashmir exploring the potential of crafts to generate business through design innovation and improved skills.
The Kashmir Valley is a scenic delight and the crafts of the region have developed over 100s of years. The craftsmen usually learn their craft at an early age. Some start at five years old and most are taught in workshops. This was quite a revelation, for I always assumed that the skills passed from parent to child.
In the group of 12 artisans, or Karigars, I worked with only one had learned the craft from his parents, and he was by far the most impassioned. However, not one could draw even a simple motif. One group would draw, another would trace onto the fabric, while the Karigars would embroider.
What is curious is that the craftsmen were not aware of the possibility of, nor interested in using their skills for selfexpression. They had no attachment to the work beyond earning a living. They were content to labour over marks another mind has imposed upon the fabric.
When I see the textiles of India, I marvel at the skill, the imagination and patience. I had always assumed that this could only be the result of passionate involvement. But in reality, the designer and the craftsman have become separate entities and the latter is never convinced the design he is labouring over is really worth the effort until the money comes in.
But hand crafting has the means to provide both poetic fulfilment as well as putting bread on the table. Perhaps even the potential to save the soul of a world fixated on war and material wealth, but, regrettably, its voice is soft and meek and the practitioners, in India at least, are not educated enough to promote the strengths of their work. The government in India is committed to the promotion of craft, but more as a means for export earnings and less as a vital heritage.
When I watch men labour over my designs, working like mere skilled labour and not the respected craftsmen of yore, I wonder if this is indeed a realistic solution for the growth and prosperity of craft.
The contemporary fibre artist, by virtue of being a designer-artist-craftsman, does fulfil the ideal of hand crafting. But do we have to forsake other methods of crafting completely and adopt the model of the highly educated, urban craftsperson as the only viable craftsman of the future? ••• Gopika Nath
Sitting pretty In my local junk shop, I found a chair covered in a vivid blue gloss paint and vile 80’s chintz, but with interesting proportions. Under the chintz, I glimpsed a 40s or 50s fabric, probably original. I haggled the shop owner down to £10 and, stripped and sanded, the chair looks fabulous. The fabric beneath was bottle green with yellow embroidery in a brick design - sadly too faded and worn. I have resigned myself to reupholstering, could you recommend an appropriate fabric? ••• Sarah Ellis
Ed My first reaction would be to encourage you to find some vintage fabric of the period, Eat My Handbag Bitch T: 020 7836 0830 has a wonderful supply of original materials but it’s also worth looking in antique and fabric fairs. Note exactly how much fabric you need and remember to take a tape measure.
If you are happy to stray a little further back in time,
Osborne & Little, T:020 7352 1456 have a beautiful new collection, Barouche, a mix of velvet and chenille taken from horse drawn carriages and railway coaches in the early 20th century.
‘Congratulations, the Magazine is a wonder to behold. The size and shape, the paper; everything about it speaks of intelligent and thoughtful design.’ Mary Silk, Interior Designer.
‘You have raised the bar in quality in every category… Thank you for the new standard and congratulations again.’ Joe Lewis, Surfacing Journal.
‘This is a unique and wonderful publication.’ Judy Donovan, Library Director, Delaware College of Art and Design, USA.
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