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I am one of the possibly rare peoplewho actually enjoyed
wearing the 1970 print dresses my mother chose for my
sister and I. Easter Sunday was particularly special – we
would put away our winter woollies in favour of white knee high socks and sorbet
coloured cardigans; although it was never quite warm enough in my opinion. The
relationship between spring and floral prints is indisputable. This issue we bring you the
summer frocks of Dries Van Noten, pg 48who understands the link better than most and
brings a riot of pattern to enliven your wardrobe.
Pattern takes us neatly to the topic of paper. Jocelyn Warner, pg 30explores the links
between the two over the last 100 years, from the earliest single sheet wallpapers to the
wall stickers of Rachel Kelly. While Christine Woods, pg 28Curator of Wallpaper at the
Whitworth Art Gallery looks at the cut and paste decorations of the 1920s and 30s.
The stunning paper structures of artist Tara Donovan, pg 20and the subtle shifu
paper cloth woven by Hiroko Karuno, pg 24show another side of this versatile material.
As does Julie Arkell’s house, pg 41where she surrounds herself with her paper mââchéé
creations. Her ‘little people’ bring us to this issue’s ‘alternative’ theme; dolls and thetwo
intersect neatly with paper dolls and the delightful escapism of Betsy McCall, pg 78.
Dolls are a personal subject; around the world children invest their earliest emotions
in treasured toys.My doll Pebbles was a brunette in a pink crocheted dress. She smelt
of sugared almonds but despite loving her I still cut her hair to stubble and 'injected’ her
with a knitting needle during a stay in ‘hospital’. Now when I play dolls’ house with my
daughter I find the miniature world fascinating and repellant in equal measure.Our doll
section, pg 65 gathers together the cute, the curious and the occasionally creepy.
On a more practical note Selvedge has updated its website to include an index of
our back issues, our affiliates page is finally live and we are now able to offer continuous
subscriptions and online institutional subscriptions. This issue we also have some
beautiful additions to our object range; they would make the perfect Easter treat...
Polly Leonard, Editor
We asked our contributors for their memories of a special toy...
GRAHAM HOLLICK pg 34
My favourite toy was a go-kart that
my grandad made for me. It had
an upholstered seat, a steering
wheel from an old sports car, the
body work was moulded plywood,
painted red and it had American
number plates. It was the envy of
our neighbourhood until it mysteri
ously disappeared from our front
drive never to be seen again...
CLAIRE RICHARDSON pg 41
STEPHEN SZCZEPANEK pg 24
Royal de Luxe’s giant marionette
of a young girl has to be my most
memorable doll to date. Operated
by dozens of puppeteers, her
performance in London with her
friend, the three-storey high
mechanised Sultan’s Elephant,
will remain one of the most
magical and inspirational pieces
of street theatre I’ve ever seen.
Since childhood I have been
fascinated by the American
Indian. My favorite toy was “Chief
Cherokee”, an articulated, plastic
Indian doll, replete with molded
buckskin suit and an arsenal of
plastic accoutrements, including
a war club and long, feathered
bonnet. I still have him, in the
original, tattered box... Rebecca Machin
For as long as I can remember my grandmother has been writing a book... about her grandmother, Dollie Radford, who wrote books. I have sat mesmerised by tales of my great great grandparents meeting in the reading room of the British Museum and their movement on the fringes of the Bloomsbury group. I would delight in the names that wove their way into conversation and through her stories she instilled in me an appreciation of not only the written word, but the way it is presented. To me it seems that theirs was an 'age of the artist' and the books on my grandmother's shelves are among the treasures of that era. The craftsmanship – cloth binding, gilt lettering and engraved illustrations – add weight to the writing before you have read a single word. Names such as The Bodley Head, John Lane, T.Fisher Unwin and David Nutt appear regularly as publishers. I am curious to know who the modern day equivalent of these art house publishers are and where one would go to find privately published books? Rebecca Machin
ED. Your great great grandmother, Dollie Radford was a poet and part of the vibrant political life of fin-de-sièècle London. Her circle included some of the most celebrated names in turn-of-the-century literature: William Morris, George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, W. B. Yeats and D. H. Lawrence. Private presses flourished at this time, an occurence often traced to the founding of William Morris' Kelmscott Press in 1891. Elkin Mathews was another key figure while his company name The Bodley Head still exists as an imprint of Random House. After a decline in the 1930s and 40s private presses experienced a resurgence in the 50s and today they are described as one of the “best kept secrets of art and craft.” The Fine Press Book Association is ten years old and has a worldwide membership. The Fleece Press, Incline Press and The Alembic Press are a few examples of companies who continue to produce books that are themselves works of art and skill. www.fpba.com