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Cover Image: Ewa Iwalla, photographer Jonas Walla
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Madame 01 Plumo Fold-up Boxes, £10, T: +44 (0)870 241 3590, www.plumo.com 02 Khadi and Co stitched towel, £45, Livingstone Studio, 36 New End Square, London T: +44 (0)20 7431 6311 03 Khadi and Co Scarves, from £115, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org 04 Sophie Digard Necklace, 85cm, £115, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org 05 French General Stationery box $14.95 each T: 08450 262 440, www.chroniclebooks.com 06 Cath Kidston Stationery boxes, £9 each T: 08450 262 440, www.cathkidston.com 07 Vintage Chocolate Buttons, £6, T: 08444 932 323, www.hotelchocolat.co.uk 08 Fabric covered notebooks, from £5, Few and Far T: +44 (0)20 7225 7070, www.fewandfar.net 09 Ellie Evans Pin Cushion, £28, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org 10 Tokyo Milk Soaps, £12, Few and Far as before
01 English Willow Fishing Creel, £285, T: +44 (0)1497 821205, www.greatenglish.co.uk 02 Red Hunter Wellingtons £60, T: +44 (0)131 240 3672 www.hunter-boot.com 03 Tamielle Scented Pouche, £25 for 3, T: +44 (0)1628 783255, www.tamielle.com 04 Vintage Chocolate Buttons, £6, T: 08444 93 23 23, www.hotelchocolat.co.uk 05 Iris Hantverk Shaving Brush, £45, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org 06 John Arbon Alpaca Knitted Tie, £25, T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org 07 Dog Lead and Collar, £25, each T: +44 (0)20 7739 4237, www.lovemydog.biz 08 Tamielle Scarf, £50, as before
in d ul g e
s e l v e d g e . o r g
down by the lake. and sooner or later I know deep
inside what my next step is going to be.”
Ewa i Walla is now represented in over 300 shops,
in 18 countries. She still lives at the old farm with her
husband (yes, he is a farmer). Once in a while she
visits her sons in Stockholm and every year she travels
to India, where Eva i Walla produce most of their fabrics.
“Look at this new pattern,” she says and holds a fine
block print. Its origin is an early 19th-century wallpaper
but here it is printed on voile. “This pattern is important
to me because it comes from a wall in my house. It was
originally created and put in place more than a hundred
years before I moved in. I like it when things look worn,
used. with faded soft colours, perhaps a little torn here
and there. But in a nice way. That’s what I aim at.”
Delicate dilapidation... ••• Cia Wedin
a t t i r e
St Catherine’s Day
PLEASE SEND ME, LORD, A WELL-TO-DO HUSBAND!
ay with the w ‘ A SAMANTHA BRYAN’S FL
. airies.. f IGHTS OF FANCY
Photography Jonas Wa
s e l v e d g e . o r g
A grey day in Paris. Sky, Seine, streets—shades of
soot. Young women stream through streets around the
Opéra. Colourful chapeaux atop their têtes.
The young women pour from Paris’s legendary
ateliers. House of Schiaparelli, House of Lanvin,
House of Patou. It’s 1930. Patou’s popular. They
parade down Rue de la Paix toward the Avenue des
Champs-Elysées. Tourists snap them as they pass.
The women work as seamstresses, an exhausting
occupation and poorly paid. Days spent stitching lapels,
plackets and pockets for others to wear. This day is
different. They sport hats they’ve sewn for themselves.
Arm in arm in arm they march, singing, giggling.
“It is probably the prettiest and most characteristic
sight,” wrote E.I. Robson in A Guide to French Fetes,
“which Paris, in its most Paris mood, can offer to the
tourist.” It’s November 25th, St. Catherine’s Day.
Catherine of Alexandria died in Roman times.
Executed by an Emperor she refused to wed. Milk
flowed from her wounds. She became patron saint of
unwed women. In the Middle Ages, St. Catherine’s
Day was an obligatory observance in France.
Cathedrals conducted Mass and families feasted. By
the 18th century, Mass was no longer mandatory. St.
Catherine’s Day had disappeared from the Breviary of
Paris. It continued to be marked in the countryside
with folk customs. Celebrants came in three
categories: Maidens were unwed women under the
age of twenty-five, spinsters were unwed women over
twenty-five, and the third category, women who were
exactly twenty-five years old...Catherinettes.
In 19th-century France, St. Catherine’s Day
involved sewing. Maidens dressed St.Catherine in hats
and prayed: “Donnez-moi, Seigneur, un mari de bon
lieu!” “Please send me, Lord, a well-to-do husband!”
Catherinettes didn’t sew hats. They wore them.
Women who turned twenty-five that year donned white
paper bonnets. Coiffer Sainte Catherine. “To wear
Catherine’s coif.” The saying has a second meaning: Left
on the shelf. Unwanted. Spinsters had their own prayer:
“Un tel qu’il te plaira, Seigneur, je m’sen contente!”
“Send whatever you want, Lord; I’ll take it!”
At the start of the 20th century, unwed women from
across France flocked to Paris to find work - sewing at
upscale ateliers and at downscale factories. Midinettes:
seamstresses who toiled in the needle trades. Many
were Catherinettes who carried folk customs with them.
In the 1900s, ateliers staged sham weddings on
November 25th. Bosses “married” Catherinettes. “Brides”
wore bonnets made by other midinettes. Bosses kissed
them, pinched them and proclaimed them old maids.
By the 1920s, the day assumed a suffragist aspect.
Young, old, wed, unwed – they made a day of it. Stitched
themselves haute hats and paraded through Paris.
Maidens chased men, pinching them, appalling the
press. Newspapers organised races. Races, they hoped,
would burn off the women’s wanton energies.
With the Second World War, the parade part
disappeared. St. Catherine’s Day became a festival of
fashion. Milliners showed new hat designs, designers
staged parties, and Catherinettes drank, dined, danced.
Mingled with higher-ups, hierarchies went out the
window. The designer was a guest at his own house. A
photo from the 50s shows Lucien Lelong meeting and
greeting his midinettes. He looks utterly uncomfortable.
The day’s still celebrated. ••• Derek McCormack
a n e c d o t e
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c o n c e p t
Whisper the word fairy and it conjures up all that is
pretty, prim and pink. If you find that all a little
cloying, and you probably will if you are over six, then
cleanse your palette by spending some time in the
company of Samantha Bryan’s creations. There is
nothing insipid or insubstantial about these sprites.
Other fairies may spend their time languidly wafting
around their local glade practising the fairy version of a
minuet and sipping on nectar, Bryan’s are far too busy.
These workman-like little figures have a job to do, and
when it’s done they probably prefer a pint.
Samantha admits her work is not typically feminine
and explains that this androgyny combined with their
wondrous gadgetry makes her sculptures surprisingly
popular with male collectors. Their intriguing ‘Fairy
Aiding Inventions’, devised by Samantha’s alter ego
‘Brain’, have their roots in questions about the practical
necessities of ‘fairy life’. Where does fairy dust come
from? How is it collected and stored? Clearly there is a
gap in the market for ‘Brain's portable fairy dust
collector’, which looks like the unholy offspring of a
bagpipe and hand-held Hoover.
Her fairies seem to need most help with flight;
Aerodynamic Flight Wear, Lift Generating Apparatus,
Fins ‘to improve directional and lateral stability’
and not forgetting Impact Reducing Footwear, ‘to
facilitate safe landings’. It seems soaring and gliding
doesn’t come naturally to the little folk. But whatever
their purpose these ‘machine-like contraptions’ seem
to give men in particular ‘permission’ to like them.
Samantha is keen to avoid being pigeon-holed by
her subject matter. In a way it was her desire to avoid
being limited by subject matter or materials that lead
Samantha to her current occupation. She chose to
study at Hereford College as it offered the only course
of its kind not to insist on specialisation. Samantha
wanted to experiment with materials and she still does.
Each figure is assembled from organic matter,
paper clay, sheet metal and wire, leather and knitted
elements. The construction is labour intensive. Wire
skeletons are overlaid with bodies stitched from fine
leather or fabric and embellished with tiny, found
objects for helmets, ear muffs, goggles and wings.
Samantha is inspired by Victorian gadgetry and it is
tempting to imagine a Wallace and Gromit-style studio
full of steam driven inventions. “It’s a mess!” smiles
Samantha. “It’s full of half-finished fairies but there’s no
Heath Robinson style equipment.” ••• Beth Smith
s e l v e d g e . o r g
c o h a bit
J. MORGAN PUETT’S SIMPLE LIFE IN MILDRED’S LANE
In 1997 the fashion designer J Morgan Puett quit her life in New York to
establish an artists’ colony in Pennsylvania. Ten years in the making and
continually evolving, Mildred’s Lane is a modern take on simpler times.
Nothing in J Morgan Puett’s life goes unstyled. A trip cross-country
begins by dressing up the car. ‘I travel in quite a baroque way,’ she says.
‘I take all my silver and glassware and my vintage fabrics. My luggage
has to look gorgeous.’
At home in Pennsylvania, even the fridge contents are corralled into
arresting arrangements. Today’s composition includes a head of
broccoli balancing on a silver candlestick and carrots cascading out of
a tool bag, the shelves covered with antique tablecloths. ‘It’s a great way
to use your grandmother’s linens,’ Puett, 51, explains. ‘Conservationists
freeze textiles to protect them, so it’s a very practical thing to do. You
can preserve them and show them off at the same time. And you will
never be embarrassed about your fridge again.’
Everything Puett touches has her own indelible mark. In the 1980s
and 90s, when she designed fashion in New York, people loved her
stores as much for their idiosyncratic decor as for her original and
eccentric clothes. In one venue she featured a cement-mixer and a
charred wooden bed; in another she covered the floor with dirt and
relished the fact that her customers (who included Brad Pitt, Michael
Stipe and Suzanne Vega) got covered in muck while trying on her
Amish and Depression era-inspired clothes.
When her fifth and final store closed in 1997, she petrified all the
remaining clothes in beeswax and transformed them into still-lifes
(today sold as art works by Alexander Gray Associates in New York).
Then Puett, who trained at the Art Institute of Chicago (where she is
now a faculty member) and her partner, the artist Mark Dion (whom
she refers to as ‘Peabody’ and whose work is collected by the Tate),
embarked on a new project. They decided to create an art colony –
s e l v e d g e . o r g
Contents INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire 13 Joyeux noël Gifts for all your friends and family 96 Conservation area The V&A’s recently restored War of Troy tapestry
INDUSTRY from craft to commerce 41 COVER STORY Spangles, sequins and stars Herbert Lieberman’s glittering career 44 Crystal clear The history of Swarovski 70 COVER STORY Away with the fairies Samantha Bryan’s flights of fancy
ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives 31 The handmade’s tale Our nine-page guide to ‘making’ the holidays a pleasure 62 COVER STORY St Catherines’s Day “Please send me lord, a well to-do husband”
CONCEPT textiles in fine art 48 Shiny, happy people The art of Geraldine Larkin, Ann Carrington and Donya Coward 69 Wit and wisdom Our word perfect competition winner reveals the work of Richard Saja
ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends 22 Plain speaking Poetic fashion from Swedish designer Ewa Iwalla
COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed 72 COVER STORY Eccentric circles J Morgan Puett’s simple life in Mildred’s lane
GLOBAL travel destinations and ethnographic textiles 55 Ghulam Sakina and Wales Red dragons, blue hills, green valleys
in f o r
INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings
04 bias /contributors 05 correspondence 07 news 11 sustain 19 how to... knit a pair of gloves 52 COVER STORY Tinsel 84 international listings Exhibitions, fairs, events 86 read Books for fashionistas,
adverturers, dandies or homebodies who have everything. 88 view Eva Hesse, Maharajas, Thomas Wardle, Rijswijk Textile Biennial 93 resources 80 subscription offers Savings, gift subscriptions and a pretty calender from Egg Press for subscribers and renewals
81 SUBSCRIBE TO SELVEDGE 83 Selvedge event Join us at our London shop for an advent celebration. Enjoy glass of ginger wine and spiced biscuits while you shop. Free gift wrapping on the day... 95 coming next The Altitude Issue: Classic and rarified textiles
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s e l v e d g e . o r g