Full refund within 30 days if you're not completely satisfied.
15 Wait a cotton-pickin’ minute... Miscellaneous facts and anecdotes about cotton. Illustrated by AnnCarrington’sdenimquilt,BlueJeansUSA 16 Route 41 road trip essentials You can only fit a little case (56 x 45 x 25cm) in your overhead locker so being selective when you pack has never been more important! 19 How to make a vintage style swimsuit A free downloadable pattern from BurdaStyle – the online community for people who sew 29 COVER STORY Stamp collector Adrian Wilson reveals his rare collection of textile trademarks salvaged from cloth merchants offices in Manchester 75 COVER STORY Guiding Hand Vintage swimwear Retro bathing suits have never been more fashionable or collectable JulieHarrisadealerinvintagesportswearshowsthreefromhercollection. 76 Childlike Wovenplay designer Katherine Edmonds weaves together imagination and skill in her New York studio. PhotographerRinneAllenarrangedaplaydatetoviewherchildren’sclothingline thatincludescostumesandimaginativeplayclothes
INDUSTRY from craft to commerce
36 Global threads How Coats and Clark conquered the world. RegularSelvedgecontributorSarah Jane Downing traces the evolution of America's number one name in sewing and needlecraft productsfromfamilybusinesstocorporategiant 54 Home office The Brahms Mount way to achieve a work/life balance. Stylish sisters Lucy and RinneAllenvisitacoupleinHallowell,Mainewhocan’tavoidtakingtheirworkhomewiththem 66 Main Street USA The best stores Stateside. Selvedgeoffersawishlistofshopswe’dlovetovisit whenwenextcrosstheAtlantic,illustratedbyEmilySutton
ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives
26 COVER STORY The Lancashire Cotton Famine The impact of the American Civil War, 1861-1865, on British Industry. WeexploreamovingbutlittleknownpartofBritishtextilehistory 50 The Basket Weavers Try some fried chicken, pork chops or shrimp. CharlestonbasedartistOscar Vickillustratessomesoutherndelicacies 52 Fly home Laura Hamilton’s new company Bird in the Hand has revived the bold, bright fabrics of Textiles of Jamaica and given them new life. See pg93 for details of where to buy her newly launched‘breadfruit’bags 73 Curator’s Choice Lee Talbot, Curator of Eastern Hemisphere Collections at the Textile Museum in Washington DC, selects an embroidered chair cover from 18th-century China. 96 Twisted love Marlinespike Chandlery. Rinne Allen introduces us to Timothy Whitten, a craftsmankeepingropeworktechniquesandtraditionsalive
CONCEPT textiles in fine art
THE BEST STORES STATESIDE Main Street USA
dosa 818 has several roles. Retail, studio and installation space are combined on the top floor of the Wurlitzer building in Los Angeles. The six-thousand square foot space not only houses the complete dosa collection; it contains a growing archive of Christina's creative process. In many ways, dosa
818 is a show and tell space that catalogues ideas and objects. Twice a year an installation is curated by Christina and Jennifer Cheh. New collections are shown with a few surprises – past styles are mixed in and there is an ever changing collection of one-of-akind objects. www.dosainc.com
The name, Asiatica, tells part of the story – Asian things. At first Fifi White and Elizabeth Wilson offered Chinese and Japanese antiques. Now they offer clothes made from antique kimono cloth or Nuno fabrics in their shop in Kansas City and at trunk shows in cities across the US. www.asiaticakc.com
Matta sits on the edge of Manhattan’s Nolita neighbourhood. This jewelbox of colour houses hand-picked garments, jewellery and home accessories, many of them designed by Cristina Gitti, Matta’s founder. Gitti’s ethnicinspired designs hang from the rails in a tangle of colour and pattern, playing off the other offerings from likeminded designers. The wares are sorted by shade, so one can gravitate to the colourblock of choice; or decide to ramble across the whole rainbow, seduced by the range of tints and textures. www.mattany.com
John Derian’s highly collectable decoupage designs cover bell jars, bowls, platters and paperweights and are the staple items in his popular New York store. Work by Julie Arkel and odd treasures such as handmade copper vegetables keep Derian company and interest alive. www.johnderian.com
French General began 13 years ago in a small barn on the Hudson River. Open once a month, the barn was stocked with the treasures Kaari and Molly Meng would discover at the flea markets in France – 19th-century hemp and linen sheets, silk ribbon, millinery flowers, buttons and beads.
In 2003, French General packed up their bags and headed west to Los Angeles where French General blossomed into a new notion – an inspiration workshop. Open one day a week, French General still stocks antique French textiles and notions – but the atmosphere is one of discovery and learning. Workshops are held on jewellery-making, flowermaking and paper crafts. In 2008, Kaari began designing a line of quilting fabrics for Moda based on her collection of 18thand 19th-century florals, tickings and vichy checks (See Selvedge issue 27, pg 42.) www.frenchgeneral.com
Bell’occhio is tucked away on a back street in San Francisco. Its name means ‘beautiful eye’ and Claudia Schwartz certainly has that. She’s been enchanting customers with her otherworldly wares for 22 years. Visit if you need powder puffs, goat hair brushes or Provençal straw hats. www.bellocchio.com
Bent into shape AMERICAN BASKET TRADITIONS HOLD THEIR OWN IN HISTORY
Nantucket Lightship Baskets: North East Plain, utilitarian but gracefully proportioned, the Nantucket Lightship Basket, like its place of origin, enjoys a reputation that far exceeds its size.
Nantucket, an island 30 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is just 14 miles in length and 3 1/2 miles wide. It was known to the native Wampanoag tribe as “The Faraway Land” and has been a popular summer colony since the 1880s. Yet Nantucket in winter is a starker, bleaker place and it was its ongoing battle with the surrounding sea that helped shape and make famous the Nantucket Lightship Baskets.
Isolated by thirty miles of water the island was once one of the major whaling ports in North America. The many ships sailing to and from the island had to avoid the Nantucket Shoals, a stretch of dangerously shallow water. To protect them the New South Shoal Lightship, a floating lighhouse, was placed in service in 1856. Manning a lightship was a dangerous and dispiriting task. Crews had to cope with the possiblity of being sunk and endure months of isolation when relief ships could not reach them with supplies. To occupy the hours after their onboard tasks were finished the crew would weave baskets. The pieces they made were orginally known as rattan baskets and were modelled on the wooden splint baskets made by Native Indians – although local historian Martha Lawrence points out another influence, the cooper's barrel, which was vital to the whaling economy of the island.
A key aspect of their construction was a slotted wooden base into which hardwood staves were inserted. The framework was woven with rattan over a round or oval mould. The nesting baskets are perhaps the most skillful examples.
Today, a contemporary makers faithfully craft these classic baskets while as fine examples of folk art, antique lightship baskets sell for thousands at auction. Nantucket Lightship Basket Museum, 49 Union Street, Nantucket, MA, T: + 1 508 228 1177, www.nantucketlightshipbasketmuseum.org
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Cedar Bark Baskets: North West Along the North West coast of British Columbia, in the interior valleys and low mountain slopes south of Prince George, the cedar tree flourishes in all its glory. These enormous trees grow to heights of up to two hundred and fifty feet and have trunks that measure up to ten feet in diameter.
The cedar is valued for its distinctive appearance, aroma, and high natural resistance to decay. This resistance along with its straight grain, light weight and thin fibrous bark make the cedar invaluable to the Aboriginal Peoples of British Columbia.
The red cedar is the most commonly found species. The less prominent yellow cedar is prized for its bark but less so for its wood. From these two types of cedar Aboriginal People obtained the materials to provide them with shelter, clothing, tools and storage. This versatility meant the “Tree of Life”, as the cedar was known, gained sacred status.
Cedar bark baskets were used to transport and store goods, the tightly woven baskets could even hold water.
In her book Cedar: Tree of Life to the Northwest Coast Indians Hilary Stewart explains that it was the inner bark of the cedar that had a role in basketry. “It was used either as warp, weft or occasionally both. Often it was combined with cedar roots, withes or some other fibre. Baskets with both warp and weft of cedar bark were usually neither rigid nor watertight. Weaving the strands in diagonal plaiting gave great flexibility to the work producing large, folding, sacklike bags.”
The decorative devices on cedar bark baskets are usually restricted to geometric patterns using coloured bark strands but despite this restraint their beauty continues to inspire makers, directly, in the baskets and clothing woven by Lisa Telford who was taught by her aunt, the well-known Haida basket-maker Delores Churchill, and indirectly, in the sculptural forms crafted by artist Dorothy Gill Barnes from bark, branches and roots. Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Northeast 45th Street, Seattle, WA 98195, USA T: +1 (206) 543 5590, www.washington.edu s e l v e d g e . o r g
Life’s rich tapestry JOIN MAGNOLIA PEARL’S CARAVAN OF LOVE
Some people won't have peacock feathers in the house, won't even handle them, for fear of the bad luck they may bring, but Robin Pearl Brown, founder and driving force behind the winsome and romantic fashion and interior brand, Magnolia Pearl, has no such reservations. In fact, being surrounded by the shimmering plumage of four hundred peacocks is a formative memory for Robin.
The unlikely scenario occurred in one of Robin’s many childhood homes (it was a nomadic early life) – a five-hundred acre ranch in Forestville, California. Robin's parents, a painter and a textile artist, were also the caretakers of the property and the family lived in a two storey Victorian house – the unusual part of the arrangement was the ostentation of peacocks that roamed the estate.
The impression they made on Robin was deep: “To me, this was just about the closest thing to heaven on earth. Imagine beautiful rolling hills of yellow daffodils and the iridescent purples, blues, and greens of hundreds of peacocks swarming down those hills. You can understand the effect that would have on somebody's colour sense.” But Robin didn't just look on “I loved playing with the peacocks,” she explains, “I could get them to follow me wherever I went. I would walk around in my oversized silk kimono with the pockets stuffed with kibble, herding them closer and closer to the house with a stick, until one day they wert in. To me, this was the most beautiful sight: peacocks on all the furniture, brightly coloured tails hanging down the stove, birds walking up and down the stairs, all the while calling out to each other in that haunting, lovely way. I couldn't wait for my father to get home so that I could show him my accomplishment.”
Artistic though both her parents were, her father wasn't in awe of the arrangement, “He hastily told me to evict my flock of feathered friends.” Was such a child ever going to grow up into a restrained or conventional character? Both nature and nurture made it virtually impossible. Today Robin is the heart – not “at the heart” but the beating heart – of a company that takes extravagance as a starting point and builds from there.
Another thing people are afraid of, even more than peacock feathers, is being looked at or judged; it makes them afraid to wear flowers in their hair. But Robin, as her partner John Gray points out, has art in her blood and was born to do it. Stepping outside to weave a wreath of blooms for her hair from the “unkempt but beautiful jungle” that surrounds the Magnolia Pearl homestead is a regular way for her to start the day. “Most women”, John concludes sadly, “are too steeped in insecurity to make the leap. They prefer to blend in, be part of the dull ‘stew pot’ of black polyester fashion.” What would Robin say? “She’d tell them to stop hiding the more beautiful you”.
There is a slightly evangelical air to the Magnolia Pearl company – both John and Robin are firm believers in God and the innate spirituality in all people – but if they are keen to spread the word about Robin’s work it is because they have seen its power in action. “We’ve seen the expression on women’s faces when they put on one of Robin’s dresses – the joy.” explains John. “They come out of the changing room and look to their friends for approval but I tell them to look in the mirror, to think for themselves. That’s when they smile, or laugh out loud.”
As ever it is the converts to the brand that are the most zealous – the comments from awe-struck devotees on ‘Magnolia Pearl Style’, the company’s You Tube channel, could make you blush. But the ongoing success and growth of the business is due to precisely this reaction. “It is the compliments customers hear when they wear Magnolia Pearl that drives the business” says John.
The experience of these women, who “buy for the beauty then discover the comfort”, may be at the
in d u s t r y llen inne A
“Home is where the art is.” The founders of Brahms Mount Textiles, Noel Mount and Claudia Brahms have adopted this belief by living and working under the same roof. A pair of historic buildings double as the home and headquarters of their traditional but design-led weaving business. Their Maine location provides a fertile ground to explore and refine weaving techniques that combine the best of art and science.
The couple met whilst working at a large textile manufacturer in Maine; Noel as a dye specialist, Claudia as a designer. In 1983, “with staunch hearts, good backs and excessive positive attitude,” the newly married couple launched their own textile line. After exploring central Maine on motorbike with the goal of finding “a large, cheap space in which to make a mess,” they stumbled upon the proper place to cultivate their ideas, the former site of Hallowell Granite Works. They purchased and renovated the buildings, constructed in 1866, and built a mill overlooking the Kennebec River, upstream from where merchant ships once docked to trade Maine textiles around the globe.
They each brought to the budding partnership specific strengths. Originally hailing from the UK, as a teen Noel Mount had worked as a jig dyer in his father's company. Since then, his lifelong involvement with textiles has spanned the globe. Also immersed in the industry from a young age, Claudia Brahms pursued an education in textile design and textile science which now fuels her role as chief designer.
Starting with just two in-house weavers, one of whom was Claudia herself, they married their technical backgrounds with simple observations: “We like a comfortable bed… we love cohesive, well-made fabrics… bedding must be easy to launder, retain body heat, and move moisture in order to be truly comfortable.” Acknowledging the possibilities for wellmade, natural fibre bedding, they fused Claudia's experimentations and Noel's enthusiasm and technical knowledge to develop something practical, comfortable and beautiful: a four-season cotton knit blanket for the American market. The new blanket was recognised as pioneering, and to meet demand production facilities grew to include four antique looms restored by Mount and powered by the able hands of two long-term workers.
Both Brahms and Mount now share many other duties, a natural occurrence in most small ventures; lines blur after working together for so long. As they describe it, “The mill works like a Swiss clock due to well coordinated efforts, daily meetings, honest interactions. We are like a team of athletes, or a band of musicians, we communicate with each other in a progressive manner that we feel is unusual for most management.”
In early 2009 this harmonious unit was ‘adopted’ by David Kaufman who bought Brahms Mount out of a love for the beauty of these fine fabrics. Claudia and Noel continue to devote themselves to design and manufacturing and collaboratively develop and produce the range which now includes linen towels, blankets, scarves and throws – all in natural fibres.
The products are innovative, each designed with equal doses of “comfort and practicality” but the essence of Brahms Mount is encapsulated in their idyllic locale. The contrast of wind-worn wooden buildings and older looms with their soft output of woven blankets is fitting. Contemporary efficiencies and old fashioned attitudes create an elegance that is indicative of Maine itself. Mount knows why: “The place provides an atmosphere and a vision that enters the fabric.” Lucy Allen and Rinne Allen Brahms Mount Textiles, 19 Central Street, Hallowell, Maine, 04347, USA T: 1 800 545 9347 www.brahmsmount.com s e l v e d g e . o r g 52
industry selv edge.org
HOW BIRD IN THE HAND REVIVED THE TEXTILES OF JAMAICA
They say you can’t go back, that the past is a foreign country but Laura Hamilton ignored conventional wisdom and set out to revisit memories of her childhood in Jamaica. And what began as nostalgia became a fresh direction and a new company.
When Laura thought of her early island life it was the colours and textures of the place that came to mind. She grew up in a home decorated with “Textiles of Jamaica”, bold printed fabrics that captured the essence of the vibrant Carribean country. Her mother bought her cloth direct from a factory near the small town of May Pen and made all her curtains and furnishings, even Laura’s party dresses from it. Finding out more about the cloth was one of the things that drew Laura back home but “Textiles of Jamaica” proved to be an enigmatic entity.
The company was set up in 1966 by Jamaican William Wilkerson and American Bernard Futterman. They screen printed fabrics, first on heavy cotton drill then on muslins and cottons, in a rural factory using a pool of local artists. This much can be relied on; then history descends into conjecture. By 1967 it was said that prestigious New York stores such as Lord and Taylor and Bergdorf Goodman stocked the cloth. The flourishing company was sold to Bob Lightbourne who oversaw further expansion. The giddy heights of speculation peak in unconfirmed reports of a European order worth millions reported by the Jamaican Gleaner Newspaper in 1986. The sober reality is that during that decade a fire destroyed the factory which was abandoned to rain, theft and encroaching wildlife. In 1986 the company was declared bankrupt.
These were the pieces of the story that Laura managed to patch together after her mother’s death in 2001. But it wasn’t just information that had to be reconstructed, when Laura decided to re-issue the colourful fabrics that had been so central to her childhood, under the new company name of Bird in the Hand, she discovered the only way to recreate certain patterns was to unpick clothes made from the last pieces and tape the cloth back together to find the repeat. “I tracked down my mother’s friends – some no longer in Jamaica but in Canada, Spain and the UK. From them came cushions, scraps from sewing cupboards, curtains still hanging, and tablecloths still in use. They also sent their memories, “everyone remembered it fondly”, she smiles.
Back in England, Laura met Jane George daughter of Eleanor Woodford, one of the original Textiles of Jamaica artists. Jane recalled sneaking back into the burnt down factory to help her mother rescue her paintings. Jane gave the surviving portfolio of delicate gouaches of leaves and flowers to Laura who has breathed new life into them. Redrawn and repainted, the designs have the freshness of the originals and have been printed by hand on the finest Belgian linen and cotton. This summer Bird in the Hand is launching the first in a proposed line of bags – a large summer ‘Breadfruit’ bag.
Route 41 ROAD TRIP ESSENTIALS
1st row: Skincare products, from £7.40, Neal's Yard Remedies, T: (0)84 5262 3145, www.nealsyardremdies.com, Worksmock coat, £545 made to order, Universal Utility, T: 0207 249 5295, Pin striped trousers, £450, Universal Utility, as above, Péro gingham dress, £315, Selvedge T: +44 (0)20 8341 9721, www.selvedge.org, Khadi & Co dress, £340, Egg, T: +44 (0)20 7235 9315, www.eggtrading.eu, Dosa dress, £500, Egg as above, Peasant shirt £395 Universal Utiility as above, www.loupcharmant.com 2nd row: Luisa Cevese Riedizioni washbag, £50, Selvedge as above, Péro shirt dress, £240, Few and Far, T: +44 (0)20 7225 7070, www.fewandfar.net, Fabric notebooks, from £4.95, Few and Far as above, Telephone purse £18 Terisa Green T: +44 (0)1509261691, www.teresagreen.co.uk, Throw, £200, Egg as above, Skirt, €610, Daniela Gregis, T: +39 (0)35 236 833, www.danielagregis.com, 3rd row: Ghaggo shirt dress, £250, Few and Far as above, Luisa Cevese Riedizioni travel bag, £300, Selvedge as above, Selvedge Magazine, £10, Selvedge as above, Côté Bastide towels, from £7.50, Selvedge as above Dobby spot pyjamas, £39, Toast, T: +44 (0)84 4557 5200, www.toast.co.uk, Dosa tunic, £240, trousers, £140, Egg as above, Love Bengaluru book, £17.99, Selvedge as above, 4th row: Swimsuit, £62, Red or Dead, T: +44 (0)19 2380 4458, www.redordead.com, Striped socks, from £28.50, Daniela Gregis, Selvedge as above, Polka-dot scarf, £18, Bonpoint, T: +44 (0)20 7235 1441, www.bonpoint.com,Trousers €295, Daniela Gregis as above, Oktomat Camera, £35, Lomography, T: +1 21 259 4353, www.lomography.com, Péro scarf, £249, Selvedge as above, Bracelets, from 50p from a market in India 5th row: Voil pirate shirt, £425, Universal Utility as above, Underwear, from £20, Hanro, T: +43 (0)55 23 5050, www.hanro.com Crop top, £34.50, Hanro as above Crop top, £40, Hanro as above, Darby twisted seagrass hat, £220, Egg as above, Travel Journals, £9.75, Suki, T: +44 (0)12 7354 2600, www.suki.co.uk, Casey Vidalenc coat £680, Egg as above, 6th row: Bensimon canvas lace ups, £27.95, Bohemia, T: +44 (0)13 1447 2630, www.bohemiadesign.co.uk, Mixed fruit travel sweets (200g), £2, Smith Kendon, T: +44 (0)12 0685 5547, www.sweetstall.com, Cashmere scarf, £125, Khadi & Co, Selvedge as above, Clogs, £30, Torpatoffeln, T: +46 4727 0683, www.torpatoffeln.se, British passport, £77.50, Passport Office, T: +44 (0)84 5722 3344, www.postoffice.co.uk, Gingham bag, €295, Daniela Gregis as above Péro gingham dress, £280, Selvedge as above.
lge indu selv edge.org
Why the merchant side of the huge Manchester fabric trade has had almost no recognition is a mystery. Without merchants, who came to Manchester from all over the world to buy fabric for their home markets, there would not have been seven million miles of fabric exported from Manchester in 1913. And mill owners could never have stated: “We make for England before breakfast and for the rest of the world after.”
In fact, in the 1880s up to 85% of all cotton fabric bought in the world came from Manchester. And while factory workers are the subject of plentiful research, merchants are often dismissed as greedy capitalists – certainly, when I showed the trademarks and labels to Manchester City Art Gallery, I was told they had no merit as they were “commercial art”. But manufacturing and sales cannot exist without each other.
So why did trademarks become so important to textile merchants? There are descriptions of cloth being wrapped in paper with an image of a “gaudy elephant” on it by the Royal African Company in the late 1600s. Fabric trademarks are described in a book from the 1600s titled “Tillot Blocks” which it is said is the technical term for these blocks – although no research I made or merchants I met ever used this term.
A large amount of fabric was white, plain dyed or of a pattern that could not be attributed to a particular manufacturer. These were the days when the fabric industry was still learning its craft. Some weaves of fustian mixes of cotton and linen would shrink, natural dyes were not fast, and printing could be crude to say the least. On top of that, fabric was sold in pieces which could be shorter than described or be inferior copies of good quality designs.
Merchants created trademarks that were printed on the front of each fabric piece sold so buyers could be loyal to a trusted brand.
The ink used was water soluble, so it could be removed without losing any fabric length and there would be a small bolt or “truth” stamp printed on the back to show the length was as described. Later, paper labels called “shipper's tickets” would be stuck on the fabric but they were a more decorative device that supplemented the printed trademark.
Trademarks had to be recognisable and appealing to the potential customer and once a design became well known and trusted by buyers, it was, according to one writer, “a very important feature of the shipping trade, and often a curious artistic production, jealously guarded in its copyright".
After the expiration of the charter trade monopolies held by the East India, Royal African and Levant companies, immigrant merchants flocked to Manchester to make their fortune in the only free trade market in the world. Other countries such as France and Switzerland strictly banned the sale of all cloth except their own but Manchester took the opposite view and became the clearing house for fabric made anywhere and sold everywhere. Add to this the defeat of Napoleon which enabled British merchant ships to sail without naval protection, plus the technological advantage of the English factory system and it was obvious that the early 19th century was a perfect time to be a Manchester fabric merchant.
John Mortimer, who wrote an excellent account of “Mercantile Manchester” in Henry Bannerman & Sons’ diary of 1896, has left us with an interesting report of the various businesses operating from a typical Manchester packing house: “In one case they are interested in the Baghdad and Persian trade, and that at their desks are busy clerks brought hither because of their knowledge of Arabic. Here again you have a firm engaged in transactions with India and China, another deals with Mexico, Central America, Venezuela, the West Indies and Australia. Then, in a further case, the sphere of operations includes the Levant, Constantinople, the north coast of Africa and Malta.” While Mr Mortimer mentions just four companies, the ‘Shipping Guide’ for the port of Manchester states, that: “In the city there are 800 merchants engaged in negotiating shipments of merchandise to and from all parts of the world.”
Inevitably, with so many merchants and such a large market, creating an original and memorable trademark would become incredibly difficult. The closer that illustration would relate to the culture of the target market, the better the chance of a sale, so trademarks could depict Indian deities, Chinese mythology or African proverbs. Export Trade images were almost completely figurative in design by necessity rather than as decoration, as many customers were illiterate and could only order their favoured cloth by describing a trade mark rather than giving a brand name.
To be successful in distant markets a merchant had to use an image which would be positive, memorable and familiar to the customer. It was vital not to offend so the merchant would draw ideas from associates and customers in his chosen market and also amass ethnographic maps of the region, keep A
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Golden girl ERICA TANOV IS LIVING THE DREAM
It’s reassuring when a designer practises what they preach. A minimalist designer shouldn’t live surrounded by clutter and conversely we wouldn’t expect an interior guru who extols the virtues of vintage and country house charm to retreat to a bare loft conversion at the end of the day. So it feels like ‘all’s right with the world’ when we discover that Erica Tanov really does live the All-American dream that her relaxed collections so clearly convey.
While Erica’s designs are all-american it’s not a static stereotype. A Californian girl who studied in New York but returned to the San Francisco Bay to set up her business, Erica draws on her neighbourhood for inspiration but constantly shifts her point of view, moving through time so that one collection will feature tousled ‘Huckleberry Finn’ girls that would be at home in a Mark Twain novel, while another references cool Hitchcock heroines that could have stepped from the set of Vertigo.
What unites the collections is the prints and a love of cloth – Erica designs her patterns, oversees printing and the transformation of cloth to clothing. She explains, “textures, colours and patterns are what excite me most. Creating my prints – whether from my own drawings and paintings or reworking vintage finds finds (scraps of paper, fabric, a dish s e l v e d g e . o r g
A true original THE NEW ORLEANS HOME OF MARY COOPER
Mary Cooper's style is one of obligation and appreciation. Not only did she restore her 1830s New Orleans home to near-original condition, but she has filled it with pieces that pay homage to its history and others that are adored for what they are.
The house dictated what it should have, Cooper says. The plainness of floor plan and architecture compelled Cooper to decorate appropriately, sparsely. Curtains made from linen sheets hang on cast iron rods shaped from an original Cooper found in a trash pile in the French
Quarter. The light linens billow with the breeze and act as a casual mosquito net.
Towels with a delicate fringe and detailed dishes aren't reserved for guests but used everyday. “I buy things that I like and try not to think about what they're worth,” Cooper says. One of her most valuable possessions is a red colander she bought at a market in Paris and carried with her all day while travelling the city. Sundries are kept in glass jars on open shelving instead of buried in cupboards. Pots, pans and cooking utensils hang on the walls. “I forget what I have if I don't see it,”
iTara Sgro ley and rad
Sara Essex B
Cooper says. “If it's not out, I wouldn't use it.”
The Creole people who built the house lived simply, a way of life Cooper aspires to follow. The house was built without central air or heat and does not have those amenities today. The home relies on breezes through open windows to cool down and sunshine and kitchen heat to warm up.
The open-air room at the rear of the house is where Cooper relaxes, entertains and works. She's a well-known chair caner in New Orleans and Louisiana, who got her start by chance. While visiting California 36 years ago, she attended a
60 Bent into shape American baskets can hold their own. We look at the history of four classic basketsfromthefourcornersofthestates
ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends
38 COVER STORY Golden girl San Francisco based fashion designer Erica Tanov is living the dream. PhotographedbyEricaShires 56 COVER STORY Life’s rich tapestry Join Magnolia Pearl’s caravan of love. BethSmithisseducedby the Texancharmofthisromanticfashionandinteriorcompany
COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed
44 COVER STORY A true original The New Orlean’s home of chair caner Mary Cooper. Photographer TaraSgroidiscoveredMaryCooper’shomeonafashionshootforPeruvianConnection.
GLOBAL travel destinations and ethnographic textiles
22 COVER STORY Cotton on... A history of this world-changing fibre, from field to factory. Anedited extractfromTheHistoryofCottonbytheSouthCarolinaCottonMuseumwithimagesfromtheCliff Smithpostcardcollection
INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings 03 bias /contributors A letter from the editor-in-chief and comments from contributors 09 news essential textile news: Made by Tender Co, Merci, Khadi & Co, Men of Cloth, Warp and Weft, Betsy Ross, stamps, maps and European patchwork 80 subscription offers A Lotta Jansdotter sewing kit for new subscribers and renewals
81 SUBSCRIBE TO SELVEDGE 86 international listings Exhibitions, fairs and events 84 read High Style Fashion from the Brooklyn Museum, Exquisite Fabrics: Chinese Weaving and Embroidery Patterns, 88 view American Woman: Fashioning a National Identity, Art by the Yard: Women Design in Mid-Century Britain, Jerwood Contemporary makers
91 preview Museumakers: Unlocking the creative potential of museum collections – Eleanor Pritchard, Susie MacMurray and Timorous Beasties 92 resources Websites and reading lists for those who want to know more about the Independence Issue 95 coming next The Legacy Issue: Looking back or leaping forward
Win 07 A trip to Château Dumas in France Complete our online survey and you’’ll be entered for the draw 80 Big Chill Tickets Send a postcard to enter our draw for a pair of tickets worth £155 each 80 Rose Red and Blue Kit Hop to it and win one of six charming frog kits for children. 80 Starch Green Prepare for Autumn by winning a pretty jam labelling kit worth £15
SELVEDGE ('selnid3 ) n. 1. finished di fferently 2. the non-fraying edge of a length of woven fabric. [: from SELF + EDGE]