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12 Noteworthy Festivals and shows not to be missed. 15 Clear purpose Give us the tools, and we will finish the job... Editor-in-Chief Polly Leonard foundbeautifulsculpturaltextiletoolsattheConvergenceconferenceinAlbuquerque. 47 COVER STORY Symbiotic Anthropologie fill their shops with carefully chosen goods, one-off pieces and the fruits of their relationship with independent designers. 19 How to... Be part of The Campaign for Wool by making a pretty knitted rug with Rowan’s Purelife British Sheep breeds - Patternavailabletodownloadfrom1stOctober. 79 Fabric swatch A new feature on obscure fabrics, No. 1 serge SarahJaneDowningtracksdown earlyreferencestothisoncecommonplacewoolcloth.IllustratedbyDebbiePowell.
INDUSTRY from craft to commerce
20 COVER STORY Returning to the fold Wool is a fibre with friends in high places and has plans to make more... LizFarrellyfindsoutwhyhighprofilefiguressuchasHRHThePrinceofWalesare championingawoolrevivalandhowyoucanhelp. 49 London Design Festival Diaries at the ready as Origin, Decorex, 100% Design, Tent London et al return to the capital to showcase new talent and favourites from the past.
ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives
37 COVER STORY Scrap of a thing 18th century textile tokens from the Foundling Museum. Shelly Goldsmithuncoversthetinytextilefragmentsthatareouronlytangiblelinktothethousands ofunwantedbabiesthatpassedthroughtheFoundlingHospital. 96 Faithful flock The architectural splendour of the wool churches. SarahJaneDowningsurveys thelinksbetweenthewoolindustryandsomeofBritain’smostbeautifulchurches.
CONCEPT textiles in fine art
29 Jones the book Drawing at the National Wool Museum, Carmarthenshire, Wales made by artist in residence, Julia Griffiths Jones.
ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends
42 COVER STORY Life’s Werk: Eley Kishimoto “"Collaboration" says Mark Eley, "was in our DNA from the moment we met." CynthiaRosefindsouthowthesefashiondesignerskeepthingsfresh. 60 COVER STORY Foraging for fashion GönülPaksoyapproachesartfromadifferentangle,incorporatingallthatsheknowsaboutscience,cookeryanddesign.
Representing the construction insulation sector within the campaign, Christine Armstrong offers a truly radical use for wool, albeit one that is centuries old. She's managing director of Second Nature UK Limited, whose Thermafleece product is an industry leader.
When they started, back in 2001, most coarse wool produced in the UK was being burnt. “I wondered why wool insulation was imported from New Zealand when what we had on our doorstep was going to waste,” says Christine: “That was the main motivation.”
Second Nature use 100 percent British wool in their natural products, the advantages of which are manifold. As loft insulation, wool absorbs moisture and condensation; it's fire retardant, melting away from flames it only ignites at 600 oC; it's durable, lasting longer than conventional insulation, which reduces its environmental impact and the cost of replacement; plus it helps builders achieve a better environmental rating for their projects. The short answer is, it simply performs better than any synthetic product.
That alone didn't guarantee success. With long-term connections to hill farming, Christine was inspired by the plight of farmers. She explains: “Establishing Second Nature has mirrored the struggles of the Fellside farmers. I
underestimated the complexities of the supply chain and the wool, manufacturing and sustainable construction industries in the UK.” The upshot of seeking out advice and innovative solutions is that Second Nature has become an exemplar of environmental responsibility, “without compromising quality or performance”.
Finding profitable ways to use fleece also safeguards a way of life that has been handed down through generations. Those that work the land aren’t asking for special treatment based on nostalgia – as Mark Jones, a shepherd in the Lakeland Hills, points out, not to do it “is just a waste, it’s a natural resource on our doorstep and better then chemical alternatives.” Mark began working with a flock when he was twelve years old and, despite the seven day weeks it’s a job he loves; “no two days are the same,” he explains. The work changes with the seasons and the sheep wander over a thousand acres – although they are “hefted to the fell” which means taught by their mothers not to stray.
Mark’s eight-year-old son Matthew is already working with him at weekends and during holidays, for now at least, his ambition is to follow in his Dad’s footsteps because he “loves the animals”. Let’s hope the flock is thriving when the time comes for him to take over.
Another hill flock is being tended by Pauline and
Dick Beijen at Seale Stoke Farm, Devon. The couple downsized from busy careers but their canny business sense is still in evidence – the fleeces from their Texel sheep are transformed into cosy, wool-filled duvets.
The idea of woollen duvets came to them when they moved near Buckfastleigh, which was once a great wool town and still has a mill. The couple realised that as tastes changed, and we moved from blankets to duvets, the UK began importing feather, down and synthetic fillers. The Beijens wondered if modern technology could process wool
03 Christine Armstrong
04 Pauline and Dick Beijen
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A degree of flexibility is required if you decide to make your living as an artist. Being open to ideas and opportunities can be more important than a rigid career plan. Julia Griffiths Jones, an artist whose figurative wirework sculptures have been described as ‘embroideries in air’, became the National Wool Museum’s artist in-residence almost by accident. She simply asked permission to sketch in the galleries. That question led to five commissioned textile pieces, which led to a contemporary art trail in the museum, which led to an Arts Council of Wales grant to produce a hand-stitched, digitally printed wool book and, for the artist, a renewed desire to concentrate on drawing. It’s amazing where that first step can take you...
The body of Julia’s earlier work has been wire sculptures but the pieces for the Wool Museum are flat textile works, digitally printed and stitched, some have an overlaid tracery of wire work. To create them Julia observed life in the museum and the attached working mill, Melin Teifi. The Dobby and Jacquard looms were a source of fascination – an interest captured in her wool book but which doesn’t end there. Although Julia’s residency is now complete she has been inspired by the structural, mechanical shapes of the looms and the history of careful labour they represent and plans to continue down this new path. Limited edition digitally printed wool book, £40, www.juliagriffithsjones.co.uk s e l v e d g e . o r g
Foundling 27 ‘Purple and white printed linen sleeves turned up red and white’. A girl, admitted 25 March 1741. Given the name Margaret Bentick by the Foundling Hospital. Died 6 April 1741.
Foundling 374 ‘Flowered cotton’. Cotton printed with flowers. A girl, admitted 18 December 1747. Named Sabrina Rose by the Foundling Hospital. Died, probably 25 May 1754.
Foundling 11337 ‘Purpel and white flowered cotten’. Cotton printed in small floral designs. A boy, admitted 25 January 1759. Named John Hammersmith by the Foundling Hospital. Apprenticed 26 July 1769 to Mr Maycock, farmer of Thornton, Cheshire.
Foundling 11877 ‘Flowered lining’. Linen printed with flowers. A boy about 1 month old, admitted 5 March 1759. Named Felix Dodd by the Foundling Hospital. Died 11 July 1759.
Foundling 170 ‘A bunch of 4 ribbons narrow – Yellow, Blue, Green, & Pink’. Silk ribbons tied in a bunch with a knot. A girl, admitted 9 December 1743. Given the name Pamela Townley by the Foundling Hospital. Died 1 September 1746.
Foundling 1254 ‘A piece of blue silk pin’d on ye Breast’. A girl, admitted 29 May 1755. Named Anne Robinson by the Foundling Hospital. Died as a child, date unknown.
Foundling 11868 ‘Flowered lawn’. Lawn printed with flowers. Lawn was one of the finest linens. A girl, about 1 day old, admitted 4 March 1759. Named Sarah Tucker by the Foundling Hospital. Died 9 March 1759
Foundling 12843 ‘Flannel the bottom worked’. Flannel embroidered with a flower. Boy aged about 9 months, admitted 19 May 1759. Named Theodosius Williamson by the Foundling Hospital. Apprenticed 24 May 1769 to Hugh Morgan, bricklayer of Barking, Essex. A Theodosius Williamson married Phoebe Lawrence at St Leonard’s church, Shoreditch, London on 29 October 1776.
Opening in 1741, the Foundling Hospital in London took in the babies of unmarried women. Not a hospital in the true sense, the Foundling Hospital provided ‘Maintenance and Education for Exposed and Deserted Young Children’, a home, an education, it also offered the mothers a chance to return to their former lives and perhaps regain some form of respectability in the community.
Its campaigning founder the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram returned from years at sea and was appalled by the plight and neglect of children left to die on the streets of London. He received a Royal Charter from King George II to establish the hospital in 1739, and to ensure its survival he enlisted the help of prominent men of the time. The artist William Hogarth donated a number of his paintings which were housed in the Hospital. Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough also gave works. George Frederic Handel performed his "Messiah" on a regular basis to help raise money for the work of the Hospital. Handel was so committed to Coram's charitable endeavours that he left a fair copy of the Messiah to the Hospital in his will.
London in the 18th century saw a high incidence of abandoned babies and infanticide. Poverty stricken women deserted their babies along the roadside or in the doorways of workhouses and churches. The Foundling Hospital offered hope to women and children who would have perished left to their own devices.
From 1741 to 1756, women leaving their babies at the Foundling Hospital were invited to leave a token with the child as a means of identification should they ever be in the unlikely position to return and reclaim them. These eclectic ‘tokens’ include buttons, thimbles, half a coin, a hazelnut but the most compelling are the textiles; swatches cut from the clothes of the mothers and babies; a gown cut in half, a scrap tied to the child’s wrist or a ribbon cockade left with a young boy.
These textile fragments, held at present in billet books at the London Metropolitan Archives, are too fragile to be on permanent display. They have been touched by few and still bear the experience of the maker and the wearer. Close inspection reveals the hand-stitching that seals a hem or finishes a cuff – a link to the individual who wore them more than 250 years ago and a reminder of their desperate plight and awful decision.
Children’s clothes of the time were generally made from old adult garments. These worn swatches show the residue of life, depositaries of DNA; with modern forensic science at our finger tips, what could we unearth? Often a piece of the child’s arrival clothes were cut to serve as the token, maybe a small woollen square, or the dissection of a sleeve. Was the mother furnished with an identical cloth square or the other sleeve perhaps? The imagined scene of the mother arriving at the hospital with
Foundling 12924 ‘Flowered lining’. Linen printed with flowers and leaves. A girl, admitted 26 May 1759.
Foundling 13287 ‘Spriged cotten’. Cotton printed with sprigs and dots. A girl aged about 21 days, admitted 30 June 1759. Named Hannah Carter by the Foundling Hospital. Died 17 February 1760.
Foundling 208 ‘A black Cockade on his head’. A cockade made from black silk ribbon. A boy, admitted 22 February 1745. Named Hanwell Helsden by the Foundling Hospital. Died 11 March 1745.
Foundling 166 ‘Strip’d susa mark’d Dec 9 1743’. Susa, usually spelled soosey, was a silk fabric from India. A boy, admitted 9 December 1743. Given the name Columbus Bridgetown by the Foundling Hospital. Died 30 September 1744
Foundling 12956 ‘Striped Calimanker.’ Calimanco woven in stripes and figures. Calimanco was a worsted fabric. A girl, admitted 30 May 1759. Named Millicent Butler by the Foundling Hospital. Died 8 June 1759.
Foundling 13414 ‘Chins’. Chintz Indian cotton printed with flowers. A girl, admitted 13 July 1759. Named Elizabeth Cutler by the Foundling Hospital. Died 24 November 1759.
Foundling 10563 A heart cut from red woollen cloth, a ribbon of blue paduasoy silk, and a piece of linen diaper. ‘The Bit of Red Cloth Enclosed was pined to the Childs Cap’. A girl, admitted 22 November 1758. Named Isabel Crane by the Foundling Hospital. Died 16 December 1758.
Foundling 12052 A drawing of a tulip and a piece of cotton or linen printed with sprigs and diamonds. A girl, admitted 18 March 1759. Named Elizabeth Mattews by the Foundling Hospital. Died 29 March 1759.
a n e c d o t e her baby, but leaving clutching just a fragment of the child’s garment is a moving one. It is suggested that at times swatches were cut from an unseen part of the mothers garment such as a pocket; a symbol of the gaping hole in her life.
Presumably it was the Hospital clerk who folded the billet sheet into a small package of nine folds; unaware that they were preserving its contents for 21st century audiences. There was rarely an occasion to open the folded packages, children were rarely collected and never saw the tokens that represented their past. The billets lay untouched until they were collated into books.
The forthcoming Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum presents the textiles which accompanied the depositing of a child and offers insights into why tokens were used, how they relate to individual children and gives a rare glimpse of plebeian fashions of the 18th century. This era saw a growth in consumerism; clothes and textiles became more widely available. High society and grand garments from this time have been preserved for our heritage in collections but little remains of the clothing of the ordinary people.
In fact John Styles comments in his book TheDressofthePeople:Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth Century England, “This is the largest collection of 18thcentury textiles in Britain and probably in the world providing an unparalleled archive of what ordinary women wore. The textiles in the billet books represent the fabrics available to impoverished desperate mothers whose infants were taken in by the Hospital. Undoubtedly many raped or jilted by their betrothed.”
By 1742 the numbers of mothers bringing children to the Hospital was so great and the admissions procedure so disorderly that it was decided to adopt a ballot system to decide which children were admitted. Around twenty infants would be admitted at each intake, but crowds of women, five times this amount, would gather outside the Hospital. In turn each woman drew a coloured ball out of a bag; white, indicating the baby would be examined and admitted if it was healthy; black, the mother and child were dismissed; the red ball meant a second chance was given in the case of any ‘white ball babies’ being refused admittance.
The inevitable cruelty of this early lottery system must ultimately have left each of these women devastated. “On this Occasion the Expression of Grief of the Women whose Children could not be admitted were Scarcely more observable than those of some of the Women who parted with their Children, so that a more moving Scene can’t well be imagined”, Is a comment in the Foundling Hospital Daily Committee Minutes, 26th March 1741.
Mothers leaving children remained anonymous, with no questions asked, but s e l v e d g e . o r g
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Life’s werk: Eley Kishimoto
One of this year's most seductive coffee-table books bears the unlikely moniker 'WERK 17'. Yet that name reveals it as one of a prestigious series: the WERK line of artisan publications about artists. Overseen by the Singapore design guru Theseus Chan, each volume of every series is unique and handcrafted. With WERK 17, Chan celebrates Eley Kishimoto, the design partnership of husband-andwife Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto. The couple, based in south London for almost two decades, are among the premier practitioners of modern pattern. Around the world, their combination of bold colour and confident rhythm instantly denotes another Eley Kishimoto achievement.
Like every WERK book, the new one is a tactile treasure (many of its pages are actually made out of archive fabrics). But it also offers snapshots of the two minds behind the name – minds able to easily move between apparel and furnishings, art and industry, socks and skateboard decks. To achieve this, Eley and Kishimoto harness two special gifts. One is their personal brand of synergy, another their genius for working with other creatives.
Although the two designers actually met in New York, both are graduates of UK art colleges. He, a Welshman, studied Fashion and Weave at Brighton Polytechnic; she came from Sapporo to read Fashion and Print at Central St. Martins. From the first, both sensed their sort of communication was different. "Collaboration" says Eley, "was in our DNA from the moment we met." In 1992, when the couple returned to London, they married and launched a company from their own living-room.
Initially, they followed a template set by Karl Lagerfeld and Kenzo Takada – that of the fashion freelance who, while serving time with different labels, maintains an individual and global outlook. Their enterprise was begun by making textiles for Joe Casely-Hayford, Nicole Farhi, Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan. But, within three years, the name was also a fashion label. Launched when the prevailing style was monochrome and minimal, its bright and forthright graphics were quite an aberration.
Quickly, however, the duo made a place for themselves. Eley Kishimoto prints have always been uncompromising; colourful and complex yet meticulously finished. In many ways, the clothes themselves organically extend the patterns, which spill over to hug the legs, climb the arms and perch on the head. After so many years, their designs make it easy to see why brands from diverse markets seek out the company. This team are versatile enough to work with anyone – be it Volkswagen or Versace – without losing their soul or their signature.
WERK 17 offers a visual feast, from Eley and Kishimoto's childhood photos and holiday sketches through their process drawings, favourite patterns and recent collections. Text, however, is minimal, so we asked the designers themselves for more...
What would you say about how you collaborate,
what rhythm you follow, what things come first?
Honestly – in terms of cycles and seasons – there is a certain amount of repetition. But, within this,
there is always spontaneity and investigation that relates to the moment when decisions need to be committed. We work on the fashion and accessories collection bi-annually.
Alongside this, there are many projects, collaborations and consultancies that also have to fit in. So the desire to set out on a task comes "first". But each individual task and collection has its own identity, its own reasoning. So every time what is "first" is different, too.
With such an array of partners, some designers would find conflicts ensued...
Collaboration was in place when we started Eley Kishimoto. Yet early on in our career, it was by working with other designers that we realisedcollaboration was a creative way to experiment with our ideologies… as well as a way to communicate and survive.
We collaborate for fun, for financial gain, to gain beautiful products in our lives, to celebrate a friendship, on a whim, with passion, to educate and to market ourselves. But also, as designers, we know there are areas of process and product that we should not touch. We have been very lucky; all our past collaborations have been healthy. There have been a few issues concerning quality and appropriate marketing routes, but these were quickly resolved – and to a good end.
With pattern, how do you achieve the right balance?
We like simple but simplicity does not mean we spend less time on making something. For us, "simple" is just as complicated as "complicated". Wakako: It is constantly evolving. New notions and s e l v e d g e . o r g
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& Make a London pigeon with...
Instructions 1. Cut out around dotted line, including notches. 2. Put right sides together and sew with a machine from point A to point B approx 5 mm from the cut line. 3. Turn through so right side is facing out. 4. Over sew to attach base leaving a space of approx 5 cm for stuffing. 5. Stuff with fleece to fill the body add 3 tablespoons of beans to add weight and stabilise the pigeon. 6. Over sew to complete the base.
Join the flock! Make your own contribution to the London Design Festival with Selvedge. Pigeons may not appeal to everyone but we have decided to embrace these iconic, or at least persistent, London residents and recreate Trafalgar Square in the lovely surroundings of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Teaming up with printers Thornback & Peel, our drop-in workshop will provide all the materials to create your own pigeon to add to our installation. Selvedge ‘Feed The Birds’ Free workshop at the V&A, Saturday 18-Sunday 19 September 2010, 10-17.45, V&A Museum, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL, T: +44 (0)20 7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk
The extreme constructions that stalk down the runway may create headlines at London Fashion Week but the backbone of the event, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is provided by loyal designers such as Margaret Howell who has a strong commitment to British design. Her Spring Summer 2011 collection debuts at the company's flagship store on Wigmore Street. It sounds like a relaxed affair. According to the designer she was inspired by “beach stripes and loose fit”. No doubt her usual classic lines and beautiful detailing will be in evidence. Like much of Fashion Week, the Margaret Howell show is a trade or ticket only event, but everyone can get their fashion fix at the London Fashion Weekend. A shopping event where designers offer their wares with discounts of up to 70% and visitors can watch a catwalk show. Margaret Howell at London Fashion Week, Sunday 19th September 2010, 11.15, 34 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2RS. T: +44 (0)20 7009 9009, www.margarethowell.co.uk, London Fashion Weekend, 23-26 September, Somerset House, London WC2, www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk
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Edible beads FORAGING FOR FASHION
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Gönül Paksoy approaches art from a different angle, incorporating all that she knows about science and design. She looks at beauty through nature, looking at “flowers more beautiful than Aphrodite”, and the fruits used as indicators of romance and objects of desire – “cheeks like apples, lips like cherries”.
Designer, collector, and experimental chef, Gönül actually started her career in chemistry, and moved into textiles with a PhD in natural dyeing. She creates wearable pieces from antique Turkish and Ottoman textiles, and covetable items, such as bags, jewellery, and her childhood inspired ragdolls.
Now Gönül has moved into a new area, producing a book of her edible beads. These unusual adornments combine her design sensibility with her passion for experimental cooking to create perishable, but somehow timeless pieces, that speak of the transient nature of beauty.
Gonul cites wearing cherries on her ears as a child as the inspiration for the collection and book, “Did you ever put on cherry earrings?” she asks playfully. Many of the fruits she uses, chesnuts, rosehips, and radishes, are found in the British Isles. Others are more exotic – feioja, medlar and a charming crystallised sugar necklace.
In the back of the book are recipes that take the ingredients used in some of the necklaces and turn them into delicious sounding dishes; prawns with dried apples, brussel sprouts with ginger and a dry squash stuffed with crushed chickpea humus. When the work was first displayed at a conference in Istanbul in 2007 it was quite literally devoured by those in attendance! Primrose Tricker Gönül Paksoy, Yenilebilir Boncuklar / Edible Beads, photography Reyhan Eksi, ISBN: 978-975-93222-4-3, available from the Selvedge bookshop, £80, www.selvedge.org
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AINSLEY HILLARD: FOLDS 28 August-19 September 2010, The Old Laundry, Newton House, Dinefwr Park and Castle, Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, SA19, T: 01558 823902, www.axisweb.org, Warp & Weft, 11 September-30 October 2010, Oriel Myrddin, Carmarthen, www.orielmyrddingallery.co.uk selv edge.org
Folds is an installation that traces the social and architectural history of the Old Laundry at Newton House. It is the first time that the National Trust in Llandeilo has worked with a contemporary artist and offered a space within the historic building for artistic intervention. What might we make of this place, this haunting, something half left? An uncanny collection of traces bleached of colour, half formed echoes of the past.
In looking behind our present, over our shoulders, we turn easily to the photograph; its testimony to what was once but is no more both reassures and unsettles. In this place there are no photographs, no celluloid ghosts play before our eyes. Instead, Hillard gives us something more material yet equally fugitive, the pressings of lace, edges of cloth, the promise of a table and the suggestion of order held in abeyance.
Here other things tell stories, offer a different way of revealing the past. This dry laundry marked the final processes in editing out the stains of everyday life: the pressing of linen sheets, tablecloths, petticoats and shirts. Rituals practised only by laundry maids in a space that was exclusively female. This care of cloth emphasises the connection of textiles to the feminine sphere. It is tempting to romanticise such care, to speak of the splendid isolation of such things. Florie, once the Head Laundry Maid, remembered the 'centuries old linen, bro
Once you are seated in the small uncovered boat and it slowly clears the mainland harbour onto the open sea, a sense of ease comes upon you. Hectic city life fades away replaced by small islands dotted with old rural houses and silence reigns apart from the distant cry of seabirds nesting on the cliffs.
Gudrun Sjödén looks relaxed, sitting facing the sunshine, as her husband Björn, steers the boat onto an old wooden landing. The water level is low, so it is not until we climb the ladder and step onto firm ground that we see the house, shaded by trees and embedded in what seems to be a neverending meadow.
This house is the centre of Gudrun Sjödéns world. Here on an island in the archipelago north of Stockholm, the couple have resided for 30 years. They have a apartment in town but both prefer the country. Nature is Gudrun’s main inspiration and she is keen to emphasise that the design process itself “is part of a whole – the idea of how I want to live and be understood…”
Gudrun Sjödén has kept a clear focus on environmental issues while her company has grown from a small firm to a worldwide brand. She initiated her own eco cotton before other designers even noticed the pollution caused by cotton production. Gudrun’s cotton is organically grown and handpicked. It is spun and dyed without chemicals. “This is as far as we can go,” she explains “We always try to influence suppliers to manufacture in an environmentally friendly manner and treat their staff well. Clean business is good business!”
A tour of house reveals the structure of this 19th century building has been enlivened by a colourful and playful interior that extends to the smallest detail “You’ll see my work-box,” says Björn. “It’s lovely! One day when I went into the
Hectic city life fades away replaced by small islands dotted with old rural houses and silence reigns apart from the distant cry of seabirds nesting on the cliffs...
Vera Neumann SUSAN SEID REFLECTS ON THE ART OF AN ICON
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Vera Neumann was an unlikely revolutionary – her tiny five-foot-tall frame typically dressed in mod tunics and a bold scarf, armed with a quick wit but a shy demeanor. But Vera – the innovator of cross-licensing and one of the most successful female entrepreneurs of her time – had a radical philosophy: fine art should be accessible to everyone, not just a select few. She believed that artwork should not be relegated to walls. Rather, people should surround themselves with art – wear it, eat off it, and sleep under it. And why not? Great art endures. It lifts your spirit and makes you feel better.
Vera’s art certainly does. It is bright,
happy, and inspirational.
In the 1960s, Vera’s designs were everywhere – in the press, department stores,
tied on the necks of stylish women, and decorating the homes of my neighbors, friends, and pretty much everyone I knew. We all had the towels, placemats, and sheets brimming with Vera’s cheerful flowers or trendy geometrics. Our mothers coveted their Vera scarves and wanted to be the first to wear the latest Vera blouse or dress.
For over four decades, Vera’s artwork brightened up homes across America. Woven into the fabric of this country, she was part of our lives. She was also a role model, someone whose independence, adventurousness, and entrepreneurial spirit were inspiring to young women. Vera was also a pioneer in so many ways: because people were copying her work, she was one of the first designers to copyright her art; she embraced a global perspective long before it was popular; and she became a working single mother—raising two children. Her ability to juggle multiple and seemingly contradictory roles with such grace was truly inspirational.
I grew up in an environment similar to the one that inspired Vera, who was nurtured by creative parents and lived surrounded by modern art and architecture, including a home and showrooms designed by Marcel Breuer. I, too, was raised by an artistic family: my father, Charles Fink, was a professor of industrial design at Syracuse University, while my mother, Jeanne, made hooked rugs based on her original designs. My childhood home outside of Boston was strikingly contemporary with walls of glass and an open floor plan. Our furniture, some of which was designed by s e l v e d g e . o r g
cade fabrics with a woven crest, fine muslin skirts and embroidery'. She spoke with fondness of work that must have been far from easy. I sense, in Florie's story, arevisiting of 'flow state', a way of 'being' occasionally discovered in the perfectly executed, rhythmic practice of repeated labour – a kind of reverie. Much is currently made of the need to work with our hands, to rediscover 'authentic' labour. Here Hillard's labour is ever-present, in her pressing, dipping and firing, her material processes mirror those of Florie's – heat and effort at its core.
We all know of cloth's ability to resonate memory, the body and loss. We hold onto garments that remind us of what was once real, precious even. Such things, held in our hands and to our skin, recall lives lived and gone. Like photographs, such garments can 'prick' us. Hillard is clever with this connection. She might have returned to us the objects of the laundry maid's labour, yet she avoids mimesis. Instead her vision – fractured edges, porcelain lace, and cloth pressings – emphasises what is lost from sight, how the bodily thing lies beyond our grasp and how memory has its own 'edge'.
It is usual to think of buildings absorbing lives, of holding secrets, of walls having ears. With these half complete things – fragments of clothing, a table that floats without edge, we might anticipate a disappearance, instead, we witness a kind of emergence. This is no easy memorial, incomplete yet, somehow, full. Hillard offers a creative split between past and present. This gape in time, gifts us authorship, allows us to fill in the gaps. In this absence, Hillard reminds us that history is always mutable. Angela Maddock Image 07 - Ceramic Installation 2010 Image 08 & 09 - Details Ceramic Installation 2010
LACE IN FASHION 23 July 2010 -23 January 2011, National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road, Victoria, Australia, T: 03 8620 2222, www.ngv.vic.gov.au
Lace historian Pat Earnshaw succinctly described lace as 'holes surrounded with thread'. This discreet craft has undergone centuries of innovation against a background of lucrative trading and smuggling, economic and political rivalry. From elaborate starched and lace-trimmed ruffs in the 16th century to orbicular Irish crochet, lace has moved in and out of fashion for hundreds of years.
The Lace in Fashion exhibition addresses some of the most important phases in the history of lace as a fashionable commodity. It features works spanning several hundred years, including examples of needle, bobbin and other lace techniques; portraits in oil that represent lace at its most opulent; and fashionable dress incorporating lace as decoration, fabric and motif. Highlights from the collection of English lace historian, Mrs John Hungerford Pollen are on show. Beautiful examples of Italian and French needle laces such as gros point de venise – a heavy lace with robust, threedimensional scrolling designs requiring as many as 6000 buttonhole stitches in each square inch.
Until the mid-17th century Venetian gros point dominated the European market for lace. It was worn by men as collars, cuffs, garters and canons – frills of lace or bunches of ribbons that fell over the tops of men's boots – and favoured by women as borders and flounces on dresses. Venice's supremacy in lace production was absolute until at the end of the 17th century when, worn down by war, intense competition from Flanders and restricted by sumptuary laws that regulated the importation of luxury goods, its position was challenged. A major blow came when the French King Louis XIV's superintendent of finance, Jean-Baptiste Colbert (1619-1683), organised the kidnapping and procurement of lacemakers from Venice and Flanders to resettle in French towns where they imparted their skills to the local workers.
As a result of Colbert's bold initiatives, the French lace industry thrived, point de France needlepoint evolved and was embraced by the French court and fashionable society. Its style tailored to the late 17th-century desire for a delicate yet ornate trimmings. Point de France incorporated a greater area of mesh giving more space to the intricate designs of fantastical, often exotic blooms, architectural and ornamental detail and a fanfare of scrolling foliage.
Point d'Alençon, which originated in Alençon in the north-western French region of Normandy, emerged around 1717 and was lighter still. Its characteristic meshed ground consisted of looped stitches twisted around with thread and interspersed with flowers, swags and various figures such as mischievous running dogs.
lton lbourne, Fe ictoria, Me llery of V
In the mid-19th century machine lace threatened to undermine the status of lace yet the desire for fine handworked lace has never disappeared. Fragile as the fabric is, the demand for lace is robust. Lace patterns have been transferred to other media such as wood or stone marquetry, book-binding and ironwork but it is on the catwalks that lace is constantly revived and returned to by designers who value its history and delicate beauty. Roger Leong and Paola Di Trocchio 10 Border mid-17th century, Italian linen needle lace 11 Border 1600–20, Italian linen needle lace 12 Border c.1740, French linen needle lace, Alençon Nationa
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Upholstery• The Essential Guide to Upholstery, Dorothy Gates, Murdoch Books, ISBN: 978-1853917578, £29.99 •Upholstery Bible: Complete Step by Step Techniques for Professional Results, Cherry Dobson, David and Charles, ISBN: 978-0715329375, £16.99 • The Upholstery Workshop, 3 Webb's Road, Battersea, London, SW11 1XJ, T: +44 (0)207 738 1003• Urban Upholstery, 21 De Beauvoir Road, London, N1 5SF, T: +44 (0)207 275 9436 • www.upholsteryshop.co.uk •www.upholsterycourses.co. uk•
Vera Neumann• 'Vera: The Art and Life of an Icon' by Jennifer Renzi, £25, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., ISBN: 9780810996045, www.anthropologie.com• http://theverashop.com•
Shelly Goldsmith •www.clothandculturenow.c om/Shelly_Goldsmith.htm, • www.shellygoldsmith.com
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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE ROVING ISSUE...
Wool • 'Warp and Weft 2' exhibition, The National Wool Museum, Clyngwyn, Llandysul, Dyfed, SA44 5UP, Wales, T: +44 (0)15 5937 0929, www.museumwales.ac.uk/en/wool, until Jan 2011, free entry. • Knitting Classes and Workshops, Loop, 15 Camden Passage, Islington, London, N1 8EA, T: +44 (0)20 7288 1160, www.loopknitting.com, until Dec 2010, from £55 • 'Fabric Qualities Determined by Fibre Content', one day seminar, London College of Fashion, T: +44 (0)20 7514 7566, www.fashion.arts.ac.uk, £293.75, October 2010
Lucienne Day • 'Lucienne Day and Heals', talk by Jennifer Harris, 23 September 2010, £5, 6pm, Heals, 1st Floor, 196 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7LQ, T: +44 (0) 207 636 1666, www.heals.co.uk
Gudrun Sjödén• 'A Constant for Thirty Years' film, www.gudrunsjode n.com
F o u n d l i n g M u s e u m • Gallery Talk and Concert, first Sunday of every month, 2pm, 40 B r u n s w i c k S q u a r e , B l o o m s b u r y , London, WC1N 1AZ, T: +44 (0)20 7841 3600, www.foundlingmu seum.org.uk
Felt • FibreFocus 2010, Textiles by The Dorset Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, 30 September-3 October, www.dorsetweaversspinnersdyers.org.uk • Fleece to Fabulous with Liz Clay, 29 November, Devon T: +44 (0)1823 681138, www.theoldkennels.co.uk • Feltmaking in North London with Sue Pearl, www.feltbetter.com • The Art of Felt: Designs, Textures and Surfaces, Françoise Tellier-Loumagne, ISBN: 9780500287316, Thames & Hudson £24.95• Uniquely Felt, Christine White, ISBN: 9781580176736, Storey, £16.99 •
Gonul Paksoy • Beads: From Collection to Creation. By Gonul Paksoy. Published by the Kadir Has Museum. 2 Volume set. Book One: Creation. Book Two: Creation. Price £80 plus £21.70 p&p. http://www.cornucopia.net/aboutgpb.html
Ballet Russes • 'Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes, 19091929' 25 September-9 January 2011, V&A South Kensington, Cromwell Road, SW7 2RL, T: +44 (0)20 7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk •'Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballet Russes, 19091929' Edited by Jane Pritchard and Geoffrey Marsh, , V&A Publishing, ISBN: 9781851776139, www.vandashop.com, £30 • The Ballets Russes and the Art of Design, Alston Purvis, Monacelli Press, ISBN-10: 1580932541, £40 • ‘Fashion and Motion: Popular Dance and Dress', short course at the Victoria & Albert Museum, T: +44 (0)20 7942 2211, www.vam.ac.uk, Thursdays from October 14-December 9 2010, 10.3013.00, from £192 •Ballets Russes (2005), documentary directed by Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine • www.russianballethistory.com •
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Eley Kishimoto • Cutting Edge Patterns and Textures, Estel Vilaseca, Rockport Publishers Inc. ISBN: 9781592534289, £19.99 • Textile Designers of the Cutting Edge, Bradley Quinn, Laurence King, ISBN: 9781856695817, £24.95 •WERKNO. 17: Eley Kishimoto collaboration with Werk Magazine, WorkPublishers, www.eleykishimoto.com • Liberty, 210-220 Regent Street, London, WIB 5AH, UK, T: +44 (0)207 7341 234• Koh Samui, 65-67 Monmouth St., Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DJ, UK, T: 02072404280
Horrockses• Horrockses Fashions: Offthe-Peg Style in the 40's and 50's, Christine Boydell, V & A Publishing, ISBN: 9781851776016, £24.99• The Horrockses: Cotton Kings of Preston, Margaret Buiscough, Carnegie Publishing Ltd., ISBN: 9781859361047, £10•
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COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed 67 COVER STORY Good Housekeeping Ahead of the opening of Gudren Sjoden’s first London shop this autumn, Cia Wedin is invited to discover more about her home and her ethical approach to business.PhotographsbyAnnaKern.
GLOBAL travel destinations and ethnographic textiles
72 Vera Neumann President of the Vera Company, Susan Seid reflects on the art of an American icon SusanhasbroughtVera’sworktoawideraudiencethroughcollaborationwithAnthroplogie andanewcoffeetablebook,‘Vera:TheArtandLifeofanIcon’Wehavesixcopiestogiveaway.
EVENTS a chance to meet with like-minded people
40 Join Selvedge for a private view of the Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum on the 26th October. The evening will include two guest speakers, curator and author John Styles and artist Shelly Goldsmith.
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INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings
03 bias /contributors A letter from the editor-in-chief and comments from contributors. 07 news Textile news: Shelley Goldsmith, Rough Linen, Toast, Pendleton USA, The Hill-Side, Zenzulu, The Textile Society, The Woolsack, Wendy Cramer, Octavi, Woolrich, The Hermitage Amsterdam and Fleetwood Fox. 17 miscellany Felt: A pressing matter. 80 subscription offers
A Wallace and Sewell brooch worth £15 for new subscribers and renewals. 81 SUBSCRIBE TO SELVEDGE 83 Selvedge at the Big Chill A big thank you to our sponsors and those that took part in a bird making workshop this summer. 84 international listings Exhibitions, fairs, and events. 86 read In the Loop: Knitting Now, Fashion Illustration 1930 to
1970 from Harper’s Bazaar. 88 view Horrockses Fashions, The Shape of Things, Ainsley Hillard, Lace in Fashion. 92 resources Websites and reading lists for those who want to know more about the Roving Issue. 95 coming next The Evergreen Issue: Age-old traditions and fresh ideas. Eco gifts, pantomime and Santa suits.
Online Have you visited the Selvedge website recently? Our Autumn collection of drygoods includes a new range of Khadi scarves, gorgeous cashmere babywear and a fresh batch of Jess Brown dolls. In the bookshop the recently re-printed Julie Arkell book, Home, is back in stock after a long wait. If you are looking for something to do click on our craft page to discover a selection of free projects to download and make. www.selvedge.org
SELVEDGE ('selnid3 ) n. 1. finished differently 2.?the?non-fraying edge of a length of woven fabric. [: from SELF + EDGE]
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