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Beginning February 12, 2005, Christo and JeanneClaude will unfurl their latest temporary work of art entitled The Gates, Central Park, New York, 19792005. 7,500 gates, each 4.87 meters high and varying in width from 1.67 to 4.87 metres will be installed along the edges of the walkways and footpaths of Central Park. The synthetic woven panels of saffron coloured nylon will be suspended horizontally to create, in the artists' words, a “golden ceiling creating warm shadows” for viewers walking in the park. From the vantage point of the buildings which surround the park a “golden river appearing and disappearing through the bare branches of the trees” will be visible in the winter landscape.
To protect their artistic freedom and integrity the couple have funded this, and previous projects, in full. Sponsorship, donations and voluntary contributions of materials or labour are not accepted. Instead, funding for their celebrated, but expensive, large-scale projects is raised through the sale of studies, preparatory drawings and collages, scale models and original lithographs of both earlier projects and The Gates.
One month has been set aside for installation, while the “blossoming” of the art work – the date when each cocoon of fabric will be unfurled – will be orchestrated in a single day. Merchandising rights have been donated to the charitable foundation Nurture New York's Nature and Arts who plan to share these rights with the Central Park Conservancy. Materials used in the art work will be recycled when dismantled sixteen days after installation.
The Gates can be viewed from 12 February 2005, weather permitting. www.christojeanneclaude.net.
.Runway Rocks 2003
Organised by the British Crafts Council, this year's Collect is set to build on the hugely successful inaugural show last year. Collect is the only art fair in Europe that showcases the very best of contemporary applied and decorative arts from around the world. At Collect 2005 visitors will be able to see and buy fine examples of ceramics, glass, jewellery, metalwork, wood and textiles with exhibitors coming from as far afield as Australia and Japan. There will also be installations by leading artists produced especially for the fair; Fernando Casasempere ceramic, Matthew Durran – glass and Sally Freshwater – textiles. Sally’s work explores 'ideas around functional applications for textiles such as tensile architecture. Recent works explore similarities and contrasts between fabric and metal through stitch and structure.'
COLLECT 2005 will be running for an extra two days. 12-17 Jan 2005. V&A, London, T: 020 7806 2512 www.craftscouncil.org.uk/collect/ See page 96 for Collect ticket offer
Hand in Hand
Tucked away in a small mews in West London is a new shop. The brain – or possibly the love – child of Gail Arnold and Susannah Baker-Smith, Hand is more than a mere retail outlet. It is a gallery of extraordinary products that you will want to touch, look at and live with. Hand focuses on oneoff pieces, old and new, that are made by hand all over the world, and sometimes from just around the corner. The emphasis is on design and quality, together with a commitment to support the communities or artisans who make these products.
Step inside to find a kaleidoscope of temptations including Hand's own collection of clothes, bags made by the bushmen of the Kalahari, contemporary and antique furniture, peruvian woven blankets and gossamer cashmeres. There are swathes of beautiful handmade paper, silks and satins, hand-embroidered kaftans, felted wool coats and irresistible clothing for children.
Alongside its own collections, Hand will showcase fashion designers working with vintage and handwoven textiles, as well as exhibiting the works of painters and designers from around the world.
Kati Saqui's New Art and Design House is another singular shop. Housed in a Grade 2 listed building in the heart of the historic ‘Little Chelsea’ quarter of Canterbury the Design House bears testimony to Kati’s devotion to colour and texture. The interior offers a feast of tactile creations in eyecatching yet comforting colours. The walls are painted a warm caramel and oyster blue, providing a beautiful backdrop for her richly coloured canvases, photographic work and garments. The garments are unusual, one off outfits from her collection. Kati is one of Britain's best selling artists through John Lewis, Harrods and Habitat, supplying over 1200 galleries across the country. Now, however, she delights in selling her work direct. Her customers certainly revel in this rare and successful approach. The shop demonstrates that art doesn’t need white cube conditions to look wonderful.
01 Art and Design House, 51 Palace St, Kent T: 01227 785787 www.katisaqui.com
02 Hand, 11 Colville Mews, London T: 020 7792 1292 email@example.com
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Perfect union THE MARRIAGE OF GOLD AND SILK
Back in the proverbial mists of time the beautiful Goddess Parvati remarked that she had nothing to wear for a wedding. Overhearing her words, her husband Lord Shiva immediately asked his weavers to create a fabulous fabric for his beloved consort. They set to work, weaving rich threads of gold and silk, truly a match made in heaven.
Order of service Ceremony and celebration
A Hindu wedding is one of the most important of the 16 Hindu sanskars – sacraments–, performed by a Brahmin in accordance with verses from the Vedas or holy book. Textiles are used throughout the ceremony to shield, cover and bind the couple together.
When the groom arrives the bride's mother places a red dot on his forehead and gives him a flower garland. In a traditional game, the bride's female relatives try to snatch his garland and steal his shoes, demanding a 'ransom' for their release. The bride's mother then takes him to the Mancap or canopy of flowers where the ceremony takes place. His sisters follow shaking a metal pot covered by a white handkerchief that contains rice and coins to ward off evil spirits.
The ceremony begins with the Hasta Melaap: the bride's right hand is placed in the groom's while holy verses are chanted. The couple are then joined together by a length of white cloth – one end tied to the corner of the bride's sari, the other to the groom's scarf. A fire is lit and the right hands of the couple are tied together with thread and their palms filled with rice and oats which are then offered to the fire. The couple then perform Lawan Phere, walking around the fire four times. During each circuit they stop to touch a stone symbolising the obstacles they will overcome together. The Saptapadi follows next: facing north the couple take seven steps and each step calls upon God to bless them. Then follows Saubhagya Chinya: the groom places holy red powder on the bride's forehead and gives her a necklace symbolising his love. The service ends with the Brahmin’s blessings.
In the celebrations that follow the couple play games. Knotted threads are tied to their wrists which they must attempt to untangle, thereby demonstrating the infinite value of patience in a marriage.
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01 The Marriage of Krishna's Parents, from a dispersed manuscript of the 'Bhagavata Purana' from Mewar, Rajasthan, c.1520-50
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Quilt collecting EXHIBITING ANTIQUE QUILTS IN THE 21ST CENTURY - AN INSIDER'S VIEW
It has recently been reported that more than twenty million people are currently involved in the business and creation of quilts. Clearly, the quilt revival that began in the late 1960s is still going strong. Quilt Festivals are happening all over the world and people are flocking to quiltmaking classes. But what does all this activity mean for the collection and exhibition of antique quilts?
Only a few institutions collected quilts in the late 19th century, including The Concord Museum and the Essex Institute of Salem, both in Massachusetts, and The New York Historical Society. The majority of large public collections began in the early 20th century, and in 1910 the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City acquired its first American bedcovering.
Collectors before the 1970s emphasised age, historical association and workmanship. Their quilts were usually kept in families or donated to local historical societies or museums. A few early private collectors included Electra Havemeyer Webb, a pioneering collector of Americana, who founded the Shelburne Museum in 1952. That same year Mrs Webb began planning an exhibit of quilts, textiles, and women's needle arts.
It wasn't until the mid-1970s that quilts became a category of collectable American folk art. ‘By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the idea of collecting quilts and coverlets for their genealogical value alone was almost entirely a thing of the past,’ says John Howat, then chairman of the Department of American Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. ‘This was the era of appreciation of the quilt as graphic art. The overall visual image of the quilt when it is hung on a wall is what collectors came to value most. Quilt collecting became acceptable, even fashionable.’ In less than thirty years, thousands of quilts went from the ragbin to the walls of museums and art galleries. Despite the fickle nature of public appreciation – especially for the arts – this escalation is virtually unprecedented. During this period, great public and private collections developed. Even corporations, Philip Morris, Esprit in California, AT&T, Goldman Sachs, Chase-Manhattan Bank, Bank of Boston, and Levi-Strauss began to collect.
When quilts began to be taken seriously as art, s pecialised dealers emerged. After seeing quilts in magazines and at exhibitions, people started buying them, and the business of quilts took off. Dealers are often the main source of information for collectors at all levels, generously sharing their knowledge. This is certainly true in the area of quilts. Quilt dealers have written some of the best books about antique quilts. Some of them have collected, exhibited and published including America Hurrah, D arwin Bearley and Thomas Woodard. They were there from the beginning of the explosion of interest in quilts and watched the market grow: from the time in the 1960s when one pieced or appliquéd quilt cost five dollars and a Pennsylvania Amish quilt was less than fifty dollars, to the present day, when choice examples can sell for as much as one hundred thousand dollars.
Yet in the 1990s it seemed that collecting quilts had lost its glow. The quilt market was seriously affected by the downturn in the wider art market at the end of the 80s. Then the antique quilt market encountered another “adjustment” after the market was flooded with reproductions of American antique quilt treasures made in China. This tidal wave of replicas was encouraged by museums, excited to find new markets for their ever-increasing licensing arrangements. At the same time, reproduction quilts appeared in every catalogue from Garnet Hill to Sundance. They were for sale in just about every store's bedding department, and were in abundance at flea markets, for the grand price of around $39.95. Sales were linghuysen
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The American Museum
Hawaiian quilt, red cotton appliqué on a white, the border is also appliqué 211 x 191cm, 20th century
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04 bias / contributors Letters from the editor and comments from our contributors. This month we ask our contributers to describe their most memorable outfit.
05 correspond / enquire We welcome your questions, comments and criticism.
08 inform, inspire, insight Four pages of news, trends and novel ideas.
12 expose The decadent delights of the Venice Carnival are revealed in glorious images and Sarah Jane Downing explores the mystery of the masquerade.
20 concept Dr Catherine Harper introduces us to the colourful quilts of Faith Ringgold.
30 project Indian Weddings: from Rajasthan to Bangalore Brinda Gill invites us to a textile feast of wealth and beauty.
42 collect Shelly Zegart charts the unprecedented rise and evolution of American quilt collecting.
52 global Misuko Shrines are a haunting response to the grief of a lost child.
58 cohabit Zig zags and stripes: Missoni’s homeware displays their trademark vivacious style.
62 runway Celia Birtwell’s influence on fashion has been evident for two decades. From Ossie Clarke to Cacharelle, Clare Lewis traces her enduring passion for print.
80 quintessence Susan Collier, one half of the design duo Collier Campbell, reveals some of her trade secrets.
82 read Reviews of the latest books that speak volumes.
86 view Critiques of the latest shows.
92 divulge / declare / disclose International listings and previews.
26 A night to remember A rite of passage for American teens, Prom reveals the power and importance of a pretty dress.
38 Celebrate with silk We lay out some of this season’s finest furnishing fabrics.
50 Annie's Quilt Amateur detectives uncover the hidden social history in an unfinished quilt.
54 Dress Code You are what you wear: Amy de la Haye unlocks the wardrobe of Anne Messel, Countess of Rosse and learns the emotional significance of style.
67 Let there be Light The sheer quality of textiles makes them a perfect match for lighting. Designers are illuminating our homes with innovative new products.
70 Pinboard Baby Bunting – from swaddling cloths to christening shawls, we explore the significance of what we wrap the baby in.
73 Indulge Where to find soft, sheer and simply beautiful textiles for babies.
18 Cirque du Soleil Roll up roll up – the circus comes to town. Marvel at some of the greatest costumes on earth.
74 Butan Neil McAllister leads us on an unforgettable journey to the land of the thunder dragon.
81 Coming next: the utility issue – We find the extraordinary in the ordinary. Out on March 15th.
95 Stockists Selvedge is now available throughout the country: find a stockist near you.
96 Subscription offers Take advantage of our January sale! Plus Cirque du Soleil tickets, Celia Birtwell scarves, Clarissa Hulse lavender bags and a silk badge for every new subscriber.
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