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ContentsINDULGEtextilestobuy,collectorsimply admire 76 Object lesson Illustrator Laura Knight’s collection of folk art and Staffordshire figurines inspire her graphic art.SeemorefromherontheSelvedgedrygoodswebsite
CONCEPT textiles in fine art 56 COVER STORY Readymade redux Michael Brennand-Wood’s work is more than the sum of its parts Dr.JosephMcBrinn,LecturerinHistoryandTheoryofDesignandAppliedArtsattheUniversity ofUlster,digsbeneaththesurfaceofthework 60 COVER STORY Incy wincy spider How these gossamer threads were transformed in a tribute to ingenuity Corinne Julius unravels the story behind the Golden Spider Silk exhibit at London’s VictoriaandAlbertMuseum.
INDUSTRY from craft to commerce 38 Maverick mauveine William Perkin sparked ‘Mauve Mania’ by accident and changed textiles forever’ SarahJaneDowningdipsintothestoryofanilinedyes 36 Work shy Editor Beth Smith is introduced to some of the hidden heroes of everyday life ExhibitionHiddenHeroes–thegeniusofeverydaythingsisonnowatTheScienceMuseum,London 71 William C. Segal The man who created, published and edited some of the most influential textile magazines of the 1940s and 50s America RinneandLucyAllenrediscoverAmericanFabrics andGentry. 72 Obituary François Lesage, 1929-2011 AlastairMacleodofHandandLockremembersoneofthe lastgreatembroideryateliersinParis
GLOBAL 26 Soap opera Mumbai’s dhobi ghat where every day is wash day Avisit tooneoftheworld’s mostunusual‘touristattractions’ 62 Scarlet fever We take a tour of the textile highlights of Stroud: from industrial heritage to innovative new makers IllustratedbySusyPilgrimWaters
ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives 33 COVER STORY Hang on It changes but endures; why people will always need the clothes peg WelookatthepoliticalcampaignofProjectLaundryListanddesignersGadCharnyandYoavZiv explainthepassionbehindtheirepicpegcollection... 75 Fabric swatch No.9: Crimplene Sarah Jane Downing reminisces about a one revolutionary but now forgotten fabric IllustratedbyAlicePattullo 96 String theory Solving a knotty problem Stringbagswerereplacedbyplasticbutthepopularity ofthenettedreceptacleisundergoingaresurgence.
COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed 63 handmade haven Danish designer Rie Elise Larsen has created a cheerful summer holiday home ClareLewisdiscoversthatit’sallachievedonashoestring
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“Man Dead Over Clothesline Dispute!” As headlines go it’s got the perfect mix of sensation and surrealism. Did someone really die over one of life’s most mundane chores – drying the washing? Unfortunately they did: forty-one year old Keith Spears was shot and killed in 2008 in Verona, Mississippi in a dispute with neighbours over his clothesline. Not since the maid lost her nose while pegging out the clothes has the activity caused such strife.
It’s such a simple operation. A cord fixed between two static points, a few pegs and a slight breeze and you have the perfect arrangement for drying washing with minimal effort. Yet the process has aroused unfathomable passions; anger and desire that seem out of all proportion to the task.
While it might not hit the headlines every week, pegs and the use of them to hang out washing is a political issue. In North America the “Right to Dry movement” campaigns to reduce energy use by persuading individuals to wash their laundry in cold water and line dry. But in doing so they encourage civil disobedience.
While no US state or Canadian province bans clotheslines at state or provincial level, many Community Associations (a lower level of US government) have bans that prevent laundry being line dried outside – the penalty would be a civil fine or possible eviction. Founder of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Physicians for Social Responsibility, Helen Caldicott explains: “Laundry offends the aesthetic sensibilities of some people. Where in Victorian times clotheslines were ubiquitous, Mrs Brown’s brassiere blowing in the breeze has apparently become scandalising to some modern Americans. A strange brand of prudery has made it impossible for some people to conserve energy and money by using a clothesline.”
In the Spring of 1996, inspired by Caldicott, Alexander Lee set up Project Laundry
List as the central organizing force of the “right to dry” movement. Lee is fighting for what many of us would see as a basic freedom but standing in opposition to him are community covenants,
landlord prohibitions and zoning laws, all of which are used to stop people from using clotheslines. Richard Monson,
President of the California Association of
Homeowners Associations, sees the problem in financial terms,
claiming a clothesline can lower property values by "15 percent".
For some a washing line represents the depression era before America’s post-war boom. The energy-draining tumble dryer embodies the American dream. In the US 92% of single family homes had a dryer in 2005. The 50’s housewife could order her “Lady Keymore” washer and dryer in “sage green, sunshine yellow or candy pink” from Sears, Roebuck and Co. Mr Monson would prefer it if they still did, insisting “Modern homeowners don't like people's underwear in public. It's just unsightly.” Ahh, the eye of the beholder... it’s such a revealing thing. Where Mr Monson sees an eyesore others are enchanted. Marian Dioguardi pointed out that in Venice, when one woman wants to compliment another it is said: “She hangs a beautiful line.” Lee also sees the appeal: “its Gestalt, its organic beauty, its simple functionality.” Laundry lines have inspired poets, song writers and artists. Bob Dylan sang his Clothes Line (Saga) and Amy Benedict’s poem Wood on cloth on cord captures the meditative quality of the task: “Finding just one edge to secure,
Wood on cloth on cord
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Forming a waving wall, a flag, a sail...” Claes Oldenburg’s giant urban Clothespin stands proudly in the centre of Philadelphia while Turkish artist Mehmet Ali Uysal’s version is set in parkland and pinches a fold of green lawn as if it were its fabric namesake.
If washing lines inspire artists it seems to be that designers prefer the mechanical precision of the peg itself – not that they don’t wax poetic. Ask Gad Charny and Yoav Ziv about the humble clothes peg and you’ll receive an ode to the “silent servants” that Keats might be proud of… “It is a daily, mundane, banal object, which we all seem to posses, though we rarely look at. An object so basic yet so useful, that it serves many functions in addition to its original one. It can be used to hang stuff, to hold, to fasten, endless number of uses, almost as versatile as the office clip.”
This is an object that crosses cultural and geographical boundaries: we all have the same need, and most of us solve the problem in a similar way. There are exceptions: in India clothes are often dried by laying them on bushes, or spreading them over the steps of the ghats.
One would have expected the pegs to disappear with the appearance of tumble dryers, but they have survived the technological change. Although there are no wooden clothes peg manufacturers left in the United States or the UK, the number of different clothes pegs seems only to be growing. The peg is a simple object – usually made of three parts – plain and with a clearly defined purpose. For that reason it is fascinating to observe the endless variations on such a simple basic concept. The whole issue of the relationship between form and function, user and use, style, shape, adornment,
engineering, production, technical and structural solutions – all can be observed, looking at clothes pegs. Numerous reasons can be observed for the different variations in form and functional interpretations. It is exciting to see how many variations can be generated for such a minimal structure – it is a lesson in the evolution of products, a lesson in change as inherent human need, as well as the need to interpret, to innovate, to say the same thing differently.
These men truly love the clothes peg and their affair with it culminated in an exhibition curated jointly with
Yaacov Kaufman in 2006. It explored what uses people put clothes pegs to. It’s a thought that breathes new life into their enthusiasm: “We have noted some of the categories of change or variations, such as visual typology, style and attempts to ‘uplift’ the product and its design. This is done through the structure or the mechanical principle, materials or visually. There are cultural reflections too such as the chinese bamboo peg, bearing the family name on it to distinguish it in a communal space, or the huge japanese carpet peg. It’s always refreshing to see new interpretations of the same theme, adopting a new point of view, a fresh approach.” The undefeatable clothes peg – same, same but different since the idea was first patented in 1853 by David M. Smith – is an unlikely object of affection and a still stranger catalyst for protest. But those who champion it are determined to make us revise our opinion (or at least form one). As American inventor, journalist, printer, diplomat, and statesman Benjamin Franklin once said, ““We must all hang together, or most assuredly we will all hang separately." ••• Beth Smith National Hanging Out Day, 19 April 2012, Project Laundry List, www.laundrylist.org s e l v e d g e . o r g
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Work shy BETH SMITH DISCOVERS THE HIDDEN HEROES OF EVERYDAY LIFE
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You can’t get away from hierarchies even in the inanimate world of gadgets. The more entertaining, complicated and glamorous an invention is, the more likely we are to believe we simply can’t live without them. Think of the iPod, the iPhone the iPad (there’s a theme developing).... few would deny the impact they have made on the lives of millions. Surely they would top a list of vital innovations?
Dr Susan Mossman, materials science specialist at the Science Museum, would beg to differ; “the mundane is often remarkable,” she insists. And when asked by the BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones which object people would still find useful a decade from now – an iPhone or a rubber band – she’s clear: “The rubber band, because by then the iPhone will be a dinosaur because it is not simple enough.”
The truth is it is the simplest devices that make our lives infinitely easier. They do their job without clamouring for attention. Unnoticed and often underappreciated, they streamline and refine our daily tasks in ways so obvious they are invisible – until now. Hidden Heroes, an exhibition by the Vitra Design Museum that has travelled to London’s Science Museum aims to shine a light on overlooked inventions and inventors.
Thirty-six everyday classics have been gathered together in a show that illuminates their history and demonstrates their significance. What’s striking is how many of the chosen objects have a link to textiles. Sometimes it is a material connection such as the paper tissue or the tea bag. The latter began life as a small silk packet. American tea trader Thomas Sullivan began offering his tea samples in the fabric pouches, he was surprised to see some of his customers dip the packets unopened into hot water to test the quality.
Other inventions link to textiles through their purpose. The coat hanger and clothes peg are both represented and these objects demonstrate the holy grail of design, the perfect marriage of form and function. Deviations from the original prototype may employ alternative materials or decoration – the clothes hanger may morph from wire to wood to technicolour plastic but the basic shape cannot alter. Similarly the modern clothes peg, invented in 1853 by David M. Smith, will always be two identical halves connected by a wire spring. It is not only the wheel that cannot be reinvented.
What this display of the everyday brings to light is how little we know about the things we rely on. Centuries ago our ancestors prayed to their household gods, holding them responsible for the daily miracles of fires that burned and bread that rose. Today we are supposedly enlightened. We’re scientific and rational but can you explain exactly how a zip works or why velco grips so strongly? Probably not – these days our ‘magic’ may take place in a workshop or laboratory but the inventors are still wizards to most of us...
The trick to the zip, patented by Gideon Sundback in 1917, lies in an opposing series of identical teeth that each have a convex top and concave bottom. Inside the slider these teeth are alternately pushed together so they lie in a vertical stack, like soup bowls. In a well-made zipper the interlocking structure forms an incredibly secure bond. It’s difficult to separate the teeth by pulling the two strips apart. But the slide can easily separate the teeth, using a simple plough-shaped wedge. The zipper is so effective and reliable that in less than a hundred years, it has become the fastener of choice for thousands of different products.
The snap fastener, which is over 100 years old, has an equally simple construction. The two discs interlock when force is applied. A circular lip under one disc fits into a groove on the top of the other, holding them fast until pulled apart. Hook and loop tape (Velcro), invented by George de Mestral in the middle of the 20th century, is an example of early biomimetics or learning from nature – the idea came from the observation of burrs sticking to a dog's fur.
These clothing solutions tell us about more than human ingenuity. Looking at the details can tell us about the bigger picture. The sheer number of snap fasteners produced (within a few years of their invention daily production figures were in the millions) point to the transformation of fashion, the rise of workwear and the increasing informality of clothes. Hidden Heroes demonstrates that satisfaction of a job well done is not always in prportion to the difficulty of the task. It’s the small things that can make us happiest and the simplest things that endure. ••• Hidden Heroes – the genius of everyday things, Until 5 June 2012, The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, T: 0870 870 4868, www.sciencemuseum.org.uk s e l v e d g e . o r g
industry selv edge .org in the water and a spate of deaths from arsenic laced wallpaper. And when The Times ran a letter in the hot summer of 1884 reporting that an increasing number of ladies were being treated for ghastly skin complaints, aniline dyes were suspected. Tests showed that although dry fabrics were safe, when exposed to rain or perspiration the cheaper dyes, oxidised by arsenic acid, were poisonous.
Fashion turned her back on bright aniline colours as soon as they became affordable to the middle and lower classes, but undoubtedly these fears contributed. William Morris experimented briefly with embroidery silks dyed with aniline colours, but like the Dress Reform movement, the Arts and Crafts movement rejected unnatural colours.
Sadly despite the impact of his discoveries Perkin is given little more than a footnote in most histories. His legacy though is far more prodigious; his work was the foundation for more than 2000 synthetic dyes, and more indirectly it is responsible for enormous advances in medicine, food, perfumery, photography and explosives.
His work to identify the molecular structure of pigments remains at the heart of the pharmaceutical industry today – the search for new colours stimulated the search for new drugs. In the 19th century scientists began selectively staining tissues with synthetic dye for histological examination. The line of research leads directly to Nobel Prize scientist Paul. Ehrlich’s ‘magic bullet’ theory based on isolating and targeting disease-causing organisms forms the basis for modern chemotherapy.
William Perkin has no Nobel Prize but he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society and knighted in 1906. A blue plaque marks the site of his home laboratory - but surely a purple one would be more appropriate? ••• Sarah Jane Downing ine
Magaz loom ts, B
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THE SOCIETY OF TASTEMAKERS AND ELEGANT PEOPLE
“My style talks about the colours. For me, the world of tomorrow will be built around the colours. Someone who uses colour is a proud man. He don’t like violence. Because ‘La sape’ is for peace in the world.”
These poignant words are spoken by ‘Le Bachelor’, a fully fledged member of S.A.P.E., the “Société des Ambianceurs et des Personnes Elégantes” (Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People). He is part of a growing society of Congolese people, mainly men (although there are some more modest female ‘sapeurs’) who follow their philosophy like a religion. Le Bachelor is wearing a suit of the most vivid, electric, candy floss pink one could possibly imagine. Immaculately tailored he is accompanied by the widest grin, pointy shoes and a fat cigar planted at a jaunty angle from his mouth. These men do indeed wear colour with pride.
Two photographers in particular have brought these characters to life, the Italian Daniele Tamagni with his book, The Gentlemen of Bacongo – The Importance of Being Elegant, and the young Congolese photographer Baudouin Mouanda. The latter is a member of the “Génération Elili” Collective in Brazzaville, the capital city of the Republic of Congo and has recently become popular on the African photography scene. He explains that after the civil war in Brazzaville in 1998-1999 the town had ile Tamagn ie
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Wasn't Born To Follow, 2004, Michael BrennandWood Crystallized Movements, 2004, Michael BrennandWood 'Flower Head-Narcissistic Butterfly, 2006, Michael Brennand-Wood soldiers at the heart of textiles that are popularly read as reflections of nationhood.
Drawn to textiles from a young age BrennandWood studied in Manchester and Birmingham. He cites the medieval ‘skeletal goldwork’ embroidered flags in York Minster, a diverse range of non-Western design such as carpets from Mughal-era India to Suzani embroideries from central Asia, modern artists from Antoni Tàpies to Robert Rauschenberg and a array of minimalist composers and musicians as key sources of inspiration in his early career. Since then he has continually engaged with the complex and multifaceted identity of textiles. Its material and ideological agility, its genealogy and the cultural migration of ideas through the construction and circulation of cloth.
This year we can see work by him at several group shows: at Galerie Ra in Amsterdam, followed by Rotterdam and Munich, and in the UK at COLLECT. He is included in the 50 exhibition marking the 50th anniversary of the 62 Group this summer. However, 2012 will also see a major retrospective of Brennand-Wood’s work at Ruthin Craft Centre in Wales which offers a opportunity to appreciate his career-long material and critical interrogation of embroidery. ••• Joseph McBrinn Forever Changes: Michael Brennand-Wood – A Retrospective, 22 September-25 November 2012, Ruthin Craft Centre, Park Road, Ruthin, Denbighshire, LL15 1BB, Wales www.ruthin.org.uk
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Incy wincy spider HOW GOSSAMER THREADS WERE TRANSFORMED IN A TRIBUTE TO INGENUITY
Arachnophobes should look away now for this is the story of an obsession with spiders and the silk they spin. The Golden Spider Silk display at the V&A, with its magnificent glowing golden silk cloak and Madagascan Lamba or shawl, is the culmination of Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley’s eight year fascination with spider silk and what can be woven with it.
Based in Madagascar, Peers originally worked for the Fine Art Society. Intrigued by traditional Madagascan textiles he settled in the country and established Lamba Textiles which makes traditional silk cloth, some of which have been acquired by museums including the British Museum. Peers’ interest in local textiles encompassed historical investigations into the use of local spider silk as a fibre. The huge webs of the local Golden Orb Nephila Madagascarienis spiders (also known as the golden orb-weaver, giant wood spider or banana spider) are hard to ignore and periodically attempts had been made to collect and ‘silk’ the spiders.
The idea of harnessing spider silk for weaving was first attempted in a methodical way in France in the early 18th century. But it wasn’t until the French colonial administration of Madagascar tried to establish a USP for the country in the late 19th century that a Mr Nogué succeeded in creating a hand-powered silk extraction machine that didn’t harm the spiders. A technical college was founded in the capital Antananarivo and people were put to work to create a bed hanging exhibited at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900. Sadly it didn’t survive and the idea of creating an industry that could compete with Chinese silk (produced from silkworms) proved unrealistic.
Simon Peers’ obsession with these early attempts was infectious. Nicholas Godley, an American who has also worked for many years in Madagascar, was so intrigued that he closed his handbag factory to support the spider project. Today 70 people are employed daily during the rainy season (the only time when the spiders produce silk) to collect spiders from their enormous webs on telephone wires, using long poles. A further 12 are employed in extracting and weaving the silk. A variant of a 19th century machine is used to ‘silk’ the spiders. This involves putting 24 spiders, each around 4.8-5.1 cm not including legspan, into harnesses in each machine and extracting 30-40 metres of filament from their spinnerets; not by machine but by putting a finger to the spinnaret and
a n e c d o t e pulling out the golden thread. “The spiders squeeze it out like Mr Whippy,” says Peers. “It takes about 20 minutes. The spiders aren’t harmed and are returned to the wild. They can’t be farmed as they bite and eat each other.” (They are also a local culinary speciality.)
The 24 filaments from each set of harnesses are then twisted by hand into a single strand, and twisted again with three other 24-filament strands to make the silk thread used to weave the cloth. “The drag line thread is six times stronger than steel but unlike steel can stretch up to 40% of its normal length. It takes about fourteen thousand spiders to provide about an ounce of silk and the textile weighs about 2.6 pounds,” says Godley. The resulting cloth is extremely fine. With my eyes closed I couldn’t feel the silk tassels of the cloak on my hand, just the sense of a slight air movement over it.
The two pieces in the display are a traditional intricately patterned Lamba, which features stylized birds and flowers, based on a weaving tradition known as lamba Akotifahana from the highlands of Madagascar, an art reserved for the royal and upper classes of the Merina people (who are concentrated in the central highlands); and the cloak or caftan. The latter is woven and embroidered with the brilliant sunshine yellow silk. “The main challenge,” says Peers “is that the silk is highly susceptible to humidity.” It is an extraordinary piece decorated with golden spiders and took some 6000 hours just to embroider. The slight tonal differences in the yellow are due to the varying collection dates of the silk as well as to the different embroidery techniques, which include 18th century English applied knotted cords,
Boucle loops, French knots, Satin, Chain and Bokhara stitch.
In addition to the textile there are bobbins, photos of the beautiful spiders and books showing historical experiments with spider silk. Peers and Godley refuse to give an answer as to why they undertook the project, estimated to have cost them approximately half a million dollars. Simon Peers sums it up saying, “It is something ephemeral made permanent. We have taken something that would have been dispersed in the wind and the ‘magic’ is that we have trapped three years of webs and made something enduring.” ••• Corinne Julius Golden Spider Silk, 25 January-5 June, Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London SW7 2RL T: +44 (0)20 7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk selv edge.org
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As an antidote to the confines of co-operative living in an apartment in Copenhagen, designer Rie Elise Larsen escapes with her family for weekends and holidays to a tiny wooden cottage in the wild. It’s a magical haven all of their own and of their own making. The house bursts with colour and exudes life reflecting the vigour of the untamed playground outside the door.
Rie and Peter have used their imagination and ingenuity to turn this small wooden cabin into a perfectly formed cottage for all to enjoy. And once ensconced, there is nothing they, and their two daughters, like better than to hang out with friends, relax round a campfire or shelter under a makeshift tent. They gather pine cones and berries, make jam or on rainy days sit at their expansive dining table surrounded by beads, paper and found objects turning them into homemade treasures to adorn their simple country idyll.
Naturally, as Rie designs for and runs her own interior accessories business, the cottage is bursting with her charmingly quirky textiles. Paper products such as notebooks, wrapping paper, cards, storage boxes and lampshades are the mainstay of her collection but there are textiles too including tea towels and rugs. Her signature style is inspired by the Nordic tradition of graphic animal and floral motifs which she enlivens with jewel-like, playful colours. The latest additions to her range – trays, hooks and lamps – are ravishingly coated in her hallmark palette reminiscent of the hot, bright colours of India where many of the products are handmade. There is a hand-woven rug and an embroidered cushion, both from earlier collections.
Added to the mix are treasured trinkets, pieces passed down through the generations and exquisite handmade objects, all of which are crammed on shelves, beside tables and on chairs, creating a cacophony of colour. Found objects from the garden and the nearby seashore are artfully displayed in boxes. There are also plenty of flea market finds: Peter and Rie have a weakness for old knitted and crocheted blankets, and if they are on sale at a good price they can’t resist adding them to their growing and colourful collection. The large blanket on the sofa bed Peter bought for a song and the girl’s playhouse, which came complete with furniture, was also a vintage bargain.
Like many things in the house it was given a new lease of life in the Larsen style with a lick of paint and new windows. Rather sweetly the little house has been painted in the same style as the (relatively speaking) big house. Recycling is another recuring theme: old glass jars have been turned into decorative storage vessels for beads and lined with colourful strips of paper cut from magazines, or scraps of fabric. Simple but effective like many of the things in this house.
Peter is quite the handyman and built the bunk beds in the girls’ room. He made a hammock from an old piece of fabric which he strung in a nicely sheltered position behind the tool shed with sweeping views out across the fields. He has also tackled more ambitious projects. To welcome guests and make them comfortable, he converted an old shed into a bedroom big enough for a family by installing new windows and floors.
Other spaces have been transformed too. A once chilly patio, which connects this new room to the cottage, has been enclosed to create a hallway. Rie and Peter have cleverly kept the connection with the outside world by retaining the original clear4 ma images instream s e l v e d g e . o r g
troud the Park, S
in ting, c.1790s. The Museum in llbridge pa
There are plenty of regions in England shaped by a rich textile heritage, but in many places the mills that once produced miles of cloth have been converted into apartments and the connection to cloth severed. Where it is not forgotten, textile history is often ‘preserved in aspic’, on show in museums but rarely practised. What makes Stroud stand out is the fact that interest in the field continues unabated. Change is inevitable but what hasn’t altered is the fact that textiles have drawn people to this region for centuries.
The roots of Stroud’s textile history are deep, stretching back to Roman times when settlers developed sheep farming on land around Cirencester. In later centuries wool ensured that Stroud, and the towns around it, prospered. The sheep that grazed the Cotswold hills were famous for their lustrous fleece. Dubbed The Lion of the Cotswolds, they were the foundation of the English wool trade in medieval Europe.
As well as selling raw fleece, as technology improved an abundance of local mills processed the fibre. In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described Stroud as, “mainly built on the side of a steep declivity in a valley sheltered by the Cotswolds, and has a picturesque aspect. The chief interest of the place, however, centres in its cloth factories, which have associated with them dyeworks, the water being peculiarly suited for such operations.”
It’s vital that someone safeguards such an illustrious history: but someone also has to look to the future. In Stroud they have a homegrown visionary in the form of Lizzi Walton, founder and director of Stroud International Textiles. Given the local Roman history it’s appropriate that Lizzi marshals her forces with military precision in order to stage an annual celebration of textiles – a vibrant mix of exhibitions, talks and workshops, with international artists and visitor numbers reaching 15,000. “Stroud has such a proud textile heritage and I wanted that tradition to live on," says Lizzi. "This area is teeming with talent and was at the forefront of the arts and crafts movement.” If you’re planning a trip to Stroud spring is the perfect time to choose. The Stroud International Textile Festival has a new title, Select 12 and takes place 28 April20 May. ••• www.stroudinternationaltextiles.org.uk
The Stroudwater Textile Trust was established in 1999 by a group of local people who wanted to promote awareness of the historical importance of the woollen industry in the Stroud Valleys – and to celebrate contemporary textiles. The Trust’s members have also rescued a number of historic textile machines.
Woollen cloth manufacture has been important in the Stroud Valleys since medieval times – in fact there is evidence of Stroud's mills as long ago as the 1086 Domesday Book. At the height of demand the cloth the mills produced was sold to Europe, the Americas and Asia as well as the British market. Such large quantities were needed that at one time there were over 170 working mills. The ‘string of pearls’ was the collective name for the line of mills that dotted the. Today only two are still woollen cloth mills, others are industrial sites but there remain many fine buildings that demonstrate the past prosperity of the area.
The Dunkirk Mill Centre offers a chance to see a working waterwheel powering a rare piece of historic textile machinery. The overshot wheel, twelve feet wide and thirteen feet in diameter, was installed in the mill in 1855 as part of the last major re-building programme carried out during its time as a woollen mill. There is also a large working model pair of fulling stocks in operation, a display of locally made woollen cloth and a rare working, mid 19th century teazle raising gig. Nailsworth, GL5 5HH • Gigg Mill At this historic mill you can visit the Weaving Shed, containing historic and modern looms. Visitors can watch machinery demonstrated and try their hand at weaving. Old Bristol Road, Nailsworth Stroud, Gloucestershire GL6 0JP • Stanley Mill Built in 1812, this fireproof mill is a Grade I listed building of “outstanding national importance”. It has an exceptional interior where visitors can watch demonstrations of wool carding and mule spinning. Stonehouse, Gloucestershire, GL10 3HQ • St Mary's Mill This beautiful mill was built in 1820 and houses a large waterwheel and a powerful Tangye steam engine. Family Fun Day, Saturday 30 July, 10-3 Chalford Mill, St Mary’s Mill, Chalford GL6 8PX. Stroud Made It, 19-28 April, Merrywalks Centre, King Street, Glos GL5 1RR, T: +44 (0)1453 766273, www.merrywalks.com, www.stroud-textile.org.uk
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ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends 19 COVER STORY Border control Mary Katrantzou’s perfect planting scheme She mixes floral and industrialimagerywithmachineedgedprecision,it’snowonderthisdesignerisalreadygarlanded. 50 COVER STORY Style bible The Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People Ptolemy Mann is upliftedbyundefeatableandupbeatattitudeofthecolourful‘GentlemenofBacongo’,photographedby DanieleTamagni
EVENTS 14 The Selvedge Spring Fair Sweet Easter treats and much more. Add 31 March to your diaries and we’ll look forward to seeing you there...
WIN 80 Prizes this issue include; a pair of handmade leather shoes by Conker worth £150, five brightly coloured strings bags from Toast, six pairs of tickets to the Sport and Fashion exhibition at the Fashion Museum Bath and three copies of The 62 Group’s new book RadicalThread. Good Luck!
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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 our contributors 07 news The Joy of Making, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, Gavin & Turk’ at the Ben Brown Gallery, Fine Cell Work, RE found objects at Liberty, Dover Street Market, Paola Navone for eumenes, London Printworks Trust, Selena Scott’s goat socks, John Robshaw Textiles at Tissus d’Helene 09 need to know Tipu Sultan’s Tent 17 how to Make vintage dish towel bunting. Nicki Trench, author of APassionforQuilting, demonstrates a decorative crazy patchwork technique 80 subscription offers This issue every new subscriber and renewal will receive a stylish spotted scarf worth £19.85 from Gudrun Sjödén 84 listings Exhibitions, fairs, and events taking place around the world during April and May 84 read Under the Embroidered Sky. Embroidery of the Ahirs of Kutch, Anne Morrell 88 view Christien Meindertsma
Solo, Cotton: Global Threads, Cutting Through Time: Jeanette Sendler, Bagatelles, Anna Torma 93 resources Websites, reading lists and sources for those who want to find out more about The Ingenious Issue 95 coming next The Souvenir Issue: Marking the occasion with textiles. Cecil Beaton, Tapestry, Rag rugs, New Graduates, workwear, Christopher Farr, The 62 Group, Rush matting, Prize winning fabrics at our fantasy Summer Fete...
SELVEDGE ('selnid3) n. 1. finished di fferently 2. the non-fraying edge of a length of woven fabric. [: from SELF + EDGE]
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T H E F A B RI C
O F Y O U R L I F E : I
ISSUE 45 MAR/APR 2012 UK £9.95 EUROPE 14.95 USA $24.95 CANADA $24.95 AUS $24.95 JAPAN ¥3860 REST OF WORLD £14.95 www.selvedge.org
Ingenuity Making the mundane magical
N G E N UI T Y
M A KI
N G T H E
M U N D A N E
M A GI C A L
INVALUABLEClothespegs,Dhobi Ghat, Sir William Henry Perkin INTRIGUINGMaryKatrantzou,SpiderSilk,CrimpleneINSPIRINGTheGentlemenofBacongo, François Lesage Michael Brennand-Wood
THE FABRIC OF YOUR LIFE: TEXTILES IN FASHION, FINE ART, INTERIORS, TRAVEL AND SHOPPING
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