Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Incan Tunic and a Rock Partridge: Black and white and fields of color

 -- When considering textiles, I'm always interested in their role within a culture or society. Here's a description by the Spanish of an encounter with the Incans in their checkerboard military tunics.

Photo and text credits: "The Bird Illustrated 1550-1900: From the Collections of the New York Public Library" by Joseh Kastner.  
"To Weave for the Sun: Ancient Andean Textiles" by Rebecca Stone Miller

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Redbud leaves-- not so green

.....thinking about nature color, shapes, and shadows, here are several color variations of the same photo of redbud leaves which show different intensities of contrasts between the black shadows and the color. I love the layering of the leaves in this photos, which simultaneously conveys both flatness and depth.  I also like the delicacy of the black stem contrasted with the large, solid shapes of the shadows.  I can imagine this image in different colored  silks...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Studio floor- 13 July

It's always interesting for me to check in occasionally with what's on my mind these days by taking a good look at my  studio floor.
Starting from top right-- Jonah Leher's "Proust is a Neuroscientist", "Artists' Textiles in Britain,1945-1970: A Democratic Art", Owen Jones' "Grammar of Ornament", Gee's Bend quilts, "Ayako Miyawaki: Art of Japanese Applique", "Clyde Connell: The Art and Life of a Louisiana Woman" by Charlotte Moser, "Purses in Pieces" by Olaf Goubitz, "Il Ferro Nel Arte Italiano" by Gregorio de Ferrari, "Chinese Dress Accessories" by Valerie M. Garrett, "A Room of One's Own" by Virginia Woolf,
... and of course, birds, birds, birds.

Which all adds up to solitude, nature, making art with what you have, textiles, patterns, bags, applique, color, feathers, and flight....

Oh, and "Proust is a Neuroscientist"? That's a gift from a friend who knows that a book endorsed by both Oliver Sacks, a neuroscientist,  and Jacques Pepin, a chef, is the perfect book for me. The last chapter is on the mind and creativity as explored by Virginia Woolf, which brings me back to "A Room of One's Own" which is also on my studio floor, and where this post began.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Ayako Miyawaki Applique and Medieval Italian Ironwork

Two images which have been on my mind lately-- applique done in 1986 by the artist Ayako Miyawaki, and ironwork from the 14th c Tomb of Cansigniorio, Verona.
The similarity is in the shapes.  I don't know the inspiration for the ironwork, but the Miyawaki is called "Burdocks", which is a thistle of many varieties that grows wild in Japan and, as it turns out, here in Texas as well. In fact, they take over the pastures behind our house every spring, growing as tall as 4'.  Even though it's everywhere, I had no idea what the plant was called until I looked it up for this post.
No coincidence that I'm attracted to the familiarity of a form I see every day-- even when it appears in two such diverse works of art.

I love, love the detail of the Miyawaki-- the overlapping shapes and patterns, and the irregular stitching on the stem...... and of course the color.
The ironwork has a rough, flat, uneven quality which is charming, and how about those little ladders in the center of each clover? Possibly a reference to death, transcendence, heaven, what-will- happen-to-my-soul? Very medieval Christianity.  In any case, I find them whimsical, which may not exactly have been the intention.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Arts and Crafts Applique and Embroidery:1900-16

Pomegranate Table Square 1900-16
Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework
Applique and embroidery on linen 15"x15 1/2"

Fruit table linen in applique and Spachtel embriodery, c. 1908
17"x51". Anonymous
This week's indulgence is Arts and Crafts textiles, courtesy of the book "American Arts and Crafts Textiles" 

No need to wax poetic as the images speak for themselves. The colors, and the use of linen thread on linen fabric is classic Arts and Crafts Movement .
I particularly love the contrast in the Pomegranate Table Square of the dark branches in the center against the gold linen. And "Lotus Portieres"... what a wonderful idea to applique curtains.

I switched from drawing to sewing last week and have nearly finished the applique pillows , so I have applique on my mind.  This is the third post of Arts and Crafts Textiles for for me today.  Hopefully I've gotten it out of my system for awhile... except, what about the embroidered gloves I saw in a book last week....

(-apologies for blank spaces in text layout-- there seem to be some technical problems...)

Three panel folding screen with conventionalized rose design. 1902-16.
Flax and jute "Craftsman canvas" with linen applique and
hand embroidery; each panel 66"x22".

Anonymous. Pillow with conventionalized poppy design. c. 1906.
Silk embroidery over stenciling with glass beads on cotton monk's
cloth. 20"x18 1/2".
Craftsman Workshops. Table scarf with crab apple design. 1902-16.
Linen with hand embroidery in linen, darning stitch. 14 3/4"x17 1/2".

Carftsman Workshops. Lotus portieres in the dining room
of the Michael J. Riordan house. c. 1904. Flax, jute
"Craftsman canvas" with cotton twill applique
and hand embroidery, linen thread, 42" x 69".

All photos and captions from the book:       "American Arts and Crafts Textiles"

Arts and Crafts Embroidered Bags c.1912

Beautiful early 20thc hand embroidered linen bags used for taking one's needlework along on a trip.

All photos from the book
"American Arts and Crafts Textiles"
by Diane Ayres (and co.)

Arts and Crafts: Oak Leaf and Acorn Patchwork Quilt

This quilt has a quiet, spare, minimalist quality-- interesting considering it was made in 1912.  I like the way the leaves and acorns are treated as isolated objects that have migrated to the perimeter of the quilt.
Anonymous. Patchwork quilt with oak leaf and acorn design,
c. 1912. Cotton with applique. 88"x104"

Photos of cotton applique quilt from the book "American Arts and Crafts Textiles" by Diane Ayres, Beth Ann McPherson, Timothy Arthur McPherson II and Timothy Hansen.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vintage fabrics

Fabrics from a couple of well worn 1930's-40's quilts made by my grandmother or great aunt. I like to think about where the scraps came from-- what garments were made with the fabric. I can easily see using the small green geometric print for a 1940's dress like the McCall's pattern below.