Bridging Arts

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

The heavens' embroidered cloths

Just came across this poem by W B Yeats and love the image of the heavens' embroidered cloths... Though you would have to be NUTS to lay your dreams under someone's feet (I'm afraid).

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W.B. Yeats

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The priceless teatowel

Love these teatowels spotted in Selfridges.
The applique and embroidery reminds me of Katherine Eve's wonderful work in her graduation show last year. But at nearly £30 each they're beyond my pocket.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Beading after the trenches - World War One embroidery by a soldier

This cushion was embroidered by a soldier from the Duke of Cornwall's Light Infantry - 'therapy' kits were distributed to hospitals and prisoner of war camps. In the centre is the Cornish shield and the county's motto: 'One and All'.
The pastel colour, delicate beading and goldwork seem so poignant - worked by someone who had seen the carnage of the trenches.
It was on display in Helston Museum, Cornwall, as part of an exhibition marking the centenary of the start of World War One.

Monday, 17 November 2014

A knightly skirt

Loved the way someone at the Parador in Avila, Spain, has decided to tack a skirt on to this coat of armour. Preserving the knight's modesty perhaps?
The power of fabric.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Bar furniture

In Madrid in a cafe behind the Prado....notice some intriguing boxes on the bar.  The barman tells me they were made by the mother of the owner - 'a very old lady' - who loves to make them. They are stitched squares of plastic netting bound together with embroidery silk. What a fantastic idea. Wonder if we could develop something similar for work with elderly people in residential homes.....

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I Don't Know: the weave of textile language

I don't know either - actually - having seen Richard Tuttle's textile sculpture at Tate Modern this weekend.
I had been lured there by the wonderful photo (above) in the London Review of Books.
But in fact just saw this (below) which felt dismal, I don't know why - perhaps my mood. Conveyed in the title 'I Don't Know ...." is the idea that textile sculpture can have its own life. It changes as it is draped: presents differently in different spaces. In one sense this is exciting - in another meaningless (or that is what I felt on Saturday).
The loops of the fabric reflected the arches of the suspension bridge outside.
Was much happier at Fenwick where this Marc Jacob scarf cheered me up.
As did this dress. Simply because the print on the fabric reminded me of spring - Japan - cherry blossom and exquisite birds. Pure escapism.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Matisse: patterns to energise

Matisse/Spanish Still Life 1910-11

Came across postcards of these two paintings this morning - kept ever since visiting an exhibition at the Royal Academy in 2005 - which I now see was called Matisse: His Art and His Textiles.
This was long before we started on The British Sari Story in 2007 or Stitch - so I must have visited it fairly randomly.
Something must have lodged in the mind, though.
These patterns are so vigorous and strong: they are what the painting is about somehow.
Have just had two pieces of toast and marmalade for breakfast but looking at these pictures has given me more energy.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The meaning of a stitch

It's a long time since I was a Guide - but I do remember how hard it was to earn badges. In my day - for sewing, cooking (hard to imagine!), orienteering (perhaps).....
Time has moved on. I was interested to see the range of badges on the fleece of a wonderful Guide from Camborne, Cornwall.
And the painstakingly neat - poignant even - stitches with which they're sewn on. The stitches almost speak.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Fabric in Veronese: rich merchants of Venice

Fabulous fabrics on display at the National Gallery's current Veronese exhibition.
Have been reading T.J. Clark's article on the Allegories of Love in the London Review of Books: reflections on the relationship between fabric, emotion and personality.
The four paintings show different aspects of love:  Infedelta, Disinganno, Rispetto and Unione felice. The emotions in the paintings are visualised not just through the bodies, the composition and the stories being told - but also through the rich fabric.   Everything is 'supercharged', says Clark.
"Hence the famous gaudiness of his surfaces - the shot silk, the rippling silver stripes, the impenetrable brocade, the special acidity of his greens and yellow. His treatment of fabrics makes sense, I think, the moment one grasps it as a language - a specific high diction - in which internal mobilities and resistances are staged in two dimensions."
Scorn/Veronese 'Allegories of Love'

The details: three very different fabrics in Scorn, catching the light and the passion of the sceneGold-rose and silver-grey here....

 A gold-yellow and green gown next to this heavenly dress...

 And orange and gold around the naked lover.
English translations: Infidelity, Scorn, Respect and Happy Union (though there is controversy over rendering 'Disinganno' as 'Scorn'.  Doesn't seem quite right to me either. More here.)