Thursday, November 28, 2013

Festive Thanks

photo: St Tyl
Museum of Decorative Arts Prague

Fragment of cloth with figurative pattern 2nd half 17th century 
cotton direct indigo printing
purchased from Joseph Krauth Frankfurt  1886

Friday, November 15, 2013

Renaissance Dreams

French Trotters: real Parisian jeans

La beauté de la main et la machine--
The beauty of man and the machine.
crafted in Paris

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Visage et corps: Salvador

Le Jardin (Duratrans/ light box) 
inspired by the Garden of Earthly Delights of Hieronymus Bosch

Can photography represent reality more fully than a painting? 
And what of dreams - which medium expresses them best? 
Steeped in the language of art that has come before him, Jean-Jacques Salvador's approach to photography is highly technical and modern yet converses fluently with the masters of old. His photography now secures the fleeting constructions of the human mind the way Bosch did with paint - and painstaking method.  Modern faces, modern bodies inhabit exploratory themes that have not finished to claim our attention.

Têtes antiques

In a visual grammar where the classics are not dead, beware, Medusa looks back at us.

more information at Catherine Valogne
see also my previous article, here

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Queen of Flowers Brocade

photo St Tyl
There are so many beautiful ways to use fabric but certain designs may or may not be appreciated until put into the right setting. It would be hard for a silk enthusiast not to appreciate La Reine des Fleurs, but the beauty of these long flowing garlands is impressive and, as with large scale diagonals, presents a very defined character. This 19th century design is still hand woven in 100% silk by Tassinari & Chatel -  for the article at St Tyl, click !

Saturday, November 9, 2013

La Verdure

Martine Aballéa Le jour et la nuit
Man has always wished to tame nature, to bring it inside. John Hopper of The Textile Blog believes it to be our greatest inspiration and source of creativity. Though many today may feel increasingly distanced from nature, the subject is so much a constant source of marvel and decorative exploration that it could never be dropped from the textile artist's repertoire. A verdure is characterized by the use of foliage and plant forms which cover the surface of a fabric almost entirely. Any appearance by man is incidental.  Eloge de la verdure is a tapestry exhibit that explores the subject through mille-fleurs and various plant forms, landscapes, and the changing seasons from the 16th century onward to signed works by Monet, Buri, Hadju, Alechinsky, Prassinos et Traquandi...

JPEG - 286.3 ko

Verdure à feuilles de choux
Tapisserie des Flandres, XVIe siècle

Photo : Mobilier national/Isabelle Bideau
Dom Robert Mille fleurs sauvages Tapisserie d’Aubusson 1961
Dom Robert Mille Feurs Sauvages tapestry d'Aubusson 1961

JPEG - 337.9 ko

Jean Lurçat Jean (1892-1966)
Le Printemps, 1946
Tapisserie d’Aubusson
Paris, Mobilier national

Photo : Mobilier national/Isabelle Bideau

JPEG - 126 ko

Milva Maglione (1934-2010)
Vent de printemps dans l’après-midi, 1962
Tapisserie des Gobelins
Paris, Mobilier national

Photo : Mobilier national/Isabelle Bideau

Jacques Monory Velvet Jungle n°1 Tapisserie des Gobelins 2012
Jacques Monory Velvet Jungle 2012 Tapisserie des Gobelins

Eloge de la verdure 
at the Galerie des Gobelins
jusqu'à 1 jan 2014

Friday, November 8, 2013

La Reine des Fleurs: from bedroom to ballroom and onward

photo St Tyl
La Reine des Fleurs woven document from 1895 Tassinari et Chatel.
There is something classic and modern about the unusual design disposition of this
beautiful brocade on a ground of cannetillé

Cannetillé is a weave that is similar to cannelé or a more sophisticated reps with horizontal ribs that have been worked into little pavés or alternating squares or lozenges. (My own black and cream design used on the sides of this blog shows a close up of a modern cannetillé technique.) The pattern is still hand woven today in 100% silk for those privileged enough to acquire it. The brocading technique requires very attentive weaving wrong side up; mirrors are installed underneath the loom to survey the progress on the right-side.

photo Marc Walter
from La Soie en Occident by Jacques Anquetil
The same looping garlands of roses in a different coloration are found
in this ball gown by Worth taken from a truly marvelous book with sublime photography. The book is entitled Silk in English. Worth used plainer fabrics such as taffeta and satin earlier in his career but used pronounced, large-scale designs such as this toward the end of the 19th century.

( You may recognize some of Marc Walter's more recent photography in 
Un Certain Goût Pour L'orient / Exotic Taste: Orientalist Interiors and 
Versailles just out this month) 

photo Versailles

In the apartments of the Duchesse du Barry at Versailles, we see the brocade draped
à la reine and with coordinated passementrie.

photo Anthony Denney
This seems to be a 1950s interior with a 18th century bed à la Polonaise and comfortable armchairs 
decoration by Antoinette Bernstein.

photo: Delprat
 Here, several fabric designs served as inspiration for this spectacular rug designed by Patrick Norguet  made by Tai Ping in 2010. In the foreground, La Reine des Fleurs which blends into other florals from the Tassinari archives, Courson, Compiègne, Choisy. More on this rug project here.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth...

La Reine des Fleurs is still produced on special order at Tassinari & Chatel.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

That spider cloth

Because I mentioned it only briefly in my post Halloween Ambiance, I'm coming back to this exquisite spider silk fabric presented last year at the Victoria and Albert for those of you who are interested.

 The above fabric was a project of Simon Peers and Nicholas Godley and its threads, the product of more than one million female Golden Orb weaver spiders of Madagascar. The color belongs to Nature; no dying was necessary. The above image is a detail of the cape shown in the previous blog post. It is a plain taffeta which has been embroidered with more of the same spider silk.

image Wikipedia
In the myths of many cultures, the spider is the creator of the Cosmos, creating seemingly something from nothing. Stronger than steel, stronger than Kevlar, the silk issued from the spider has been considered an interesting but difficult pursuit for quite some time. Spiders are not the most amenable creatures on the earth and they have an incorrigible cannibalistic tendency when brought together for production purposes.

image Victoria & Albert

The blog, Balades Entomologiques, reports that in 1610 Réaumur noted it down as important to study its possibilities as a material of the future. Francois-Xavier de Saint Hilaire (1678-1761) wrote a Dissertation sur l'araignée which taught how to spin spider silk. His work was translated into all European languages as well as Chinese. The only sizable known example of spider silk weaving dates to the Exposition Universelle of Paris 1900 where bed hangings of spider silk were on display. As resistant as they were, these seem to have disappeared. The Economist reports that it "was never designed as a commercial venture it cannot be cleaned and shrinks in contact with water." Maybe the 1900 hangings were washed somewhere along the line --several times.

photo The Economist
Incredibly soft Peers says "you literally cannot feel it, it’s quite extraordinary. I think one of the reasons for that is that if you get a cross-section of the silk you can see it’s perfectly cylindrical, the silk, unlike the Chinese Silk Worm which has got this sort of irregular, triangular cross-section." But it is the spider silk's qualities of strength and elasticity that interest scientists most. With numerous applications in medicine and engineering and even music (chord instruments), many attempts to make artificial spider silk are underway. 

more information here

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Walks and warnings

all photos Le style et la matière
Last week's hauntings included a tour of Tours and Chinon.

"Passage of the Regretful Heart "
A name may catch your attention - how quaint? I learned long ago that there is usually a story behind such things. These walls might have many a tale to tell - and not as romantic as we are inclined to think when we see the word heart. Those sentenced to death took this dark  passage on the way to the pillory or gallows located at the place Foire-le-Roi of Tours. Adding torment to torture, this long and narrow passage is more oppressive than Venice's Bridge of Sighs.

all photos Le style et la matière

Covered in textiles

If you are cuckoo about textiles and can imagine them in unexpected places, this new development may interest you.
Rezina has come up with a new way to use textiles on every surface  - tables, walls, floors,

even showers. 

The textile is fixed with resin to make a surface that is impermeable 
and very resistant while keeping its original appearance and texture.
The pictures on the site show mostly this sort of linen and casual, free form application.I'd like to see a greater variety of examples.

Your ideas?