Textiles

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I’m digging the unlikely and brilliant cross pollination of themes in the print on this Fall 2013 Quicksilver jacket with a vintage feel seen at the SIA show last month. Gondolas, pheasant and elk – who woulda thunk?

Click to see  Vintage Camper Fabric

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The recently released pictograms for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics have jogged me out of my blogging lethargy .

The simple round figures used for the 1980 Moscow Olympic pictograms have been playfully reinterpreted and filled with a brightly colored patchwork representing a combination of the sixteen most famous and recognizable national crafts in Russia – many of them textile. (Can anyone identify those crafts?)

What is there not to love about the synthesis of sport and craft in these chubby icons? Below are a few of my favorites. To see them all click here.

And thanks everyone for your nice notes wondering where I was when I was off line!

For more Olympic inspiration click here.

 

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High in the Swiss Alps between 1900 and 1960 indestructible Swiss Army blankets were hand woven in alpine villages from the grey and brown wool of local sheep. The blankets, woven with the characteristic red stripe and white cross were stored in caves for many peaceful decades until synthetic sleeping bags replaced them. Each blanket bears the initials of the maker and the date it was woven. Sometimes a stainless steel coin or seal is woven into the fabric. Each one is unique.

In the Swiss village of Törbel, cobbler Titus Karlen came up with the idea to reuse the blankets by hand stitching them into heavy-duty tote bags and knapsacks. Their leather straps are recycled from straps and belts from the Swiss army.

Family run Karlen Swiss, the largest employer in the village of Törbel, contributes to the local economy by providing jobs to women who would otherwise have to travel beyond the valley for work. Their work is synonymous with Swiss quality and ingenuity.

My passion for Swiss mountain culture (edelweiss, cheese, skiing, cow bells, mountain huts, yodeling) is embodied in the blanket bags. So many aspects of this collection appeal to me; the recycling of vintage, yet new, blankets into practical, rugged and attractive bags and accessories, all bag components are handmade, and that the “hand” of the original craftsperson is evident in each individual piece. Guess what’s on my Christmas list?

 

Photos via The Desalpes Company - another Swiss company making bags and household items from vintage Swiss Army blankets.

Become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook  - click here.

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Artist Jillian Tamaki used needle and thread to deliciously illustrate three book covers for the recent debut of the Penguin Threads series. She was commissioned  to stitch covers for Jane Austin’s Emma, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden and Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty. Each is beautifully rendered, her stitches are perfect, the color selection impeccable. The covers are sculpt-embossed for a textured feel. With a resurgence of handmade and homespun goods in the marketplace (think etsy.com, craft fairs and farmer’s markets), it is nothing short of genius to update the classics for a new generation of readers by “embroidering” their covers. Do you know a young reader who would delight in these editions? Find the series at your favorite local bookseller.

Jillian Tamaki’s blog shows her work in progress and more about the project.

The inside flap is a truly inspired! The back of Tamaki’s canvas shows her neat stitches.

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I don’t usually post literary humour, but found “A Note of Apology” too much fun to resist. The photos of crazy quilts interspersed throughout are from a collection at The Adirondack Museum. Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!

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©Poppy Gall 2011

A Note of Apology

Via: The Wag and the Knave

Margery,

That I stand accused of rendering your 2011 New England Quilt Competition entry a linguini-like heap of shredded cotton squares and eviscerated wool batting and, further, that it has been strenuously impressed upon me by the Northern Vermont Quilters Association that I offer you a formal apology, this note could not have come as less of a surprise to you had you planned and orchestrated the entire incident yourself. However, I must precursor the requested amends with some clarification for, as the saying goes, it takes two to tango. In short, I believe our problem–that is yours and mine–has progressed along from the very beginning.

©Poppy Gall 2011

I have been a member of this quilting guild for more years than I can remember, while you came aboard only a short while ago when you left Manhattan with your husband and retired here to Northern Vermont. Prescott had decided to push away the plate of commodity futures and heed the call of the trowel as a country squire. That you took to the gentle needle art like it was the Indie 500, cranking out quilt after quilt, swamping the rest of us, was not in and of itself a complete negative. We appreciated your virulent enthusiasm. It was your inability to take constructive criticism that chaffed so. For instance, when I gently pointed out to you your fruit-themed appliqué throw had all the salaciousness of Francis Bacon but none of the genius, you reared your head and flexed your nostrils like a mare whose oats were off. Unprovoked, you shot back, suggesting I knew nothing about art and even less about abstract themes. Shall I now remind you of my ladder of years quilt whose rungs, with an almost Kafkaesque perversity, lead nowhere? Admittedly, it was lost on most viewers, but I ascribe that to both my choice of fabric (a cheerful Swiss dot), and the thematic necessity of looping the quilt like a Möbius strip, rendering its use as a bedspread null and void. At any rate, I managed to quell the urge to trapunto your chin and ascribed your flinty behavior to immaturity. I presumed over time you would come to your senses and learn to take criticism gracefully, so I neatly tucked the whole incident away in my mental scrap bag.

©Poppy Gall 2011

At our monthly meetings, it grew increasingly apparent we would inevitably clash again. Your running for board president after only a six-month membership was unheard of the in the guild’s history. The added fact that you beat me by a landslide contributed to my irritation. I lobbied hard, it’s true, but did not have the financial means to treat the electorate to hundreds of free six-inch cotton squares. (I admit I was a little surprised how quickly members of the guild can be swayed when enough free cotton is dangled in front of them.) Please don’t think I’m accusing you of buying the presidency. You won outright, but it was yet another incident that I was forced to file away.

©Poppy Gall 2011

I believe the final blow was your act as president to bar my pineapple log cabin quilt in favor of your own as the sole entry in the New England competition. You claimed my quilt “lacked sufficient follow-through and exhibited signs of an almost freaky post-menopausal dementia.” Those are not the kind of words one throws around in Northern Vermont, Margery. Yes, executing the quilt entirely in black, hoping to achieve a kind of folksy bleak, was a risky move, but brilliance requires risk. And, as to the collective gasp elicited by our fellow quilters when I unfurled it, what can I say? Failure is only amplified by a lofty attempt. Just ask any balloon artist. Your hostile gesture (laced with palpable envy) in vetoing my entry pushed me over the edge and I confess I completely lost it. So, yes, I suppose Nettie Childes did find me on my hands and knees running my rotary cutter back and forth across your entry “in a vigorous, almost savage manner.” Nettie, though, is given to exaggerated storytelling on par with a crack head. Remember the time she told us aliens had abducted her on her weekend trip to Montreal? They weren’t aliens, Margery; they were a French mime troop. As we say in quilting, her mind is not colorfast. But let me continue. As you and the entire board (which has somehow fallen under your spell) are certain that my intention in destroying your double nine-patch with its alternating pink and blue squares (I’m sorry to say a rather predictable entry which would’ve stalled out in the regionals) was to nix you from national competition rather than a temporary snapping of my heretofore stalwart demeanor, I appear to be the lone voice of reason and, therefore, it is difficult to persuade you (and the pathetically brainwashed board) otherwise. Frankly, during the proceedings, I detected a hint of acid creeping into what could have been an otherwise positive flensing. Old wounds I thought long healed were re-opened. My mind kept drifting to thoughts of the Salem witch trials and burning flesh. Beatrice Loom practically cackled as she sharpened her between needles on her pumice stone, and once or twice I though I saw the lycanthropic flash of her eyeteeth. So, if I must, I’m sorry. There. It is done.

©Poppy Gall 2011

On a more positive note, I’ve moved on to other things. Please forward all mail and messages to the Montpelier Knitting Guild where I’ve taken up some number eights and am happily subduing an obstinate bouclé.

Giggles compliments of The Wag and the Knave

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The Tibetan tiger rug that I designed last fall and had hand woven in Kathmandu arrived bundled in burlap.

Tiger Rug rolled

As I slit open the package, I was excited and anxious at the same time. Did the weavers follow my design exactly and match the wool colors I requested? Would it “work” in my living space?

Tiger Rug 2

As I rolled out the carpet, I was delighted! It is as wonderful and lush as I’d imagined it. And it “works”!

Tiger Rug Border

To see more about my inspiration and design process for the tiger rug click here.

Tiger Rug 1

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Who would have thought that there could possibly be enough red and white quilts in the world to dramatically transform the Park Avenue Armory’s historic 55,000-square-foot Wade Thompson Drill Hall? Between March 25 and 30, 2011, the American Folk Art Museum is presenting an dizzying array of 650 one-of-a-kind examples of appliquéd and pieced American quilts, all of which are on loan from the collection of Joanna S. Rose. The quilt designs, which will hang in spirals from the ceiling so that fronts and backs of the quilts can be viewed, range from geometric to fanciful florals, and span 300 years of artistry and craftmansship. Infinite Variety: Three Centuries of Red and White Quilts will be the largest exhibition of quilts ever held in the New York City. As a gift to the public, entry to the exhibit is free.

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1-Collection of Joanna S. Rose 2011-02-28 at 8.56.16 pm

2-Collection of Joanna S. Rose 2011-02-28 at 8.52.28 pm

3-Collection of Joanna S. Rose 2011-02-28 at 8.53.17 pm

4-Collection of Joanna S. Rose 2011-02-28 at 8.55.03 pm

5-Collection of Joanna S. Rose 2011-02-28 at 8.55.32 pm

6-Collection of Joanna S. Rose2011-02-28 at 8.53.54 pm

7-Collection of Joanna S. Rose 2011-02-28 at 8.57.16 pm

Photos: American Folk Art Museum/Thinc

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The Tiger Rugs of Tibet by Mimi Lipton is one of those delicious design books that once I opened it I knew something good would come of it.  It highlights 108 (an auspicious number in Tibetan Buddhism) different rugs with tiger motifs. An interesting and scholarly text explains the origins of the style, weaving techniques, and materials and the significance of the tiger in Tibetan Buddhism.

6 Tiger Rugs Mimi Lipton

For a decade I’ve flipped through it’s pages and dreamed of having a tiger rug in my home. So when the opportunity recently arose to design a custom tiger rug and have it made by Tibetan weavers in Kathmandu, Nepal I jumped at it!

Since I can’t be there to oversee the weaving (it will take four to five months before I see the final product) and probably won’t be able to approve lab dips for the yarn colors, I am taking a leap of faith that it will turn out just fine!

I worked up a design with a stylized tiger pelt bordered with jagged mountains wreathed in clouds. The mountains have meaning for my husband and me as we’ve spent lots of time exploring high places. The clouds also have personal significance as I have a wonderful and surreal memory of sitting high on a Himalayan plateau at night looking down onto clouds, a thousand feet below, illuminated within from flashes of lightning.

TigerRug_Color_Mini

Our living room is narrow so the size rug I’ve chosen is not standard – 60” x 120”. I based my design on a rug from Lipton’s book, changing it only minimally. I drew my design to scale in my computer and then printed out enough of the design to get a feel for its scale. Just the very corner of the rug design used twelve sheets of paper which I then taped together and placed on my living room floor. I did this a couple of times before I felt sure the scale would work.

I played around with hanks of DMC embroidery floss to achieve a palette that I felt would work nicely with my furnishings. DMC floss colors are amazing for their wide range of choices and are great for specifying just the right shade. My colors are a little more muted than some of the tiger rugs in Lipton’s photographs, but they will work better in my home.

work table

My packet went off to Kathmandu yesterday with a full-scale print out of half of the rug, yarn swatches for the dyer to match, and a colored reference sketch for the weavers.

Scale drawing

In my professional design life I’m in intense and regular contact with the people making my goods, so this project will be an exercise in patience. Perhaps a fitting one for a carpet with roots found in sacred Buddhist art! I’ll share the end result – good or bad – when it arrives on my doorstep in the spring.

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“Mayan weaving is a celebration of feelings shared in common by an entire ethnic group”

My travel compass tends to swing towards lands where textiles play an important cultural role in the warp and weft of a locality.

Gianni Vecchiato has assembled a book full of heart-stopping photographs that illustrates Guatemalan people going about their daily lives, wearing their richly textured clothing.  The title, Guatemala Rainbow, speaks for itself with page after page of brilliantly colored pictures.

The armchair traveler can feel the warmth of the air, the bustle of the marketplace, the electricity of festivals, and get a sense the men, women and children who weave and wear exuberant colors every day. Vecchiato succeeds in convincing me that Guatemala is a place that I’d like to explore.

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If you’d like to purchase this book, order it from your local independent bookseller.

To become an interactive part of Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook click here.

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Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, riding for Saxo Bank, won the prestigious 259 km Paris-Roubaix one-day classic bicycle race in France on April 11, 2010, capturing the event for a second time.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris–Roubaix
Cancellara’s victory was due in part because he didn’t flat on a course notorious for it’s hellish road surface known to destroy tires. This was due to his choice to ride on hand-made tires.
Many people these days aren’t aware that up until the not-so-distant past, performance bicycle tires were made of latex-coated cotton or silk and called “sew-ups”.
I have fond memories of riding on and repairing sew-ups. But my best memory is the ease and speed in which I could change a sew-up by the side of the road. I switched to clinchers a few years ago after it became harder to find good sew-ups at affordable prices.
Between my appreciation for textiles, all things handcrafted and bicycle racing I was interested to learn about the French tire maker FMB that makes the world’s finest bicycle tires – by hand.
http://www.fm-boyaux.fr
FMB stands for Francois Marie Boyaux. Loosely translated Boyaux means tubular – for tubular (sew-up) tires. A one-man operation, Francois Marie’s the renaissance craftsman behind these ultra-dependable tires.
Only limited quantities are made so the best teams in the peloton including Saxo Bank, Quick Step and Team Sky order their allocation of FMB’s months in advance.
FMB makes the fabric for each tire casing using silk or long fiber Egyptian cotton depending on the type of tire being produced. The chosen fabric is wound onto a drum at a 45-degree angle and then coated with liquid latex and left to dry. Three layers of latex-coated bias-cut fabric are used for each tire.
A stickler for quality, FMB also builds their own latex inner tubes ensuring that their tires meet the highest standards. Once the casings and inner tubes are finished, the tubes are inserted into the casings and the casings are hand stitched closed. Rim tape is glued over the stitching. The tread is then applied.
If you appreciate and respect that handmade means just that, coupled with the fact that FMB’s can withstand grueling one day classics like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders without flatting you’ll understand the $165 price tag for each tire. It’s a small price to pay for confidence in your equipment and to go down in history winning Paris-Roubaix.
http://www.competitivecyclist.com/road-bikes/product-components/2010-fmb-paris-roubaix-25-tubular-tire-7427.2709.0.html

Fabian Cancellara of Switzerland, riding for Saxo Bank, won the prestigious 259 km Paris-Roubaix one-day classic bicycle race in France on April 11, 2010, capturing the event for a second time.

Cancellara’s victory was due in part because he didn’t flat on a course notorious for it’s hellish road surface known to destroy tires. This could be because he chose to ride on hand-made tires.

cancellara-in-arenberg

Many people these days aren’t aware that up until the not-so-distant past, performance bicycle tires were made of latex-coated cotton or silk and called “sew-ups”.

I have fond memories of riding on, and repairing, sew-ups. But my best memory is the ease and speed in which I could change a sew-up by the side of the road. After flatting, I could change a tire and be back in the saddle within a few minutes. I switched to clinchers a few years ago after it became harder to find decent sew-ups at affordable prices.

Between my appreciation for textiles, all things handcrafted, and bicycle racing I was interested to learn about the French tire maker FMB that makes the world’s finest bicycle tires – by hand.

FMB Tires

FMB stands for Francois Marie Boyaux. Loosely translated Boyaux means “tubular” – for tubular tires. (“sew-ups”). A one-man operation, Francois Marie’s the renaissance craftsman behind these ultra-dependable tires.

Only limited quantities are made, so the best teams in the peloton including Saxo Bank, Quick Step and Team Sky order their allocation of FMB’s months in advance.

FMB makes the fabric for each tire casing using silk or long fiber Egyptian cotton depending on the type of tire being produced. The chosen fabric is wound onto a drum at a 45-degree angle and then coated with liquid latex and left to dry. Three layers of latex-coated bias-cut fabric are used for each tire.

A stickler for quality, FMB also builds their own latex inner tubes ensuring that their tires meet the highest standards. Once the casings and inner tubes are finished, the tubes are inserted into the casings and then the casings are hand stitched closed. Rim tape is glued over the stitching. The tread is then applied.

If you appreciate and respect that handmade means just that, coupled with the fact that FMB’s can withstand grueling one day classics like Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders without flatting you’ll understand the $165 price tag for each tire. It’s a small price to pay for confidence in your equipment and to go down in history winning Paris-Roubaix.

To see more posts on my blog about bicycles click here.

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Living National Treasure Serizawa Keisuke (1895–1984) used stencil-dyeing techniques to create irresistible works of art that range from screens and kimonos to book covers and magazine designs. The combination of Serizawa’s originality and vitality with the natural beauty of his materials—cotton, silk, hemp, and other fibers decorated with the brilliant yet warm hues of natural dyes—will make his work a visual feast.
Below are examples of his work shown recently at New York’s  Japan Society.

Serizawa Keisuke (1895–1984) used stencil-dyeing techniques to create irresistible works of art that range from screens and kimonos to book covers and magazine designs. The combination of Serizawa’s originality and vitality with the natural beauty of his materials—cotton, silk, hemp, and other fibers decorated with the brilliant yet warm hues of natural dyes make his work a visual feast.

His work was recently shown at New York’s Japan Society.

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2-Serizawa_12_450

3-Serizawa_14_450

4-Serizawa_19_450

5-Serizawa_17_450

6-Serizawa_20_450

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When I woke up this morning I found that snow had fallen again during the night. The apple trees surrounding my house are frosted lacy against the grey morning sky.
Insert Poppy pic here
As I gaze out my window while trying to get some work done, such a pretty sight is a real distraction Рor a pleasure Рdepending on how I look at it. I am grateful not to be working in a windowless cubby. I am amazed how snow, in all it’s frozen forms, never ceases to inspire me!
I just popped onto the Design*Sponge blog and discovered Emily Ann Nachison’s fiber art installation. It reminds me of this morning’s fresh snow, or a stage set for a winter fairy tale.
Emily Nachison used netting, camouflage netting, latex paint, spray paint, crystals, zip ties, and string to create this heavenly installation.  I was planning on taking a day off from blogging todaybut I couldn‚Äôt resist sharing these images with you. What do you think of them?
Insert pic 1
Insert pic 2

When I woke up this morning I found that snow had fallen again during the night. The apple trees surrounding my house were  frosted lacy against the grey morning sky.

Snowontrees

I gaze out my window while trying to get some work done. Such a pretty sight is a real distraction – or a pleasure – depending on how I look at it. I am grateful not to be working in a windowless cubby. Snow, in all its frozen forms, never ceases to amaze and inspire me!

I just popped onto the Design*Sponge blog and discovered Emily Ann Nachison‘s fiber art installation. It reminds me of this mornings fresh snow, or a stage set for a winter fairy tale.

Emily used netting, camouflage netting, latex paint, spray paint, crystals, zip ties, and string to create this heavenly installation.  I was planning to take a day off from blogging today but I couldn’t resist sharing these images with you. What do you think of them?

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13_EN

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