Category Archives: textile art

Stunning Hand Tufted Rugs – Textile Tapestry by Alexandra Kehayoglou

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I was just browsing a link to the American Craft Council Site, when I came across this post – on their Colossal Section – have a look, the rugs are really stunning!

Native Argentine Landscapes Explored in New Hand-

Tufted Rugs by Alexandra Kehayoglou

Written by KATE SIERZPUTOWSKI – Published SEPTEMBER 20, 2018

"Santa Cruz River" (2016-2017), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool, 980 x 420 cm, Presented at National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) Triennial | Melbourne, Australia 2018. Commissioned and acquired by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne.

Textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou (previously) creates functional works of art that explore the natural landscapes of her native Argentina. Her selected locations are often ones tied to political controversy, such as the Santa Cruz River, or areas dramatically altered by human activity, such as the Raggio creek. Kehayoglou uses her craft as a chance as a call for environmental awareness, embedding her own memory and research of the disappearing waterways and grasslands into her hand-tufted works.

Each tapestry uses surplus materials from her family’s factory, which has manufactured industrial carpets for more than six decades. The one-of-a-kind carpets are often installed against the wall, with a section of the work trailing along the floor so visitors can walk or lay on the woven rugs.

In December 2017, her piece Santa Cruz River was included in the National Gallery of Victoria Triennial in Melbourne. The installation showcased her research behind the future damming of the river and her own interpretation of the harm that will continue to influence the surrounding area. Later this month Kehayoglou will present a new site-specific tapestry that explores the tribes of Patagonia in the group exhibition Dream at the Chiostro del Bramante in Rome. You can see more of her work on her website and Instagram.

"Santa Cruz River" detail (2016-2017), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool, 980 x 420 cm

"Santa Cruz River" detail (2016-2017), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool, 980 x 420 cm

"Hope the voyage is a long one" (2016), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool

"Hope the voyage is a long one" (2016), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool

"No Longer Creek" (2016), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool, 820 x 460 cm, Presented at Design Miami/ Basel, 2016 | Basel, Switzerland. Commissioned by Artsy. Courtesy of Artsy & The National Gallery of Victoria.

"Santa Cruz River II" (2017), Textile tapestry (handtuft system), wool, 205 x 150 cm

6″ (15.2 cm) strips of the full width of fabrics for quilting, versus fat quarters?

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I started selling Art Gallery Fabrics, and other specialist designs, a couple of years ago, because they are so beautiful.  I don’t manage to get around to doing a lot of dressmaking these days, although at one time, I used to make most of my own clothes and hand sewn gifts for other people.  Some of the patterns I used are still in my sewing box, and occasionally I go thro’ them to sell on etsy, although finding them has got more difficult since I have moved!

Below are some of the more recent 100% cotton fabrics I have in stock, and there are some really lovely ones on back order, which I hope will arrive soon, and will put them up when they do.  I list some of these on etsy but I usually only show a small selection there.   To find the whole range of fabrics I currently stock, it’s best to go to my new website – this link will take you to the fabric category page.

I also plan to make some quilts one of these days, and have been collecting equipment and instructions, but altho’ I brought my old sewing machine with me, I never seem to have the time!  Things are rather chaotic here, as there is so little space to work in – until I can finally make a few changes to the layout of the cottage.

The width of these fabrics are usually 45″ (114 cm), but some of them are wider, and I always offer a per metre price, AND a price for a 6″ (15 cm) strip of the full width of the fabric.  This is a useful and cheap way to get a sample of the fabric – priced at around £2.50 – and is big enough to use for adding contrast fabrics to clothes, AND, to be used as squares, triangles etc, for quilting projects.

Oddly enough, I don’t get many orders for these 6″ strips!  Quilters are familiar with fat quarters of fabric – ie: a square quarter of a metre – or whatever shape folding a metre into 4 gives you.  I find this an uneconomical way to sell fabric, as you have to cut into the length of the fabric to provide the fat quarter, and may not sell the other 3 pieces, whereas, if you order a 6″ strip, I can cut the whole piece off from the whatever length of fabric I have, and we both get a good deal.

So I would be interested to know, from those of you that make quilts, or do general sewing and dressmaking, whether you think the 6″ strip is a good idea or not?

Kantha – Vintage Quilts – recycling fabrics the time honoured way

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I hadn’t known anything about the history of quilt making with recycled fabrics in India, until I chanced on an advert for an exhibition of KANTHA textiles at the Mingei International Museum, California, last September.

see https://julzcrafts.com/2017/09/06/kantha-exhibition-of-textiles-of-bengal/.

“Kantha is a term used across the Indian sub-continent to denote decorative stitched quilting. In Gujarat, hangings patterned with concentric circles or squares in running stitch are known as kanthas, while in Bengal, kanthas are stitched for a variety of purposes, such as winter quilts, covers and wraps for books and valuables or as mats for ceremonial purposes.

They are most often given to daughters on the occasion of their marriage, as a token of love, or as a gift for a new-born child or grown son. They are often, as tradition has it, made up of old cast off saris or dhotis. They can be the work of two or more generations of women and are treasured as family heirlooms.”

You can also find out more about Kantha HERE

fullsizeoutput_34bOne of the people who saw the post was Manish, who was doing research on this ancient tradition, and he has recently set up a small business to collect and recycle old quilts, and to make new ones for sale worldwide.

He asked if I could give his website a mention, and sent me a bit more information about Kantha.  So I checked him out!  I have edited his contribution to fit the style of this blog – which is ‘to inspire and educate’ my readers – and myself! – in various aspects of crafts, whether you make anything yourself – or just appreciate!

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PHOTO-2018-05-17-17-32-33” The term ‘Kantha’ can be understood in Sanskrit as ‘rags’.

 

The origin of Kantha can be dated back to the age of Vedic period, which has a profound background in India. Chaitanya Charitamrita is a very popular age old book written by Krishnadas Kaviraj, some 500 years ago. The recurring patterns, designs and other beautiful elements are most celebrated part, which the book talks about.

The historic art and motifs are incorporated in modern works with the depiction of nature, sun, trees, people, culture and many more through the finest play of thread over a piece of cloth.

In the region of West Bengal, Kantha is seen as a very auspicious symbol in weddings and birth ceremonies.

Being a Bengali man, I never really got an opportunity to peek inside and know more about this form of art, which is being transferred from generation to generation. 

When I was a kid, I saw my grandmother would sit with a piece of cloth in her lap and different colours of thread lying all around her. She used to be very keen and generous with her work. She would move her hands very slowly and firmly with a needle and thread across the cloth and a very beautiful design would come up. 

The clothes on which she used to weave would tell stories of trees, people, lakes and animals.

vintage kantha quilt by makkiWhen I moved to eastern Bengal, I saw old and young women still so engrossed in the stitching kantha handkerchiefs, quilts and bed sheets. I was mesmerized by the beauty in their eyes and the passion in their attitude while they were busy doing the embroidery.

I was so inspired and motivated to continue this tradition in other parts of India that I started my own business, selling Kantha quilts and, hopefully creating a world class platform for customers from every corner of the world to know more about India, its tradition and history of India, through the quilts.

vintagekanthaquiltThe Kantha quilts have been made with finest threads, and will last long longer than your life, so that you can pass down this historical piece to many upcoming generations. India is best reflected within the dimensions of quilt.”

He tells me that the “quilts are made in West Bengal by artisans, and they are paid fairly”.

Do have a look at his site – vintagekanthaquilt.com – the prices are reasonable and he is currently running a special discount offer.

NB:  I do not normally ‘advertise’ other businesses on this site, but he asked nicely – smile – and I like what he is doing.  No fee has been charged and I have no other knowledge of how he works, and do not take any responsibility for the quality of the products.

Review: Anni Albers On Weaving

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A 52 yr old book by an iconic weaver has been republished – I haven’t yet got a copy, but at least I have a review for those weavers and artists who might be interested!
“Albers began her artistic journey by enrolling in the Bauhaus as a painter, but she was pressured by administrators to focus on the more “womanly” activity of weaving.”
Published on Friday, October 27, 2017 – by the American Craft Council
Anni Albers Black Mountain
Anni Albers in her weaving studio at Black Mountain College in 1937.

Courtesy of the Western Regional Archives, State Archives of North Carolina

Few craft books have had as inauspicious a start as On Weaving, by Anni Albers. When she was offered the opportunity to write an essay on handweaving for the Encyclopedia Britannica in 1963, Albers (1899 – 1994) was well-established globally as an innovative weaver who had transformed the ancient craft into modern textile art. That commission planted the seed for her book, which was published in 1965, but its arrival disappointed many craft-minded readers, who were frustrated that only a handful of weavings were illustrated in color. Over one hundred weavings, examples of masterworks ranging from the ancient Peruvian to Albers’ own, were reproduced in dull monochrome.

A new expanded edition, released earlier this month by Princeton University Press, replaces the earlier version’s 112 black-and-white plates with radiant color weaving reproductions. That alone is a reason to rejoice. The afterword by Nicholas Fox Weber, a writer and essayist who runs the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, is another illuminating addition. And if craft is a means of exploring the world for you, this travel guide beckons.

Even with its photographic shortcomings, the original On Weaving found an appreciative audience not only among crafters, but also among lovers of modernism. Albers began her artistic journey by enrolling in the Bauhaus as a painter, but she was pressured by administrators to focus on the more “womanly” activity of weaving. The book offers Albers’ memory of moving past the initial frustration:

In my case it was the threads that caught me really against my will. To work with threads seemed sissy to me. I wanted something to be conquered. But circumstances held me to threads and they won me over. I learned to listen to them and to speak their language. I learned the process of handling them.

This excerpt is marked by recollection, but the book is much more than just an artist’s memoir. On Weaving presents a taste of an artful retelling of a life, but it also reads on occasion like an encyclopedia article – appropriately, given its origins – and serves as a tribute to the ancient Peruvian weaving tradition that most inspired Albers. In all, On Weaving presents Albers as a daredevil artist, experimenter, and educator, often in tandem with her renowned husband Josef, himself a painter and educator. The preface makes clear that Albers considered her life to be first and foremost a creative provocation, a meandering adventure interlacing warp and weft, hands and mind. Albers writes, “Though I am dealing in this book with long-established facts and processes, still, in exploring them, I feel on new ground…Thus tangential subjects come into view. The thoughts, however, can, I believe, be traced back to the event of a thread.”

The fact that Albers frames a thread as a happening, a process-initiator instead of solely material, signals that this 52-year-old book is as fresh and vital as ever. It reminds us that craft materials matter as more than raw objects. From Albers’ perspective, materials are alive and on the move, speaking to us, demanding attention. Threads can take us anywhere.

Garment Labels for your Handmade Craft items

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I have just spent a couple of hours putting the 9 designs of these machine embroidered iron-on labels into one listing  here on etsy and I thought I might as well put them up here so that you know they are available!  They are also listed on my new retail website here on JULZ CRAFT STORE .

You can use them for dressmaking, knitted garments and any other handmade item – if adding a name or writing to them, please remember to use a permanent marker pen, as ordinary pens will smudge in the wash.  If you don’t want to iron them on your carefully made item, you can sew them on – or even tack them onto a wooden object!

There are four labels in each pack – which sells for £3.99 – and available to buyers in the UK and Worldwide.

If you are buying them from JULZ CRAFT STORE – do remember to use the coupon code – which is on the right hand information area on this blog, so that you get your 5% discount.  Yes I know its not much, but if you are on my mailing list, I have sent you a coupon for 10% off, and once you have put in a order to my new website, you will get a coupon code for 10% off your next order!

Have Fun!

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A Fascinating Recycling Weaving Project from Australia

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This is one of those posts that is so odd – and slightly confusing – that I just had to copy it here!

Indigenous artists weave their magic with Spanish designer for NGV Triennial display

A Spanish designer’s collaboration with Indigenous artists in a remote Top End community has produced an unlikely and beautiful cross-cultural artwork on display at the NGV Triennial.

The piece, which combines ancient Indigenous weaving techniques with recycled materials of the modern world, is the work of Alvaro Catalán de Ocón and Yolngu weavers from Bula’bula Arts in Ramingining.  (I had to look it up!)

Ramingining is an Indigenous community in the Northern Territory, Australia, 560 km east of Darwin. It is on the edge of the Arafura Swamp in Arnhem Land. The population is approximately 800 people, though this fluctuates and there is a significant housing shortage.More at Wikipedia

“I basically do product design, but quite recently I have been combining this way of doing it with craft, and mainly weaving,” Mr Catalán de Ocón told ABC Radio Darwin‘s Liz Trevaskis from his studio in Barcelona.

With his PET Lamp project, Mr Catalán de Ocón travelled to five art centres in as many continents, using recycled bottles and local weaving techniques to create brightly coloured lamp shades.

But learning about the kinship systems in the East Arnhem Land community prompted him to break with tradition.

Where previous collaborations had produced thousands of lamp shades, this one produced just two woven together by eight local women using native plant materials and ancient techniques.

The resulting works are large, irregularly shaped weavings in luminous, earthen tones, woven together according to the women’s relationships to one another.

Project born from mission to creatively recycle

In 2011, Mr Catalán de Ocón was travelling through Colombia and became involved in an art project about rising levels of plastic waste in the Amazon River.

“They were interested in having my perspective as a product designer, and I thought about instead of recycling, reusing, because there was no infrastructure in those areas for recycling, it was about turning the object into something else,” he said.

The object in question was a PET bottle, which Mr Catalán de Ocón noted had a short shelf life compared to the time it took to decompose.

While he could not single-handedly fix the problem of plastic waste, he thought he could use intelligent product design to make a statement about it.

Drawing inspiration from the shape of a Japanese tea whisk, Mr Catalán de Ocón recognised a similarity between certain looms and the shape of a plastic bottle that had been cut to pieces.

“You have a knot, which is the screw top, and then you have the body of the bottle, which you can cut in strips, and that becomes like a loom you can weave onto,” he said.

Taking this logic a step further, the product designer realised the issue of mounting plastic waste and the art of weaving were both somewhat universal.

There are few crafts, he said, as ancient or widely practiced as textile weaving.

“So we turned it from a container into a lamp through the use of local craft, which was very strong in Colombia,” he said.

“It’s two realities which can mix together.”

He travelled from Colombia to Chile, Ethiopia and Japan, weaving lamp shades with disfigured plastic bottles and local designs.

In 2016, after being commissioned by the NGV to bring the project to Australia, he decided the project’s next location would be Ramingining.

A cross-cultural experience

Over six weeks, Mr Catalán de Ocón became embedded in the remote community, consulting and collaborating through long working days with the Bula’bula artists.

He likened the experience of living in the remote community (about three days’ drive from Darwin) to travelling back in time.

“Little by little, we managed to get into that world.

“We know we only really arrived in the very surface of it, but you realise how deep it is and how different it is — the way of understanding the land, the way of understanding life and time.”

While the designer had produced about 15,000 lamps in previous workshops, Mr Catalán de Ocón decided this time they would work towards just two.

“They were telling us their stories, we were going out to the bush to pick up the materials, doing the whole process so we could spend a lot of time together,” he said.

“At a certain point, each weaver did an individual piece and we started joining them together according to family links and family bonds with the weavers which were doing the lamps.”

One of the pieces is now on display at the NGV Triennial.

The other hangs in the studio in Barcelona where Mr Catalán de Ocón fields calls from weaver Lynette Birriran every couple of days — an ongoing touchstone between their two very different worlds.

“She tells us what is happening in Ramingining, what the weather is like, how are things going on,” the designer said.

“We tell them how is the lamp, if it’s showing here or there.

“She enjoys it a lot — we send pictures and it’s quite an experience.”