Category Archives: textile art

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

Standard

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

Standard

unnamed

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!

346b8fe0-9b73-4773-aafe-b106e31df5d0

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

Standard
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

Standard

Collage_Ironlabels.jpg

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!

website black-julzlogo

 

A Fascinating Recycling Weaving Project from Australia

Standard

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.”

The History of Weaving in India

Standard

This is a fascinating and well researched article I found this week on “International THE NEWS”.  I have just added the links and some pictures.

It’s one of those pieces that you find out stuff you never knew, whether or not you are interested in history or weaving – smile!

Weaving history

271282_9853525_magazineJanuary 22, 2018.  By Pooja Dawani

The Indian sub-continent has a rich and ancient history of textile art and exports, with the heritage spanning almost 5,000 years. It’s been found that fabric-making was an important part of people’s lives even at the time when the Indus Valley Civilisation flourished.

Mohenjodaro_Sindh

Excavated ruins of Mohenjo-daro, Sindh province, Pakistan, showing the Great Bath in the foreground. Mohenjo-daro, on the right bank of the Indus River, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the first site in South Asia to be so declared.

The excavations at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro reveal that the spinning wheel or the charkha was an essential part of the sub-continental household. Other than practices of resist-dyeing, hand-painting, and embroidery, the Indus Valley people were masters in the art of weaving.

The Vedic Aryans and the Buddhists who settled in this region after the Indus Valley Civilization also used the charkha. The entire cloth-making process which was done by hand, involved great skill and the sub continental textiles were unrivalled for their excellence. Foreign travellers like Marco Polo (1288) and Tavernier (1660) wrote in detail about the excellence of the subcontinent’s cotton fabrics and there are many accounts of our textiles being exported to trade centres widely separated geographically, like Rome, Zanzibar, Java, Bali and Egypt.

When the Mughals ruled the subcontinent, hand spinning and weaving continued to be an important occupation and the era brought in use of gold and silver brocades, fine-figured muslins, fabulous weaves, printed and painted fabrics, exquisite carpets, intricate embroideries and endless variety and designs being produced on a mass scale.

220px-Jahangir_investing_a_courtier_with_a_robe_of_honour_watched_by_Sir_Thomas_Roe,_English_ambassador_to_the_court_of_Jahangir_at_Agra_from_1615-18,_and_others

Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe of honour, watched by Sir Thomas Roe, English ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra from 1615 to 1618, and others

Emperors Akbar and Jahangir took personal interest in developing the crafts, and the fabrics from this region became even more exquisite and ornate.By the 16th century, foreign traders including the Portuguese, the Dutch, the French, and the British had begun to come to India from the West and by the 17th century, the English traders had set-up the East India Trading Company with the main object of importing Indian goods including textiles. With this fascinating background, it is no wonder that modern day Pakistan, like neighbouring India and Bangladesh, still has a huge industry centred on textiles.

 

The textile sector in Pakistan contributes about 10 percent to the GDP which for 2016 is stated as about $283.70 billion. So the total size of the textile sector comes to about $28 billion. The sector contributes nearly one-fourth of industrial value-added and provides employment to about 40 percent of industrial labour force. Textile exports for Pakistan are valued at around $10.29 billion.

Even though the last decade saw the textile industry of Pakistan flounder in the face of incessant power and gas cuts, the textile industry seems to have bounced back as bank advances to the sector were record high in 2016.

Under Textile Policy 2015-19, Rs64.15 billion will be spent to increase the exports of textile and clothing items from the existing $13 billion to $26 billion by 2019. Pakistan is the fourth largest producer of cotton in the world and holds the largest spinning capacity in Asia after China and India.

A recent report issued by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) reveals that year-on-year growth in textile sector advances has been Rs90 billion in 2016 in contrast to the net retirement of Rs30 billion in 2015.

Pakistan FashionWith this resurgence of the industry, recently a lot of interest has been shown in reviving the craft of Pakistan textile art. This year’s Fashion Pakistan Week Spring/Summer Show also focused on the revivalist trend of ethnic crafts and embroideries, and many designers retraced their steps and went back to their roots in search of design inspiration.

Focusing on reviving old art forms that are indigenous to the region and using them in modern designs, not only helps empower the craftsmen who have been trained in centuries’ old crafts by their forefathers, but also promotes the previously disappearing native crafts that are threatened by extinction otherwise.

Pakistan is home to many beautiful crafts like woven textiles and embroidered products from Swat and other regions. While weaving is carried out in many major cities, Swat in particular is a long established weaving centre whose blankets are mentioned even in early Buddhist texts. Or the embroidered textiles and leather crafts from Balochistan which are used to make shawls, caps, vests and an assortment of dresses. In Sindh, different types of woven textiles are a common sight in the cities of Hyderabad, Khairpur, Hala and Thatta.

350px-Ajrak

Sindhi ajrak

Ajrak, a unique pattern produced in Sindh is printed on shawls and caps and has become a unique symbol of Sindhi culture. Similarly, phulkari from Multan, block-printing from Lahore, chunri, and rilli work are all artful displays of the rich heritage of Pakistan.

Some local brands have invested in bringing these traditional textile designs into the mainstream.

One such revival story is that of the hand-woven khaddar, which had all but disappeared from conventional fashion.

Khaddar is a natural fibre cloth made out of cotton, silk or wool and has a long history in the sub-continent. Khaddar’s revival in India was advocated by Gandhi who envisioned the versatile fabric as a panacea to India’s poverty and the cloth became the symbol of nation’s struggle for freedom.

In Pakistan, the revival of handloom weaving can be principally credited to a local start-up, Khaadi. The brand has been chiefly responsible for ushering in the ‘khaddar culture’.

Despite being a major producer and exporter of superior quality cloth for decades, the boom of fashion in the country is a fairly recent phenomenon and Pakistani designers have caught the eye of many outside the country. Brands have played a vital role in transforming a manufacturing focused textile industry to a more holistic market that also encompasses a focus on retail and fashion. Although developing rapidly, these two areas are still in their nascent stages it promises to blossom into something befitting our splendid legacy.