...and Silk Threads
One of the advantages of travel is collecting images and ideas that I can use to influence and inspire my designs. Recently, while visiting friends whose art collection reflects their many travels, I was drawn in particular to several pieces in their collection of vintage textiles.
In the crypt of the Basilica of San Isidora de Leon, The Royal Pantheon, in Spain, there is a 12th century fresco on an archway depicting the 12 months of the year and the agricultural labours associated with each month. In medieval times, seasonality was recognized and respected, because it meant survival to another season. With all the disease and wars that were rampant at the time, living to see the next season was not something that could be taken for granted, so the medieval calender became a celebration of sorts.
Purchased in 2005 at the studio of textile artists near the basilica, this piece is a replication of the month of September taken from the fresco, and celebrates the September grape harvest.
|As the background fabric, the artist used old church vestments, exact era unknown, but likely from the 1940's to the 1950's.|
The piece is embroidered with a stitch that is unfamiliar to me. It looks like a tiny cord has been couched down, however, a closer look reveals very intricate, individual stitches. Perhaps it is a very tiny stem stitch. If anyone is familiar with this stitch, I would appreciate more information on the technique.
This luxurious Japanese wedding kimono (ca.1920) was purchased in an antique shop in Vancouver in 1981. The intricately embroidered patterns and motifs, are hand stitched with silk as well as gold and silver threads. Just as is the case in French "boutis", symbolism is an important design aspect in Japanese needlework, and in a bridal kimono it would represent characteristics such as long life, fidelity, superior character, strength, etc.
|A rolled red hem is often seen in wedding kimonos. Some slight deterioration is beginning to appear on the hem.|
Japanese needle artisans, whether embroiderers or quilters, strive for mastery of their technique and stay faithful to the traditional methods and patterns to accurately understand and appreciate the skill.
|Japanese embroidery is always inspirational.|
|Close-up of the kimono. The white on white silk embroidery adds an elegance the design.|
This last piece was found in an antique shop in Winnipeg, displayed as a liner under glass in a mahogany tray. Given the title "The Silk Story", beautifully silk-embroidered images illustrate the production of silk, from worm to thread. Believed to be from the 1930's, other then an embroidered image of a spool of "Belding's" thread, not much is known of it's provenance. However, it's another example of skillfully and patiently laid silk threads.
|Any history or background information of this piece would be appreciated.|