Monday, December 30, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Eileen Gray

Rug Design, Eileen Gray, about 1930.

Kathleen Eileen Moray Gray, 1878-1976 
Born in Ireland; worked in France. 

Rug Design about 1920

Gray is considered a Classical Modern designer. She worked in interior design and furniture design, influenced by various modern movements that became known as International Style.

Rug detail

Room with two Bibendum Chairs

Gray's iconic piece is the Bibendum Chair, designed about 1920.
Bibendum Chair
Her inspiration:

Bib has put on a little more weight since Michelin introduced him in the early 1920s.

Rug Design about 1920

I haven't been able to find any repeat patterned textiles by Gray.

Rug Design about 1920

And that may be her point. It's not about repeat.

Bleu Marine Three
Recent rug
Gray's rug designs are being produced today.

The Pompidou Museum in Paris held a retrospective of her work last year, which has traveled to the Irish Museum of Modern Art where Eileen Gray: Architect Designer Painter will be on exhibit through January 19, 2014.
Click here to read more

Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Streamline Quilt

Quilt offered at Skinner Auctions in 2012
Quilt #4

When Merikay Waldvogel and I were researching quilts from the 1933 Sears contest at the Chicago World's Fair we came across this pattern in a quilt. We assumed it was an entry in the contest that promised a bonus award for a first prize winner in the theme of a Century of Progress. See a post about the contest quilts on December 5, 2013 here:

The first example we saw was at a quilt show in Chicago in 1982. The owner had found it stuffed under the cushions in an old couch. [ I can't find the slide of that quilt.]

Quilt #2
We also have a snapshot of this quilt on display made  by a woman named Inez Gregg.

The story became more complex when we found a similar example at a Michael DeFina auction in Ohio in 1986.

Quilt #3
This is on it's side. The white parachutes should go up.

Quilt #3

That quilt is probably the same quilt as one pictured in the Quilt Engagement Calendar in 1988.

To identify the differences look at the waves in the lower half. Some alternate dark and light;
one quilt has all the dark wiggly lines at the top of the water.

The mystery of the similar quilts was solved ten years later when pattern collector Wilene Smith wrote us that a kit for the quilt was sold by Country Gentleman magazine in 1937.

The August issue of their section Country Gentlewoman featured section with a color picture of the pattern (it loooks like a painting rather than an actual quilt. 

Under the headline "New-Time Quilting Goes Streamline," Editor Caroline B. King wrote that they had "asked Miss Inez Kemery, a gifted young mural painter to [design a quilt inspired by] inventions and events which have made this present age so wonderful." (My photocopy of the article is missing a few words.) The quilt was "modern to the last stitch." One could purchase pattern E 11178 which ”includes material required and directions for making the Streamline Quilt."

Kits---in plain colors. That explains the similarity.

Quilt #4 again.
This one is different from #2 and #3.

With this one offered by Skinner last year we have four quilts and one painting---
Two Inezes with no apparent link between them.

And one idea for a very moderne quilt.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Barcelona

Barcelona, a geometric print in my Modernism collection comes
in two colorways.

The document print. I think it might be late 19th century
but it seemed to capture the spirit of Modernism...

Coat and fabric by 
Sonia Delaunay

in it's serpentine stripe,

An image Delaunay embraced.

Costume for a Ballets Russe performance of Cleopatra, 1918
by Sonia Delaunay

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Modern Embroidery/Applique Pattern

My sister has the cutest kitchen curtains.

She found a pair of vintage dish towels and hung them on a
rod over the sink.

What the heck are cute tea towels doing on a blog
about modernism?

It's the technique. They aren't merely outline embroidered like the blue willow china above.

They are a combination of applique and embroidery.

Applique has been classified as a kind of embroidery over the
centuries because it is a shortcut to getting a large area of

Detail of needlework for a lampshade
by Margaret Macdonald Mackintosh,
about 1903.
Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The embroiderers of the Glasgow School advocated the applique/embroidery combination in their stylized needlework at the turn of the last century. Mackintosh's Glasgow Rose above is appliqued on linen and outlined in embroidery of silk. 

See the whole panel here at the Victoria & Albert Museum

The Studio magazine showed this
"applique and embroidered curtain designed and sewn by
Amelia Huthieson" in 1907.
Huthieson's influences: the Glasgow Four
and C.F.A. Voysey.

Here a Gustav Stickley design for a Ginko applique outlined in embroidery,

A look captured in linen reproduction by
Diane Ayers's Textile Studio.

The Arts & Crafts teachers in the U.K. and the U.S.A. hoped to re-introduce this old technique and upgrade the artistic quality of needlework design. A quote from The Craftsman magazine in 1903:

"The Craftsman artists have sought to express the best impulses of the new feeling for form and color which promises to create a memorable type of decorative art which shall signalize the twentieth century."

But what was once avant-garde was redesigned to appeal to middle-class tastes.

Hence, the cute curtains, probably stitched
in the 1930-1960 period.

The reverse of the cherry towel.
No A in Home-Ec for her.

The towel on the left side of the sink above has four cherries, cut from cotton and appliqued raw-edge with an outline of blanket stitching. Black cotton thread replaced the silks in subtle colors that the Arts and Crafts needle schools advocated. Of course the most popular version of the applique/embroidery combination in the U.S. was....

Sunbonnet Sue
or the Dutch Doll.
Modernism + cute = bad art.

But I'm enough of a sentimentalist to appreciate both the cuteness and the design in the checked kitchen curtains. You may also. If so, you could print out these simple patterns to embroider on a tea towel or two.

The cup and saucer.
To print these click on the image, then save it to a JPG or a Word file.
Print it out so the saucer is 4-3/4" in diameter across.
You can use a CD for a template for the saucer shape.

If you want a geometric outline for
the plate I drew one up in EQ7

The vine that extends left out of the saucer.
Print it so goes from top to bottom on an 11" sheet of paper.

The towel on the left has a pair of
these, one flipped over.
You could use a nickel coin for the cherry template.

The background fabric---a bold checked toweling---is clever. The edges are finished out with a black blanket stitch too.
Gustav Klimt in embroidered linen shirt with cat.
Klimt knew cute.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Glasgow

I called this abstracted rose print "Glasgow" to honor designer
Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

Millside Rose painting by Mackintosh

These stylized modern roses are often called Glasgow Roses or Mackintosh Roses.

In France the stylized rose was known as La Rose d'Iribe,
(Iribe's Rose), named after artist Paul Iribe, best
known for illustrating the fashions of Paul Poiret.

Poiret used many stylized roses for his trend-
setting clothing. Here his Minaret Dress from 1913

The Metropolitan Museum of Art has an impressive collection of Poiret fashion.
Click here at their search page and search for Poiret.

Poiret named a 1913 dress made in this print
"La Rose d'Iribe

The same rose that was on his label.

See more of "La Rose d'Iribe" dress at the Metropolitan Museum:
And read an essay on Poiret:

No one seems to call it a Poiret Rose although he made good use of it.

Poiret dress about 1908

The flattened rose of concentric circles or ovals became a characteristic image of early 20th-century modernism. Below two dresses by unknown designers.

Day Dress from FIDM collection
about 1923

Read more about the Rose d'Iribe by clicking here at the FIDM Museum site and scrolling down:

Dress by Madeleine Vionnet, 1925
Appliqued silk roses on tulle

Well, I digress. But you get the picture:
Stylized rose---icon of modern design.

Glasgow in Baltic Blue

Glasgow in Fauve Gold