Monday, April 29, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Dagobert Peche

Dagobert Peche

Wundervogel or Butterfly is a wallpaper design from 1913 by Dagobert Peche of the Weiner Werkstatte, the Vienna Workshop. 

Dagobert Peche

New York's Neue Galerie has reproduced the print for a variety of objects, including yardage.

And see a post about Dagobert Peche at the blog Vienna Textiles here:

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Abstraction in 20th Century Quilt Patterns

Roseville pottery's Mostique pattern
features a variation of the abstracted rose
known as the Glasgow Rose or the Mackinstosh Rose.

Book designer Elbert Hubbard used an abstracted floral
on the cover of his inspirational pamphlet.

As modern designers pushed floral design to simpler abstractions, commercial quilt pattern designers (a rather new profession) experimented with floral abstractions, beginning in the teens and going through the 1940s.

BlockBase #774
Rosebud from Needlecraft magazine in July, 1929

Piecing lent itself to abstraction. In the eternal design circle artists who looked to antique quilts for abstraction ideas then created more abstracted designs for women looking for modern quilts.

Here are a few from newspapers and pattern catalogs of the era, exported from my PC program BlockBase. I found most of them in categories Realistic>Flowers and Realistic >Baskets. In BlockBase you can find the pattern and print it out any size by using the number in the Search by Number box in the task bar at the top.

BlockBase #752.5
Flower Pot Quilt
from Aunt Martha Studios
Placing a bowl or basket under a very abstract floral establishes its identity.

BlockBase #751.5 
Primrose Patch from Workbasket magazine
in 1945

BlockBase ##723 
Basket of Flowers, possibly from Comfort magazine

BlockBase #758
Garden of Friendship from the 
Alice Brooks/Laura Wheeler syndicated column in the 1930s
The designers who worked under the Brooks/Wheeler pen names brought in new shapes in the 1930s.

BlockBase #752
Leafy Basket
Another from the Alice Brooks/Laura Wheeler syndicated column in the 1930s.

The problem with these designs is that they were not really what the seamstresses of the era wanted. One comes across very few quilts ever made in these pieced modern patterns.

BlockBase # 783
Pansy from Ruby Short McKim

The seamstresses of the 1910-1950 era just didn't seem to be ready for the designs.
But by 1981 people like Mary Jenkins in Wales were ready. See her version of McKim's Pansy here at Little Welsh Quilts:

Monday, April 22, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay

Sonia Delaunay (1885-1979) was extremely innovative in the teens and twenties,
applying the new principles of geometric minimalism to repeat pattern.

She is also known as Sonia Delaunay-Terk

Read more about this artist here:

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Modern Panel: Prairie School Window

Prairie School Window
By Georgann Eglinski
20-5/8" X 28-7/8"

Every month for the next year I'll post a free pattern for needlework inspired by the modern movement here. See the April, 2013 pattern at the bottom of the page.

Tree of Life
Cut-out Chintz quilt
Attributed to Florence Outerbridge, 1812
From the Flack Collection

Modernism pushed abstraction beyond traditional boundaries.

Tree of Life window
by Frank Lloyd Wright
For the Darwin Martin House

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright's stained glass windows are based on plant life. He reduced basic shapes  to strict geometries and left out much of the detail.

Frank Lloyd Wright
for the Tomek House 1907.
Collection of the Art Institute of Chicago
See more here:

Although the window designs are extremely abstract one can see plants in the linear layout and the complexity at the top of the plant where the flowers would be.
Frank Lloyd Wright
Window attributed to the Frick House

Frank Lloyd Wright
Window for the Boynton House 1908

Wright is classified as a member of the Prairie School of Architecture, centered in Chicago.

Inspired by Wright's abstractions (Here's the Darwin Martin window upside down) I designed Prairie School Window for the chapter on Modernism in my book Making History: Quilts & Fabrics 1890-1970.

Prairie School Window by Libby Fife
Libby made two versions

Prairie School Window by Libby Fife
Here she's pieced an abstract rose into the 
squares (G)

Here's a link to Libby's Blog: Quilted Craftsman

Below is the pattern taken from my book Making History:

Finished Size:
20-5/8" X 28-7/8"
Fabric Requirements
Background: 1/2 yard
Leaves, Stems & Border
     Dark: 1/2 yard
     Light: 1/2 yard
Rose: Fat quarter
Backing: 3/4 yard
Batting: 27" x 35"
Binding: 1/4 yard

A Cut 4 squares 1-7/8"  for corners
B - Cut 2 rectangles 1-7/8" x 18-3/8" for top and bottom border
C - Cut 2 rectangles 1-7/8" x 26-5/8" for side borders
Stems & Leaves
B - Cut 3 rectangles 1-7/8" x 18-3/8" for stems
E - Cut 6 dark and 7 light rectangles 1-7/8" x 3-1/4" for leaves
G - Cut 3 square 4-5/8"
B - Cut 1 rectangle 1-7/8" x 18-3/8" 
D - Cut 4 rectangles 1-7/8" x 4-5/8"
F - Cut 2 rectangles 3-1/4" x 18-3/8"
H - Cut 4 rectangles 4-5/8" x 18-3/8"

Georgann quilted an abstract rose---a Glasgow Rose---into the squares at the top. Click on this picture, copy it to a word file or jpg and print it out. The square should be 4-1/4".

She emphasized the vertical nature of the panel by echoing the piecing lines in the rest of her quilting.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Mackintosh Rose & Teardrop

Rose & Tear Drop
in a scarf available today.
The original repeating print was
by Charles Rennie Mackintosh,
designed between 1915 and 1923.

Mackintosh's design for the Rose and Teardrop design was never produced during the teens when he painted several versions, but one could fill the hall closet today with neckties, scarves, placemats and card cases for sale now that it is out of copyright.

See his original painting here at the Hunterian Art Gallery website:

Roses without teardrops

Abstracted roses are often called Mackintosh Roses or Glasgow Roses.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Principles of Modernism: Abstraction

Floral quilt

Day Lilies

Artists translate nature by abstracting what they see to the page or the cloth.

Day Lily
Watercolor by Jane Brackman
In her watercolors my sister knows just what to take out and what to leave in.

Quilt Block 1840-1890
Part of the appeal of patchwork quilts is the genius in the abstraction...

...What to take out and what to leave in.
Color is left in so we can guess these are lilies.


Quilt blocks
Basic flower shapes and stems are left in.
Here the leaves are left out
but it's still a lily.

Detail of a top
Some abstractions are more successful than others.
But then again, it may just be a matter of taste.

Day Lily
Ruffled Red by Ruth B. McDowell

See Some of Ruth's recent quilts here:

Day Lilies
Water color by Jane Brackman

Lily from a mid-19th-century album quilt

Monday, April 8, 2013

Modern Print Monday: CFA Voysey

Pyracantha or 'The Grategus'
From a wallpaper designed by Charles F.A. Voysey
About 1900

CFA Voysey was an architect and designer with a 
large portfolio of repeating prints.

At Moda we are working on a collection of his bird and vegetation designs to be shipped in the fall of 2013.

See a sample of the original Grategus wallpaper at the Victoria and Albert Museum's website here:

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Pendulum Swings

Watchmaker's Shop
About 1910

Design historians often point out how design trends from clutter to austerity.

Morris wallpaper 1901 in the Acanthus pattern.

Acanthus pattern
from my Moda fabric collection
The Morris Workshop

A room papered with a large repeating pattern from the Morris Workshop was the
height of modernism from about 1870 to 1890. But fashion changes and by the teens Morris-style wallpaper was becoming passe.

When George Bernhard Shaw wrote  the play Pygmalion in 1912 he captured the faded style perfectly in his description for the set of Professor Henry Higgins's mother's once-modern  home:

"Her drawing-room, in a flat on Chelsea embankment, has three windows looking on the river; ...Mrs. Higgins was brought up on Morris and Burne Jones; and her room, which is very unlike her son's room in Wimpole Street, is not crowded with furniture and little tables and nicknacks. In the middle of the room there is a big ottoman; and this, with the carpet, the Morris wall-papers, and the Morris chintz window curtains and brocade covers of the ottoman and its cushions, supply all the ornament....The corner between the fireplace and the window is occupied by a divan cushioned in Morris chintz.."

Shaw wrote the play for the actress Mrs. Patrick Campbell who played Eliza Doolittle, the lower class girl transformed by the Professor. Here Mrs. Pat poses in front of what looks to be a Morris carpet.

Morris-style pattern was important to the Pygmalion idea but when a film was made in 1938 with Leslie Howard as Professor Higginson, the art director John Bryan (who was a year old when the play was published) ignored the extremely old-fashioned look. He just didn't want to clutter up his movie.

The carpet has pattern but it's more art deco than Morris

and the walls are plain---a fashion necessity for '30s films.

Pygmalion became the musical My Fair Lady and when it was filmed again in 1964 the art director Cecil Beaton went overboard on the Morris look. 
During the 1960s pattern was B-A-A-C-K.

The paper here is very much like the Morris pattern  Acanthus.

Here is Audrey Hepburn as Eliza, clashing with the furniture.
The chair is upholstered in another Morris-like pattern.

Her bedroom seems to be papered in John Henry Dearle's
Golden Lily design for Morris & Company.

This is one case where Beaton used an actual Morris design.

The chair and the acanthus-like wallpaper above look like Morris but I can't identify them.

Beaton photographing Audrey Hepburn
for a publicity still. 
Here he's combined pattern and plain in a distinctive look.

Theaters often stage Pygmalion. You can gauge the popularity of patterned walls by the set designer's attitude, an indicator of austerity's ebb and flow.

A recent San Diego production of Pygmalion
 used an oversized Morris Willow Boughs for the set plus two other patterns.

Willow  from my Moda line
A Morris Garden