Thursday, October 31, 2013

Surrealism: This is not A Quilt

Fraser Smith, "30", 2002
This piece is 30" x 53" x 3"

Quilts usually only have two dimensions but this is not a quilt. 
It is hanging wall sculpture of carved, dyed wood, three inches thick.

Detail of "30"

See more of Smith's work here:

Fraser Smith, Square Dance, 2005

Again: This is not a quilt.

Rene Magritte, This Is Not A Pipe.

Surrealists and Dadaists walked the line between realism and illusion. Magritte's painting was, in truth, not a pipe. It was a painting of a pipe. 

Stephen Sollins's work is inspired by
antique quilts but this unnamed piece is made
of discarded mail---paper.

Artists continue to explore illusion and representation. Several of them use quilts and patchwork as an anchor of reality.

Sabrina Gschwandtner
Wave Hill Sunroom Square

Gschwandtner uses familiar pattern to piece together discarded film, sometimes bleached and altered. Among the film strips in this piece is footage from the documentary Quilts in Women's Lives.

The two artists above are displaying their work at an exhibit at New York City's American Folk Art Museum. alt_quilts: Sabrina Gschwandtner, Luke Haynes, Stephen Sollins will be up until January 5, 2014.
Luke Haynes
Clothes Portrait # 2 Helmet

Haynes also examines illusion. The log cabin quilt above is pieced from the clothing of the man whose portrait is appliqued atop the blocks.
See Haynes's blog:
Read more about the exhibit here:

Constanze Schweiger
Rainbow Quilt 1890, 2005

Schweiger paints boards to look like quilts. She pushes the illusion by personally holding them up for the photograph. The photograph itself is the piece of art, adding to the strange contradiction of soft quilt/hard quilt.

Constanze Schweiger
Rainbow Quilt 1888, 2005
See more from this series:

Lesley Dill
Dada Poem Wedding Dress, 1994

Dill directly alludes to her DaDa and Surrealist influences in this piece of art which is an object, a photograph and a performance piece.

She writes about her work:
"The idea was inspired by Duchamp’s The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even. The dress is a brown paper dress painted white and stamped with the words of the Emily Dickinson poem, 'The Soul Has Bandaged Moments'.  

"As the words of the poem were recited, four of us began ripping the dress apart word by word. The intention was inspired by Duchamp-the bride stripped bare- but by having women doing this instead of 'bachelors'....Afterwards, I sewed the dress back together again."

Read more here:

Marcel Duchamp
The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even

Monday, October 28, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Winifred Mold

Unnamed print (1919) by Winifred Mold for
 Silver Studios, printed by Liberty.

Winifred Mold (1894-?)

Winifred Mold worked as a designer for Silver Studios in London from 1912 to 1935. She is known for her florals and her Japanese-inspired pattern like the parasol print. The most information about her is in the Silver Studios Collection at Middlesex University's Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDa) which owns the portrait and the print photos.

Mold's croqui (painting) for the parasol print from the 
MoDa Museum's collection

See a post by MoDa Museum Curator Zoƫ Hendon about women designers at Silver Studios here:

Mold as a woman designer was at a distinct disadvantage in the early 20th century. Silver Studios advertised for designers in 1899 warning "Ladies need not apply." She and a few other women hired in the teens were required to work from home. They never saw the male designers at work. Boss Rex Silver conducted meetings at their homes and discussed design by letter, many of which are in the MoDa Museum's archives, a great source material for textile historians.

Parasols continue to inspired textile designers.

Liberty Revisited, contemporary version of the
 parasol print by Kaffe Fassett for Rowan

Benartex print from Lanterns

Loulouthi collection by Anna Maria Horner for 
Free Spirit

Another Kaffe Fassett parasol print for Rowan

Do a search for Winifred Mold's designs in the Silver Studios Collection at the MoDa Museum's website:

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Surrealism and Fashion

Photograph by Man Ray

Son of Man
by Rene Magritte

Surrealism is an aspect of modernism that might be
viewed as so esoteric it's had little real impact,
but their major principle of strange juxtapositions
has had lasting influence.

Surrealism in fashion is more than just
a blip on the historical landscape.
Here is a costume Adrian designed for Rosalind Russell
for the 1939 movie The Women.

Parisian Elsa Schiaparelli also collaborated with
surrealists for fashion.
Here she is wearing her shoe/hat and a fitted jacket with
pockets shaped like lips.

Above a Schiaparelli dress printed with rips and tears.
Fabric by Salvador Dali.

A collaboration between Schiaparelli and
Jean Cocteau, 1937

Most of Schiaparelli's surrealistic designs were too outre for any customers,
but her Bowknot knit sweater from 1927
is just on this side of the edge,
where it's had a good deal of influence

Inspiring a dress by Hermes.

Another Adrian with an illusional swag designed into the fabric.

Mikanos from Maison Lanvin

Lady Gaga's been thinking about surrealism

And so has designer
Piero Fornasetti

T-shirt in the surrealistic tradition

Surrealism endures.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Modern Print Monday: Arthur Silver & Silver Studios

Hera or Peacock Feather 
Often attributed to Arthur Silver of the Silver Studios
also Rex Silver 1900 or
Christopher Dresser in 1876

Liberty & Company Ltd. About 1900
Collection: Middlesex University's Museum of 
Domestic Design & Architecture

Hera is a print that defined it's era, turn-of-the-century art nouveau. The peacock feather print has been a big seller for well over a century.

Liberty reprinted and recolored Hera in the 1970s, and 
again it became a classic in that decade of art-nouveau revival.

The paper label on the right on this sample from the Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture collection says:
"First designed in 1900 by Rex Silver, used in 1975 as Liberty's Centenary Symbol."

Isabella & Arthur Silver
About 1895
Collection of:
Middlesex University's Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture

The design is usually attributed to Arthur Silver (1853-1896), founder of London's Silver Studios.
That influential company's records are at Middlesex University's Museum of Domestic Design & Architecture, MoDa (a catchy name don't you think?)

Moda Fabrics from United Notions

Middlesex University's Museum of 
Domestic Design & Architecture

On their website they discuss recent research by Harry Lyons indicating an earlier patent to Christopher Dresser for the peacock feather pattern. Silver Studios sold designs to a number of textile and wallpaper manufacturers including Liberty of London.

Arthur Silver died at 43, soon after the photo above was taken. His sons ran Silver Studios until 1963. Son Rex is also credited with Hera. Do a search for Silver Studios at the MoDa website (the other MoDa). See if this link works:
You'll find an abundance of art nouveau textile pattern there.

And read a PDF on the history of the Silver Studios Collection by clicking here:

The MoDa museum's blog address:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Modern Pattern: A Tile Quilt Rose

Mackintosh Rose 
By Georgann Eglinski
14" x 32"

Georgann used the tile quilt method of applique to create a panel perfect for an Arts and Crafts bungalow. I drew a sketch for her and she figured out the applique. See a free pattern below. 

Our first inspiration was the Mackintosh Rose
or Glasgow Rose; above a painting for a print
by Charles Rennie Mackintosh
The stylized rose was a signature image of the Arts and Crafts movement.

Nice dress!

A Minton planter

Here's a version of the layered rose in a print from my new 
Modernism collection for
 Moda, out in December.

Detail of a Tile Quilt, about 1875

These layered, abstract roses lend themselves well to a 19th-century applique
method related to Crazy quilts. 

In a crazy quilt the patches are attached to a background
fabric with none of the background/foundation fabric showing.
In a tile quilt the foundation is visible as outlines.

Orange Peel Tile Quilt
by Bobbi Finley

Georgann used a solid black foundation
behind her gray dotted secondary background.

I am not going to tell you how to make tile quilts. There is a fabulous book on it by my friends Carol and Bobbi.

Tile Quilt Revival by 
Carol Gilham Jones & Bobbi Finley

Here's the basic info. You can hand or machine applique.
The black background shows through. Prepare the applique pieces by turning the edges under and basting, gluing etc. so that you have a varying black line revealed, which makes it look like it's hand-drawn.

I am offering a paper pattern for the Mackintosh or Instantly Downloadable PDF at my Etsy Store. Here's the shop:

And the listing:

Here's a preview of Tile Quilt Revival:

See Bobbi Finley's blog with lots of photos of tile quilt applique: