Monday, September 26, 2016

Nedra Bonds : The angry quilter

Nedra Bonds: The angry quilter

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Nedra Bonds from Missouri has made a name for herself with her very unusual take on political protest. When she’s angry about something, she makes a quilt.
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The BBC World Service has a nine minute radio INTERVIEW with Negra that is well worth listening to as she talks about her quilting. This should play in all countries.
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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Concern Worldwide

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Concern Worldwide

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Earlier this year Concern Worldwide launched Stitch for Syria, a cross-stitch project to show support for a group of female Syrian refugees in Lebanon, who are using cross-stitch to earn a vital income and deal with the trauma of all they have been through.
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Hundreds of people downloaded the cross stitch design which was based on a traditional Middle Eastern design and completed squares quickly started to arrive at Concern’s London office from every corner of the UK as well as Australia, the US, Japan, Greece, Sweden, and many other parts of the world. Many stitchers personalized the design adding beads, borders and extra touches.
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Jane Caldwell, a grandmother and retired lecturer from Cullybackey in Northern Ireland, has joined the patterns together to make three wall hangings. The wall hangings feature more than 900 individual cross-stitch patterns from 20 countries.
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For two months Jane spent four hours a day sewing the squares together, using more than one million stitches.
“I’m really pleased with how it has turned out,” she said. “It has been amazing to see how creative people have been and how varied each design is.”
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“It is privilege to have been able to put it all together. I hope the completed wall hangings will remind the Syrian women that we support them in the difficulties they face.”
The completed wall hangings will soon be sent to Lebanon, where they will go on display in the centre where the refugee women meet.
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Hunger affects everything for the world’s poorest people. Concern Worldwide are working for a world where no one dies for want of safe, nutritious food. Their approach focuses on practical, intelligent solutions that save lives and build livelihoods.
The places where they work are often at greater risk from disasters, both natural and man made. In an emergency, Concern acts quickly to save lives. Then they stay to work with communities, rebuilding lives and livelihoods to ensure people are better prepared for future crises.  Concern Worldwide’s approach enables families to tackle hunger and work their own way out of poverty.
Images copyright Concern Worldwide.
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Interwoven Globe



The Interwoven Globe


Sometimes we do not see things when they are always present. As I look around the room I am writing in, I am surrounded by textiles, my home like most homes is filled with textiles: there are curtains at each window, rugs in every room, upholstered furniture and bedding aplenty, and wardrobes filled with far too many clothes. In a textile filled world textiles can express the individuality of a person, place or culture that is unique.
This distinctive type of silk, made in the weaving centers of France, England, and the Netherlands, is now referred to as "lace patterned," owing to the lacy ribbon-like motifs that frame the central floral arrangement
This distinctive type of silk, made in the weaving centers of France, England, and the Netherlands, is now referred to as “lace patterned,” owing to the lacy ribbon-like motifs that frame the central floral arrangement
The history of textiles and textile design is rich and fascinating. The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800 explored the international transmittal of design through the medium of textiles. Although the exhibition closed in January 2014 you can still see much of it ONLINE

Mirror with Jael and Barak Date: 1672. The biblical characters Jael and Barak, flanking the mirror glass, appear in the book of Judges. The frame is surmounted by a figure of Charity; animals, mythic and actual, symbolizing the Four Continents, occupy the corners (from upper left): a griffin representing Africa, a basilisk representing America, a stag representing Europe, and a camel for Asia.
There are 134 images available to VIEW and the exhibition catalogue is still AVAILABLE.

Jacket (Casaquin) and Petticoat – Date:1725–40. Italian This informal dress is transformed by the fanciful crewelwork, or wool embroidery, on a linen ground depicting exotic figures representing the Four Continents amid exuberant flowers, fruits, and birds. Among the architectural elements are small pagodas, which came to symbolize the Far East in the European decorative arts.
When Portugal became the first European nation to successfully navigate around Africa’s Cape of Good Hope merchants began to trade with China and India. A breathtaking variety of textile designs subsequently spread across the globe blending traditional designs, skills, and tastes of their cultures of origin, with new techniques learnt through global exchange. When I look at the textiles in my home I can see the influence of the East in many of the designs.
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Portrait of a Lady

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Portrait of a Lady

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The portrait of Lady Maria Conyngham by Sir Thomas Lawrence (1824) is a favourite of mine. It was a favourite of  George IV too and hung for a time in his bedroom in St. James’s Palace. It is rare to see a sitter’s teeth in portraits from this period.
During the Regency period a natural look became fashionable for young ladies. The beauty ideal of this era was a smooth, white complexion with a hint of a rosy glow and soft red lips. It was thought that this look could be achieved with personal qualities like temperance, exercise and cleanliness but as any woman knows cosmetics can be discreetly used to achieve a “natural” glow.
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Lady Selina Meade by Thomas Lawrence, 1819.
Homemade cosmetics were very popular during the Regency and recipes were found in magazines, and etiquette and housekeeping books, and ingredients generally consisted of things found in the home or easily purchased from the chemist.
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It was now known that lead and mercury were harmful substances, and it was advised by many that these ingredients should be avoided in favour of vegetable ingredients.
Ready made products could be purchased from the chemist perfumers but at this time in history there was no legislation for the safety of cosmetics. Any ingredients could be used and claims made about a product’s effectiveness.
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The cosmetics available to women depended on their social standing. Middle- and upper-class women would have access to homemade and purchased cosmetics. A lady’s maid would be responsible for making her lady’s lotions and cosmetics.
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Great emphasis was placed on a young lady’s complexion. Freckles, suntan, blemishes or wrinkles were dealt with by a variety of lotions. Gowland’s Lotion was a famous preparation used for the treatment of various skin concerns, but not the safest option, as the lotion contained mercuric chloride – a corrosive and toxic acid powerful enough to remove the top layer of skin.
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Sun tanned skin was associated with the working classes, so a middle- or upper-class woman would try to not go brown or burn in the sun. Sun tans and freckles were also associated with health issues, like bad bile, so it was not good form all round to have a tan.
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Makeup for the face came in a white loose powder form made from a variety of white pigments, from harmless crushed pearl, cornstarch, rice powder and talc to the harmful such as lead!
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Red pigments used in rouge came from powdered substances, like vermilion (from the mineral cinnabar and toxic), carmine (derived from cochineal scale insects), alkanna root (plant), red sandalwood, or saffron. If a softer colour was required, the red powders were mixed with white powders like talc or hair powder. To create a rouge pomade, the red powders were mixed with melted fats or waxes  and left to set in a pot.
Rosy red lips were created with the use of lip pomade or salve. These were mainly made at home from the same red powders used on the cheeks, mixed into a fat or wax base. Lip pomades could also be purchased from chemists.
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Burnt cork or the sooty residue from a candle flame was used to produce a black colour for use on brows and eye lashes. To prevent the colour coming off easily, it was mixed with something that helped set it, like frankincense, mastix or resin. Elderberries could also be rubbed onto the lashes/brows to darken them.
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Lady Elizabeth Conyngham by Thomas Lawrence, 1822.
Bright eyes were encouraged by using eye drops and eye washes. Eye makeup was a “no no” for young ladies – eyes were for seeing with and conveying one’s inner beauty and health.
Brows were either left fairly natural with no really obvious plucking going on, although undesirable hairs could be removed and brows subtly shaped.
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Cosmetics case
Removal of superfluous hair on the face and arms was popular. The first patent for a depilatory was taken out in 1804 and there were various recipes for homemade solutions. The Art of Beauty declares:
Superfluous hairs, also, which frequently grow on the arms, and are so injurious to their appearance, must be removed.
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Oral hygiene was poor but there were dental products available. Toothpicks were commonly used. Made of bone, ivory, quills, wood or various metals, their use was quite fashionable until the Victorian era when they were viewed as uncouth.
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Toothbrushes were commercially available. Made from natural stiff bristles with ivory, bone or wooden handles, they were not necessarily widely used. The poor would not be in possession of a toothbrush, but could clean their teeth using a variety of methods like using a cloth and salt, or chewing on a stick. The rich also used twigs made from the roots of plants like marshmallow or licorice, keeping a supply in a purpose-made root box.
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Tooth powder was an abrasive product made from things like ground coral, eggshell, chalk or gypsum, mixed with an astringent like salt, shaved soap or myrrh. To deal with bad breath, breath-freshening tablets were popular and kept in a small cachou box. These little breath sweets were made with fragrant ingredients like musk, cardamom, ambergris, licorice, essence of violet, essence of rose, or oil of cinnamon.

TRIVIA

Thomas Lawrence, Self-portrait, 1788
Thomas Lawrence, Self-portrait, 1788
Sir Thomas Lawrence PRA FRS (13 April 1769 – 7 January 1830) was a leading English portrait painter and president of the Royal Academy.Lawrence was a child prodigy. He was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper. At the age of ten, having moved to Bath, he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits. At eighteen he went to London and soon established his reputation as a portrait painter in oils, receiving his first royal commission, a portrait of Queen Charlotte, in 1790.
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Queen Charlotte
He stayed at the top of his profession until his death, aged 60, in 1830. Self-taught, he was a brilliant draughtsman and known for his gift of capturing a likeness, as well as his virtuoso handling of paint. He became an associate of the Royal Academy in 1791, a full member in 1794, and president in 1820. In 1810 he acquired the generous patronage of the Prince Regent, was sent abroad to paint portraits of allied leaders for the Waterloo chamber at Windsor Castle, and is particularly remembered as the Romantic portraitist of the Regency. Lawrence’s love affairs were not happy (his tortuous relationships with Sally and Maria Siddons became the subject of several books) and, in spite of his success, he spent most of life deep in debt.
Sally Siddons (1775-1803)
Sally Siddons (1775-1803)
He never married. At his death, Lawrence was the most fashionable portrait painter in Europe. His reputation waned during Victorian times, but has been partially restored in more recent ones.
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Sarah Farren
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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Embroidery: The Language of Art

Embroidery: The Language of Art

In this video Linda Eaton talks about one of her favourite things at the Winterhur Museum. Sarah Derby (1747-1774), called Sally, was the youngest child of Richard Derby (1712-1783) and Mary Hodges (1713- 1770) of Salem. She was about eighteen years old, and under the instruction of Jannette Day in Boston, upon completion of her 1763-1766 silk and paint on silk satin overmantel, or chimneypiece.
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Image copyright Winterthur Museum
It was framed in Salem by Samuel Blythe Jr. in 1767. Sally is also credited with another chimneypiece in possibly made in 1765, framed in the manner of Eunice Bourne’s (Museum of Fine Arts, Boston). Sally married Captain John Gardner in 1769, who later built the Pingree House. They had three children, John, Sarah, and Richard. Sally died the year that Richard was born. This chimneypiece descended to her great, great grandson, Benjamin P. Ellis. Family tradition attributes the general design and painting of the faces and sky to John Singleton Copley, who was a friend of the family, although this claim has not been substantiated.
The embroidery is featured in the current exhibition, Embroidery: The Language of Art,  in the Winterhur Galleries which looks at how the creation of embroidered objects fits into the changing definitions of art, craft, and design throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.
From the late Middle Ages it referred to a skill acquired through knowledge and practice as well as the objects produced as a result of that skill, whatever the materials or techniques. In the 18th century a distinction began to be made between fine art, which included only painting, sculpture, and architecture, and applied or decorative art, defined as the design and decoration of more utilitarian objects, including embroidery. Today applied or decorative art is often called craft, another term whose meaning has changed over time.
A needlework conference will be held October 14–15, 2016. Visit the conference WEB PAGE for more information.
If you are unable to view the exhibition in person this video gives an insight into the display. Our thanks to Barbara Reaveley for sharing these videos with us.
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona
Printemps; Paris, France
Fordyce Bath House; Hot Springs, Arkansas
Fordyce Bath House; Hot Springs, Arkansas
Société Générale; Paris, France
Société Générale; Paris, France
Paris Hotel and Casino; Las Vegas, Nevada
Paris Hotel and Casino; Las Vegas, Nevada
Notre Dame, Paris
York Minster Chapter House, York, England
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia
Gran Hotel Ciudad de Mexico, Mexico City
Galeries Lafayette, Paris
La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona
King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, England
Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, Shiraz, Iran
Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago
Metropolitan Cathedral of St. Sebastian, Rio de Janeiro
Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
Sainte-Chapelle, Paris
Thanks-Giving Square, Dallas
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