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
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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