A daily dose of textiles,cloth and materials for all who are passionate about the stuff.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Antique Beaded Bags

A feast for the eyes and the handbag collector today.
I have two of my bags to show you and they really are stunning pieces.
This one is fascinating, very beautiful and very heavy - its weights 1lb 4oz .Covered in glass beads on linen on the outside , leather and linen on the inside. This bag depicts many symbols which at first were a bit of a mystery- but with some reseach I think I have discovered where its from.

Showing the Union flag of British Isles and the double headed eagle, it also has eight pointed stars, geese and reindeer in the design.
Because of the nature of beadwork motifs tend to be geometric and angular, so everything appears very stylised.

The double headed eagle appears in many cultures , Asia, Russia and various other countries. However I believe this one is Gandeberunda from  Hindu mythology. Mostly used in Mysore, South West India, it is depicted in many Hindu temples and is a design element used throughout the area.
The Union flag appeared on the Indian flag in the early years of the 20th century and was an element used in much of the design work before the Independence of  Indian.
The eight pointed star again appears in many cultures and generally means peace. Flowers and leaves are also worked into the design.
 A stunning piece of beadwork I think you will agree!

The back of the bag was what initially confused me as it has reindeers and geese on. Reindeers in Indian did not seem to fit ?

Upon research I have found that the reindeer (deer or stag) is the symbol for the  Hindu goddess of knowledge, music and the arts. Know as Saraswati in Sanskrit her sign  is used in many decorative items. The goose or aquatic bird is called Hamsa in Sanskrit and again is often used as a decorative element.

The inside of the envelope bag is lined with an embossed blue and white leather with a linen lining on the flap.
Beading  Edging at corners.
It has a clutch metal frame with pocket ( with original mirror).

Note the tassel fringing and the amazing handle.

All in all a most wonderful beaded bag. In my opinion the handbag was made for the Western market in Indian possibly around the early 1920s. If anyone can through any more light on my findings then please let me know.

The second bag today is a later antique piece probably made in the 1950s.
White and coloured glass beads and pearls on a base silk  red velvet. Feels like card or stiff buckram inside the covering.
The bag is a great shape and shows a fan effect with corn spears and flowers on the front. Very effective simple design. This bag looks 'homemade' rather than professionalling made as in the first one.  The back is where the bag comes into its own beauty.

Peacocks - a symbol used in many cultures in the east especially Indian and China.
Blue, red and green glass beads with padded stump work bodies.

The inside is lined with cerise silk. The handle is a simple rolled velvet tube with attached pearls. 
I do not do any beadwork but can appreciate the beauty of these objects. Imagine when they were used and what was the woman like who carried them, what delicious evening event did she attend?  Hope you enjoy todays antique bags.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

antique textiles - Patterns

Today is all about pattern. Just look at these from my collection. Cross stitch used perfectly.

These are  detailed views from  a Chinese square and yes that is all cross stitch on the finest open weave silk. Absolutely exquisite. Its from the 1800s so a very  old piece. In perfect condition - the colours are still quite bright. Note the symbol for a thousand years that was hijacked by 'that little man' ! Strange how pattern can mean a variety of things when used in another context.

Another Chinese piece but in satin stitch on silk. These are from long table runners, c 1920s, made for the Western market. Lots of symbols on them - flowers, bats, and of course dragons. In the West we have lost the importance of symbols in textiles but they are still very meaningful in other parts of the world.

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Antique textiles

OK, so my intention to post everyday has gone a bit weird - I know it has been months since I last spoke to you ! But here goes.

Today- A few detailed images to inspire you from my huge  Antique Textile and Bag  collection .

1920s seed pearl evening bag, possibly French.

Raw Silk piece with embroidery from Indian. Made as panels to be made up into dress for the British Market. c.1860s.

Beaded silk bag from the 1930s.

Tambour embroidery on silk. Very old folded purse. c 1840s.

Purse (attached to a belt) from an Albanian costume . Couched Goldwork on felt. c. 1890s. Note the red beads on the tassels - to ward off the evil spirits.       

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Novelty fabric. Day 3

As much as I love hand dyed fabrics and also enjoy the actual dying process and then using the super pieces in my work
I am still drawn to Novelty fabrics. I adore the printing of so many images that relate to a specific thing. I use them in all sorts of work including my quilts. Not quite sure how to use these lovely ones that my darling ( very non-textile) daughter found for me for my birthday. I do wish she would learn to sew !

Produced by Makower @ the Henley studio in the UK. Its called Sew retro Montage and was released earlier this year. Its just prefect for sewing types like us.

And this is the other one in the range, smaller images but still textile stuff. Look at those sewing machines !!!, the darning mushroom ( I haven't darned a sock ever!) and the quick unpick tool.

Need to keep the fabrics for a while and let my mind get into creative thoughts on how to use them.
I might add it to a white shirt, facing for the front bands and cuffs.
I have tubs full of very different novelty fabrics and I often use the printed  images as applied pieces in my bigger work.
I have a really great book by an artist who uses printed images and incorporates them  into her work- Roberta Horton. The Fabric Makes the Quilt explains how to use novelty fabrics in an innovative and arty way.
Its published by C & T Publishing and is available from Amazon and Roberta's website too.
Highly recommended.


Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Painted Fantasy Birds Day 2

Here are my fantasy birds flying in to day 2 of my new blog.

Painted with Derwent Intense pencils and blocks ( really great to work with) onto pale coloured cotton fabric and then bands of marble and  patterned cotton used as the sashings.


Free hand drawn with pencil then using the darning foot and the feed dogs down, I free motion machine stitched around the shape.  Outlined with a black fabric pen to give a graphic look to the birds. Then free motion quilted.
Great fun to do .
I have made 12 and they will be made up into a wall hanging with the theme of Gardens.
How many of these delightful silly birds do you see in your garden?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Silk Escape Maps. Day 1

As many of you know I have long been fascinated by the History of Textiles - having taught this for many years and using old textiles in my art work. Today, for my birthday my dear husband Trevor has given me a lovely present of something I have wanted in my textile collection for many a year. He tracked it down on an auction site and in the post today came this wonderful Silk Escape Map.
This one is from the Cold War era around the early 50's and shows Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia and Austria. The reverse depicts Austria, Poland and Hungary. It would have been used by RAF and SAS service men and women.
Escape maps were used by the Allied Forces in WW2 and the Cold War when they needed to find their way home ! from behind enemy lines. They were sewn into clothing and being silk were strong and durable-  and didn't disintegrate as a paper map would do.

Beautifully printed and issued by the War Office, these really were a useful textile item.
It begs the question of how many silk escape maps were made into knickers by forces wives and girlfriends !!!!!
I might just frame mine !!!