Skip to main content
Read page text

Page Text


INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire 78 SHOP TALK Jane Audas Goes shopping at The Cloth House

GLOBAL textiles from around the world 20 PHOENIX TRADING The Regeneration of Kala Ghoda by Brinda Gill Illustrated by Jenny Bowers 36 MAKING A STATEMENT The Language of, on, and in Clothes by Kate Cavendish 54 GOING DOME Fabrics of Florence by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives 10 DAWN AWAKENING Evie Gurney Costumes for Antony and Cleopatra by Liz Hoggard photography by Johan Persson 32 CRÈME DE LA CRÈME The history of Calais Lace by Genevieve Woods 39 TEXT-ILES Rosalind Wyatt’s embroidered text 41 TEXT-ILE MESSAGING Banners make a statement in stitch by Dr Nicola Donovan 49 SUBTLE SYMBOLISM Identity in Renaissance portraits by Clare Gibson 67 A TIGHT SPOT Tights from Robin Hood to Mary Quant by Sarah Jane Downing 68 ODE TO JOY Yellow is the New Blue By Jennifer Harper

ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends 60 TRUE TO FORM Cecilie Bahnsen: Sculptural Fashion for Classic Opulence by Sarah E. Braddock Clarke 64 JERSEY GIRL Mary Quant’s Knit Revolution by Dani Trew 74 HEALTH FOR LEATHER Carla and Jeremy Bonner by Diana Woolf photographs by Alun Callender

INDUSTRY from craft to commerce 14 WONDER AND DREAD Artist Alke Schmidt tells tales from the global textile industry By Uthra Rajgopal 22 TROUBLE AT T' MILL British Mills are fighting back 26 SMOOTH AS SILK Whitechurch Silk Mill’s New Rhythm By Mary Schoeser Images Star Vince 30 NET RESULT Luddites and Lace-Makers by Sarah Jane Downing




But the key education component is internal. Marie is an invaluable living link, having come to work at the mill in 1976 at the age of 16. Leaving in 1990 to focus on her family – but returning as a consultant warper and winder – she was brought back in 2012. This, she says is, ‘for keeps! I want to carry on our lovely tradition and pass on the knowledge I acquired from Rita Moss, Rickey Peters, Mellie Andrews and Marge Painter, all then in their 60s and 70s and having worked here since they were 14.’ She explains, ‘they worked for James Hyde, the last private owner and passionate about the mill, keeping it going by the skin of his teeth.’ When James died in 1955 his will stipulated that the archives were burnt, so the weavers’ memories and skills were all that continued. ‘Rita Moss taught me everything’, Marie says, pointing to Rita’s name among others scratched into the wooden uprights of an 1830s’ loom. Marie now oversees the essential commercial production, which visitors can observe from glassed galleries at either end of the weaving floor.

Today’s cloths are much more true to the 19th and early 20th century looms preserved at Whitchurch, making lovely herringbones, twills and stripes that echo the ‘slubby’ character of the mill’s production a century ago, incorporating spun silk, cashmere and tussah silk. The key to success? ‘Keep it simple,’ Marie says, ‘and weave it well.’ Mary Schoeser Whitchurch Silk Mill, 28 Winchester St, Whitchurch RG28 7AL p28-29

Page 41: Sue Stone, Detail of 'From Grimsby to Greenpoint & Beyond' 2018, Hand and machine embroidery with acrylic paint and ink pencils,175 x 123 cms

Page 45: Hammersmith Women’s Social and Political Union

Banner, 1910, 96 cm x 218 cm

Page 42: Scene from The Bayeux Tapestry, 11th century, wool on linen Page 44: Folk Archive Banner, 2005, by Ed Hall for Alan Kane & Jeremy Deller

Page 43: Grayson Perry, Britain is Best, 2014. Hand embroidery, 120x100 cm, Above: PROCESSIONS banner by Somerset Art Works, working with artist Dorcas Casey.

PROCESSIONS was produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW.

Right: The Tapestry, created by the BBC to commemmorate the 2018 World Cup, annimated Nicos Livesey of Blinkink.


tball Museum

National Foo lay at isp

, on d


.co ink link

.b artists to lead groups in creating stitch and textile banners for the 10th June marches. That this number of people threw themselves into the project with masses of dedication and commitment is surely proof that there is a continuing interest, and belief in textiles as not only valid artistic methods but also as a vehicle for political comment, protest, affirmation, mobilisation and communication. It is not a new idea and there is a long and esteemed history to draw on; The Bayeux Tapestry, or The Cloth of Conquer as it is otherwise known is a smart piece of affirmative Norman political narrative that could be understood by all who saw it. Cleverly, www the BBC recognised the universal appeal of stitch by commissioning a 600 frame animated banner for its World Cup 2018 trailer, History Will Be Made.

Created at the Blinkink Embroidery studio to a graphic style inspired by Russian art, the tapestry film is intended to focus on the global, inclusive nature of the World Cup tournament. This impressive marriage of ancient methods and up to the minute technology depicts scenes such as Diego Maradona’s infamous handball as well the tears that Paul Gascoigne will never be allowed to forget. Informed in part by the Bayeux Tapestry it is a brilliant 21st Century, plural version of the Cloth of Conquer that depicts a less murderous and more international kind of sporting competition than the original.

Albeit that many banners are produced on vast digital machines, the beauty of stitch is that it is still something that can be done just about anywhere; a small piece can be carried in a pocket and some airlines will even allow a needle and thread in the cabin. So, maybe as well as tapping out messages on our screens, we could stitch some too, you never know what it might lead to. Dr Nicola Donovan




an ridgem


Left: Eleanor of Toledo with her Son Giovanni,

Agnolo Bronzino, c.1545/46, Galleria degli

Uffizi, Florence

Right: Portrait of a Young Princess, Antonio Pisanello, c.1435–40, Musée du Louvre, Paris embroidered on her sleeve was an impresa of Ginevra’s brother, Leonello d’Este. Perhaps the clincher is the sprig of juniper above her right shoulder, for the Italian for juniper is ginepro, which sounds like Ginevra. So the juniper may represent a visual pun on Ginevra’s name; as an evergreen, it also symbolised eternal life. Juniper was similarly used by Leonardo da Vinci to identify Ginevra de’ Benci, whom he painted in around 1474, the artist’s decision to picture her outside enabling him to give her a juniper ‘halo’. Di Credi appears to have emulated Leonardo in his Portrait of a Young Woman (1490–1500), for his subject likewise has a juniper halo. She is believed to be his sister-in-law, Ginevra di Giovanni di Niccolò, pictured here in black widow’s weeds and holding a ring, a possible reference both to her marriage and to her late husband’s profession (he was a goldsmith).

One of the most sumptuous representations of fabric in Renaissance art appears in Bronzino’s Eleanor of Toledo with her Son Giovanni (c.1545/46). Eleanor had married Cosimo de’ Medici in 1539, and together they had eleven children. Considering this, the stylised pomegranates that highlight her gown are an apt motif, for the fruit contains a multitude of seeds and thus symbolises fertility and motherhood. This, then, is a portrait that celebrates Eleanor’s crucial role in the perpetuation of a powerful dynasty.

Identity and idealisation, propaganda and prestige – subtle they may be, but the symbols seen in Renaissance portraits convey powerful messages. Clare Gibson


p 52-53

Skip to main content