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12 Noteworthy Festivals and shows not to be missed. 15 Clear purpose Give us the tools, and we will finish the job... Editor-in-Chief Polly Leonard foundbeautifulsculpturaltextiletoolsattheConvergenceconferenceinAlbuquerque. 47 COVER STORY Symbiotic Anthropologie fill their shops with carefully chosen goods, one-off pieces and the fruits of their relationship with independent designers. 19 How to... Be part of The Campaign for Wool by making a pretty knitted rug with Rowan’s Purelife British Sheep breeds - Patternavailabletodownloadfrom1stOctober. 79 Fabric swatch A new feature on obscure fabrics, No. 1 serge SarahJaneDowningtracksdown earlyreferencestothisoncecommonplacewoolcloth.IllustratedbyDebbiePowell.
INDUSTRY from craft to commerce
20 COVER STORY Returning to the fold Wool is a fibre with friends in high places and has plans to make more... LizFarrellyfindsoutwhyhighprofilefiguressuchasHRHThePrinceofWalesare championingawoolrevivalandhowyoucanhelp. 49 London Design Festival Diaries at the ready as Origin, Decorex, 100% Design, Tent London et al return to the capital to showcase new talent and favourites from the past.
ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives
37 COVER STORY Scrap of a thing 18th century textile tokens from the Foundling Museum. Shelly Goldsmithuncoversthetinytextilefragmentsthatareouronlytangiblelinktothethousands ofunwantedbabiesthatpassedthroughtheFoundlingHospital. 96 Faithful flock The architectural splendour of the wool churches. SarahJaneDowningsurveys thelinksbetweenthewoolindustryandsomeofBritain’smostbeautifulchurches.
CONCEPT textiles in fine art
29 Jones the book Drawing at the National Wool Museum, Carmarthenshire, Wales made by artist in residence, Julia Griffiths Jones.
ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends
42 COVER STORY Life’s Werk: Eley Kishimoto “"Collaboration" says Mark Eley, "was in our DNA from the moment we met." CynthiaRosefindsouthowthesefashiondesignerskeepthingsfresh. 60 COVER STORY Foraging for fashion GönülPaksoyapproachesartfromadifferentangle,incorporatingallthatsheknowsaboutscience,cookeryanddesign.
Representing the construction insulation sector within the campaign, Christine Armstrong offers a truly radical use for wool, albeit one that is centuries old. She's managing director of Second Nature UK Limited, whose Thermafleece product is an industry leader.
When they started, back in 2001, most coarse wool produced in the UK was being burnt. “I wondered why wool insulation was imported from New Zealand when what we had on our doorstep was going to waste,” says Christine: “That was the main motivation.”
Second Nature use 100 percent British wool in their natural products, the advantages of which are manifold. As loft insulation, wool absorbs moisture and condensation; it's fire retardant, melting away from flames it only ignites at 600 oC; it's durable, lasting longer than conventional insulation, which reduces its environmental impact and the cost of replacement; plus it helps builders achieve a better environmental rating for their projects. The short answer is, it simply performs better than any synthetic product.
That alone didn't guarantee success. With long-term connections to hill farming, Christine was inspired by the plight of farmers. She explains: “Establishing Second Nature has mirrored the struggles of the Fellside farmers. I
underestimated the complexities of the supply chain and the wool, manufacturing and sustainable construction industries in the UK.” The upshot of seeking out advice and innovative solutions is that Second Nature has become an exemplar of environmental responsibility, “without compromising quality or performance”.
Finding profitable ways to use fleece also safeguards a way of life that has been handed down through generations. Those that work the land aren’t asking for special treatment based on nostalgia – as Mark Jones, a shepherd in the Lakeland Hills, points out, not to do it “is just a waste, it’s a natural resource on our doorstep and better then chemical alternatives.” Mark began working with a flock when he was twelve years old and, despite the seven day weeks it’s a job he loves; “no two days are the same,” he explains. The work changes with the seasons and the sheep wander over a thousand acres – although they are “hefted to the fell” which means taught by their mothers not to stray.
Mark’s eight-year-old son Matthew is already working with him at weekends and during holidays, for now at least, his ambition is to follow in his Dad’s footsteps because he “loves the animals”. Let’s hope the flock is thriving when the time comes for him to take over.
Another hill flock is being tended by Pauline and
Dick Beijen at Seale Stoke Farm, Devon. The couple downsized from busy careers but their canny business sense is still in evidence – the fleeces from their Texel sheep are transformed into cosy, wool-filled duvets.
The idea of woollen duvets came to them when they moved near Buckfastleigh, which was once a great wool town and still has a mill. The couple realised that as tastes changed, and we moved from blankets to duvets, the UK began importing feather, down and synthetic fillers. The Beijens wondered if modern technology could process wool
03 Christine Armstrong
04 Pauline and Dick Beijen
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A degree of flexibility is required if you decide to make your living as an artist. Being open to ideas and opportunities can be more important than a rigid career plan. Julia Griffiths Jones, an artist whose figurative wirework sculptures have been described as ‘embroideries in air’, became the National Wool Museum’s artist in-residence almost by accident. She simply asked permission to sketch in the galleries. That question led to five commissioned textile pieces, which led to a contemporary art trail in the museum, which led to an Arts Council of Wales grant to produce a hand-stitched, digitally printed wool book and, for the artist, a renewed desire to concentrate on drawing. It’s amazing where that first step can take you...
The body of Julia’s earlier work has been wire sculptures but the pieces for the Wool Museum are flat textile works, digitally printed and stitched, some have an overlaid tracery of wire work. To create them Julia observed life in the museum and the attached working mill, Melin Teifi. The Dobby and Jacquard looms were a source of fascination – an interest captured in her wool book but which doesn’t end there. Although Julia’s residency is now complete she has been inspired by the structural, mechanical shapes of the looms and the history of careful labour they represent and plans to continue down this new path. Limited edition digitally printed wool book, £40, www.juliagriffithsjones.co.uk s e l v e d g e . o r g
Foundling 27 ‘Purple and white printed linen sleeves turned up red and white’. A girl, admitted 25 March 1741. Given the name Margaret Bentick by the Foundling Hospital. Died 6 April 1741.
Foundling 374 ‘Flowered cotton’. Cotton printed with flowers. A girl, admitted 18 December 1747. Named Sabrina Rose by the Foundling Hospital. Died, probably 25 May 1754.
Foundling 11337 ‘Purpel and white flowered cotten’. Cotton printed in small floral designs. A boy, admitted 25 January 1759. Named John Hammersmith by the Foundling Hospital. Apprenticed 26 July 1769 to Mr Maycock, farmer of Thornton, Cheshire.
Foundling 11877 ‘Flowered lining’. Linen printed with flowers. A boy about 1 month old, admitted 5 March 1759. Named Felix Dodd by the Foundling Hospital. Died 11 July 1759.
Foundling 170 ‘A bunch of 4 ribbons narrow – Yellow, Blue, Green, & Pink’. Silk ribbons tied in a bunch with a knot. A girl, admitted 9 December 1743. Given the name Pamela Townley by the Foundling Hospital. Died 1 September 1746.
Foundling 1254 ‘A piece of blue silk pin’d on ye Breast’. A girl, admitted 29 May 1755. Named Anne Robinson by the Foundling Hospital. Died as a child, date unknown.
Foundling 11868 ‘Flowered lawn’. Lawn printed with flowers. Lawn was one of the finest linens. A girl, about 1 day old, admitted 4 March 1759. Named Sarah Tucker by the Foundling Hospital. Died 9 March 1759
Foundling 12843 ‘Flannel the bottom worked’. Flannel embroidered with a flower. Boy aged about 9 months, admitted 19 May 1759. Named Theodosius Williamson by the Foundling Hospital. Apprenticed 24 May 1769 to Hugh Morgan, bricklayer of Barking, Essex. A Theodosius Williamson married Phoebe Lawrence at St Leonard’s church, Shoreditch, London on 29 October 1776.
Opening in 1741, the Foundling Hospital in London took in the babies of unmarried women. Not a hospital in the true sense, the Foundling Hospital provided ‘Maintenance and Education for Exposed and Deserted Young Children’, a home, an education, it also offered the mothers a chance to return to their former lives and perhaps regain some form of respectability in the community.
Its campaigning founder the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram returned from years at sea and was appalled by the plight and neglect of children left to die on the streets of London. He received a Royal Charter from King George II to establish the hospital in 1739, and to ensure its survival he enlisted the help of prominent men of the time. The artist William Hogarth donated a number of his paintings which were housed in the Hospital. Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough also gave works. George Frederic Handel performed his "Messiah" on a regular basis to help raise money for the work of the Hospital. Handel was so committed to Coram's charitable endeavours that he left a fair copy of the Messiah to the Hospital in his will.
London in the 18th century saw a high incidence of abandoned babies and infanticide. Poverty stricken women deserted their babies along the roadside or in the doorways of workhouses and churches. The Foundling Hospital offered hope to women and children who would have perished left to their own devices.
From 1741 to 1756, women leaving their babies at the Foundling Hospital were invited to leave a token with the child as a means of identification should they ever be in the unlikely position to return and reclaim them. These eclectic ‘tokens’ include buttons, thimbles, half a coin, a hazelnut but the most compelling are the textiles; swatches cut from the clothes of the mothers and babies; a gown cut in half, a scrap tied to the child’s wrist or a ribbon cockade left with a young boy.
These textile fragments, held at present in billet books at the London Metropolitan Archives, are too fragile to be on permanent display. They have been touched by few and still bear the experience of the maker and the wearer. Close inspection reveals the hand-stitching that seals a hem or finishes a cuff – a link to the individual who wore them more than 250 years ago and a reminder of their desperate plight and awful decision.
Children’s clothes of the time were generally made from old adult garments. These worn swatches show the residue of life, depositaries of DNA; with modern forensic science at our finger tips, what could we unearth? Often a piece of the child’s arrival clothes were cut to serve as the token, maybe a small woollen square, or the dissection of a sleeve. Was the mother furnished with an identical cloth square or the other sleeve perhaps? The imagined scene of the mother arriving at the hospital with
Foundling 12924 ‘Flowered lining’. Linen printed with flowers and leaves. A girl, admitted 26 May 1759.
Foundling 13287 ‘Spriged cotten’. Cotton printed with sprigs and dots. A girl aged about 21 days, admitted 30 June 1759. Named Hannah Carter by the Foundling Hospital. Died 17 February 1760.
Foundling 208 ‘A black Cockade on his head’. A cockade made from black silk ribbon. A boy, admitted 22 February 1745. Named Hanwell Helsden by the Foundling Hospital. Died 11 March 1745.
Foundling 166 ‘Strip’d susa mark’d Dec 9 1743’. Susa, usually spelled soosey, was a silk fabric from India. A boy, admitted 9 December 1743. Given the name Columbus Bridgetown by the Foundling Hospital. Died 30 September 1744
Foundling 12956 ‘Striped Calimanker.’ Calimanco woven in stripes and figures. Calimanco was a worsted fabric. A girl, admitted 30 May 1759. Named Millicent Butler by the Foundling Hospital. Died 8 June 1759.
Foundling 13414 ‘Chins’. Chintz Indian cotton printed with flowers. A girl, admitted 13 July 1759. Named Elizabeth Cutler by the Foundling Hospital. Died 24 November 1759.
Foundling 10563 A heart cut from red woollen cloth, a ribbon of blue paduasoy silk, and a piece of linen diaper. ‘The Bit of Red Cloth Enclosed was pined to the Childs Cap’. A girl, admitted 22 November 1758. Named Isabel Crane by the Foundling Hospital. Died 16 December 1758.
Foundling 12052 A drawing of a tulip and a piece of cotton or linen printed with sprigs and diamonds. A girl, admitted 18 March 1759. Named Elizabeth Mattews by the Foundling Hospital. Died 29 March 1759.
a n e c d o t e her baby, but leaving clutching just a fragment of the child’s garment is a moving one. It is suggested that at times swatches were cut from an unseen part of the mothers garment such as a pocket; a symbol of the gaping hole in her life.
Presumably it was the Hospital clerk who folded the billet sheet into a small package of nine folds; unaware that they were preserving its contents for 21st century audiences. There was rarely an occasion to open the folded packages, children were rarely collected and never saw the tokens that represented their past. The billets lay untouched until they were collated into books.
The forthcoming Threads of Feeling exhibition at the Foundling Museum presents the textiles which accompanied the depositing of a child and offers insights into why tokens were used, how they relate to individual children and gives a rare glimpse of plebeian fashions of the 18th century. This era saw a growth in consumerism; clothes and textiles became more widely available. High society and grand garments from this time have been preserved for our heritage in collections but little remains of the clothing of the ordinary people.
In fact John Styles comments in his book TheDressofthePeople:Everyday Fashion in Eighteenth Century England, “This is the largest collection of 18thcentury textiles in Britain and probably in the world providing an unparalleled archive of what ordinary women wore. The textiles in the billet books represent the fabrics available to impoverished desperate mothers whose infants were taken in by the Hospital. Undoubtedly many raped or jilted by their betrothed.”
By 1742 the numbers of mothers bringing children to the Hospital was so great and the admissions procedure so disorderly that it was decided to adopt a ballot system to decide which children were admitted. Around twenty infants would be admitted at each intake, but crowds of women, five times this amount, would gather outside the Hospital. In turn each woman drew a coloured ball out of a bag; white, indicating the baby would be examined and admitted if it was healthy; black, the mother and child were dismissed; the red ball meant a second chance was given in the case of any ‘white ball babies’ being refused admittance.
The inevitable cruelty of this early lottery system must ultimately have left each of these women devastated. “On this Occasion the Expression of Grief of the Women whose Children could not be admitted were Scarcely more observable than those of some of the Women who parted with their Children, so that a more moving Scene can’t well be imagined”, Is a comment in the Foundling Hospital Daily Committee Minutes, 26th March 1741.
Mothers leaving children remained anonymous, with no questions asked, but s e l v e d g e . o r g
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Life’s werk: Eley Kishimoto
One of this year's most seductive coffee-table books bears the unlikely moniker 'WERK 17'. Yet that name reveals it as one of a prestigious series: the WERK line of artisan publications about artists. Overseen by the Singapore design guru Theseus Chan, each volume of every series is unique and handcrafted. With WERK 17, Chan celebrates Eley Kishimoto, the design partnership of husband-andwife Mark Eley and Wakako Kishimoto. The couple, based in south London for almost two decades, are among the premier practitioners of modern pattern. Around the world, their combination of bold colour and confident rhythm instantly denotes another Eley Kishimoto achievement.
Like every WERK book, the new one is a tactile treasure (many of its pages are actually made out of archive fabrics). But it also offers snapshots of the two minds behind the name – minds able to easily move between apparel and furnishings, art and industry, socks and skateboard decks. To achieve this, Eley and Kishimoto harness two special gifts. One is their personal brand of synergy, another their genius for working with other creatives.
Although the two designers actually met in New York, both are graduates of UK art colleges. He, a Welshman, studied Fashion and Weave at Brighton Polytechnic; she came from Sapporo to read Fashion and Print at Central St. Martins. From the first, both sensed their sort of communication was different. "Collaboration" says Eley, "was in our DNA from the moment we met." In 1992, when the couple returned to London, they married and launched a company from their own living-room.
Initially, they followed a template set by Karl Lagerfeld and Kenzo Takada – that of the fashion freelance who, while serving time with different labels, maintains an individual and global outlook. Their enterprise was begun by making textiles for Joe Casely-Hayford, Nicole Farhi, Alexander McQueen and Hussein Chalayan. But, within three years, the name was also a fashion label. Launched when the prevailing style was monochrome and minimal, its bright and forthright graphics were quite an aberration.
Quickly, however, the duo made a place for themselves. Eley Kishimoto prints have always been uncompromising; colourful and complex yet meticulously finished. In many ways, the clothes themselves organically extend the patterns, which spill over to hug the legs, climb the arms and perch on the head. After so many years, their designs make it easy to see why brands from diverse markets seek out the company. This team are versatile enough to work with anyone – be it Volkswagen or Versace – without losing their soul or their signature.
WERK 17 offers a visual feast, from Eley and Kishimoto's childhood photos and holiday sketches through their process drawings, favourite patterns and recent collections. Text, however, is minimal, so we asked the designers themselves for more...
What would you say about how you collaborate,
what rhythm you follow, what things come first?
Honestly – in terms of cycles and seasons – there is a certain amount of repetition. But, within this,
there is always spontaneity and investigation that relates to the moment when decisions need to be committed. We work on the fashion and accessories collection bi-annually.
Alongside this, there are many projects, collaborations and consultancies that also have to fit in. So the desire to set out on a task comes "first". But each individual task and collection has its own identity, its own reasoning. So every time what is "first" is different, too.
With such an array of partners, some designers would find conflicts ensued...
Collaboration was in place when we started Eley Kishimoto. Yet early on in our career, it was by working with other designers that we realisedcollaboration was a creative way to experiment with our ideologies… as well as a way to communicate and survive.
We collaborate for fun, for financial gain, to gain beautiful products in our lives, to celebrate a friendship, on a whim, with passion, to educate and to market ourselves. But also, as designers, we know there are areas of process and product that we should not touch. We have been very lucky; all our past collaborations have been healthy. There have been a few issues concerning quality and appropriate marketing routes, but these were quickly resolved – and to a good end.
With pattern, how do you achieve the right balance?
We like simple but simplicity does not mean we spend less time on making something. For us, "simple" is just as complicated as "complicated". Wakako: It is constantly evolving. New notions and s e l v e d g e . o r g
London Design Festival selv edge.org
& Make a London pigeon with...
Instructions 1. Cut out around dotted line, including notches. 2. Put right sides together and sew with a machine from point A to point B approx 5 mm from the cut line. 3. Turn through so right side is facing out. 4. Over sew to attach base leaving a space of approx 5 cm for stuffing. 5. Stuff with fleece to fill the body add 3 tablespoons of beans to add weight and stabilise the pigeon. 6. Over sew to complete the base.
Join the flock! Make your own contribution to the London Design Festival with Selvedge. Pigeons may not appeal to everyone but we have decided to embrace these iconic, or at least persistent, London residents and recreate Trafalgar Square in the lovely surroundings of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Teaming up with printers Thornback & Peel, our drop-in workshop will provide all the materials to create your own pigeon to add to our installation. Selvedge ‘Feed The Birds’ Free workshop at the V&A, Saturday 18-Sunday 19 September 2010, 10-17.45, V&A Museum, South Kensington, London SW7 2RL, T: +44 (0)20 7942 2000, www.vam.ac.uk
The extreme constructions that stalk down the runway may create headlines at London Fashion Week but the backbone of the event, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, is provided by loyal designers such as Margaret Howell who has a strong commitment to British design. Her Spring Summer 2011 collection debuts at the company's flagship store on Wigmore Street. It sounds like a relaxed affair. According to the designer she was inspired by “beach stripes and loose fit”. No doubt her usual classic lines and beautiful detailing will be in evidence. Like much of Fashion Week, the Margaret Howell show is a trade or ticket only event, but everyone can get their fashion fix at the London Fashion Weekend. A shopping event where designers offer their wares with discounts of up to 70% and visitors can watch a catwalk show. Margaret Howell at London Fashion Week, Sunday 19th September 2010, 11.15, 34 Wigmore Street, London W1U 2RS. T: +44 (0)20 7009 9009, www.margarethowell.co.uk, London Fashion Weekend, 23-26 September, Somerset House, London WC2, www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk
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