Monday, November 15, 2010

Chinese Textiles

A few months ago I had an unexpected phone call, inviting me to be the guest speaker at the Mandurah Antiques and Collectables Club.
I've been collecting Chinese textiles since living in Singapore in 2000.
In the past I've approached the WA Embroiderer's Guild  numerous times, to display them, but no-one has ever taken me up on the offer, which has been disappointing.
One of the highlights of collecting, is to be able to show them to other people and share the joy of them, and also to educate, so it was a wonderful surprise when the invitation from the A&C Club arrived.
Yesterday was the big day, and what a lovely group of people they were.  I was bowled over by the enthusiasm and appreciation of these people, they made me so welcome and showed such a lot of interest, that I went home on a high.
I've included photos of a few of my textiles for you to see.  From top to bottom, they include a baby carrier, a cloud collar, another baby carrier, two childrens hats ...
Above are a pair of childrens embroidered boots, which have to be one of my favourite items - they are so small, and the couched metal strips shine beautifully.
Below ia a close up of some of the amazing embroidery on another child's hat.  Although this piece has faded over the years since it was originally made, you can still see glimpses of the intense green silk lining and imagine how vibrant it would have been.
Below are a pair of lotus shoes ... not quite the tiny 3" golden lillies, but still small, none-the-less.  I also have two pairs of lotus slippers, all exquisitely hand embroidered with silk.  Yet as beautiful as they are, its bitter-sweet to imagine the painful bound feet that would have worn them.
  Does anyone else collect any textiles?  I'd love to hear about them, if you do.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Tassels, braids, cords and buttons

No I haven't fallen off the face of the planet ... I've been in hibernation trying to get Module 10 finished. Well ... that's not exactly true, I have been working at this module as much as possible, but also been running around doing loads of other things and haven't had any spare time to blog, or read anyone else's blogs for that matter, so I do apologise for the lack of comments.   I plan to sit and read through the last months chit-chats as soon as I can.
I thought this module would be a breeze and wouldn't take long.  You'd think I would have realised by now that this is never the case!  They always take longer than expected.
This module is all about cords, braids, edgings, trims, buttons, beads and tassels, so lots of samples for each.  I think I spent a week just trying to work out the explanation for finger cords, then finally found a great video on You Tube which helped, and then you couldn't stop me, I was finger cording every type of yarn I could find.  Great fun!
The past week has been all about mounting them up for presentation and recording purposes.  I'm a bit fickle about it and like them all done uniformly ... yes! anal, I know! 
 I've only included a small selection of my samples, otherwise I'd bore you silly.  Some of my favourites are the buttonhole rings, stitched on a hedebo stick that my dad made me from a broom handle .... great for me, but now mum has to bend over to do the sweeping, LOL!
(for some reason blogger won't put this photo the right way around ... sorry)
One of my all time favourites from my samples is the one below.  We are required to incorporate the cords and braids with machine made laces and cords to create a decorative edging.  This one reminds me of something Elizabethan.  It just evolved on its own and is made from machine cording over black electrical flex and twisted cords with lace and beads.
 My second favourite is this plum piece.  I wove the two straight edge braids wider than the two intertwined ones and then stitched them together and added spacers.  I think it would make a lovely shoulder strap for a dress.
 After all this braiding and entwining I decided to just do an artistic piece to see what it would turn out like .... as it is, I quite like it.  Haven't a clue what it represents but I like the flow and colours.
 I think I made about 13 tassels even though it only called for 8-10 samples. 
I enjoyed making them and then the more I made the more ideas came into my head.
You've already seen the Dorset buttons previously, so sorry to repeat myself with photos. I found some great cheap DVD boxes for displaying and protecting them, so wanted to show you these.
The two buttons on the right side of the photo below remind me of a rastafarian hat .... must be the colours!
I had a lot of fun with tyvek, wire and embossing power making the beads/buttons on the left below, as well as the giant covered buttons - I laid loads of scraps of thread over aquabond, machine stitched over them and got a new hairy fabric.  The buttons look okay but I doubt they'd be very washable.
I'm still mounting up some of them and doing all the documentation side of things now, so that'll me head down and bum up again for the next month, but I'll blog again as soon as I can.