|[Detail: Shawl, Dhaulpur, ca. 1850 ©VandA.]|
|[Mirrored ceiling and copper ceiling lamp in the Mughal Suite. © 2014, Linny Morris, courtesy of Shangri La.]|
Doris Duke's famed, jali-filled, Taj-inspired Mughal Suite -- oft-blogged here and newly restored to its original late-30s luster -- recently opened to the public.
[Click to enlarge. Photo ©Tim Street-Porter from Doris Duke's Shangri La: A House in Paradise,
Skira Rizzoli, 2012. Image published here with written permission from the photographer and book publisher.]
Visitors, until now prohibited from entering this airy enclave within Duke's Hawaiian residence, Shangri La, with its mother of pearl furniture, red velvet day beds, and lush Indian textiles, may check out her original paint choices -- colors which her foundation says were discovered during microscopic studies of the old walls -- and see how she first furnished the digs immediately after her round-the-world honeymoon.
Since public access to the suite of rooms is a milestone in the property's history, Shangri La has also organized a series of celebratory events showcasing the arts of Mughal India. These will continue through July 2015, but later this month on November 29th, from 5 to 7:30 p.m., filmmaker James Ivory of Merchant Ivory Productions will participate in the series by talking about his own movie making adventures in India. Details here.
an earlier post and a piece I wrote for flower: V & A curator Martin Barnes has edited a new 104-page book, Horst: Patterns from Nature, to complement the museum's main Horst exhibition catalogue. In part a reissue of the volume of textile-like images that Horst himself compiled in the 1940s, this 21st-century book includes 28 additional lesser known photo-collages.
And these kaleidoscopic collages are also available as notecards.
And these kaleidoscopic collages are also available as notecards.
[Chloe Spring 2015 via Vogue UK.]
[Ralph Lauren's fall spin on lacy pattern in wool.]
[Caroline Clifton-Mogg's book, Textile Style, open to the section on lace. Photography by Andrew Wood.]
And literally, here above this tub. If you happened to check out my Instagram feed this week, you probably glimpsed a bit of this bathroom. It seems to be channeling Stevie Nicks, and with all those house plants, it has a nice 70s feel in general. So, in more ways than one, it's on the same wavelength with what recently came down the catwalk. This room is also my perfect segue to a new exhibition mention: Nineteenth Century Lace at the Lacis Museum in Berkeley. The recently opened show explores both handmade and machine-made examples, charts shifts in fashion and technique (including a method of embroidering in the air), and delves into how technology helped the lace industry survive turbulent times. Admission is free and the exhibition continues through February 9, 2015.
|[Matisse's dining room at Hôtel Régina, Nice, 1952, as seen in MoMA's exhibition catalogue.]|
At long last, it's here. In the States, at MoMA. This Sunday, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, an exhibition I've been talking about for months, officially goes on view. Yet another mention may seem annoyingly excessive but a specific feature over at the Museum's microsite warrants attention.
in this video and on this microsite, MoMA's director, Glenn Lowry, conservators and curators discuss the original burlap used in Matisse's dining room in the South of France, the mural's second life at the Museum (MoMA acquired it in the 1970s), and how the piece has been painstakingly installed for the upcoming show.
[Unless credited otherwise, all images in this post are from The Artisanal Home: Interiors and Furniture of Casamidy and published here courtesy Rizzoli. Jorge Almada photographed the chairs above.]
The inanimate star of the episode turned out to be Casamidy's signature iron and metal-mesh piece, the "Manchez" chair, painted red and upholstered in an Otomi embroidered fabric. Airy and graphic, the chair is a riff on classic French forms, but also nods to traditional Mexican style. In short, it embodies both Anne-Marie and Jorge. And its role on the show made many viewers curious to see more of the designing couple's own realm.
[Photo by Anne-Marie Midy. Pictured is her home office on the third floor of the couple's Brussels townhouse.]
Now, thanks to Rizzoli's new book written by the designers, The Artisanal Home: Interiors and Furniture of Casamidy, a virtual tour of their private world is possible.
[Photo by Anne-Marie Midy]
Not only can we visit their family's homes in Mexico, but also their European digs and other projects ranging from a tiny yet chic pied-à-terre in Paris to a ranch in Sonora. (Ann-Marie is a former Martha Stewart Living art director and an interior designer as well.)
[Photo by Ricardo Labougle. Click to enlarge.]
For textile junkies, the book offers innumerable fixes: suzanis, ikats, Provencial quilts, Western florals, Saltillo serapes and of course Otomi embroideries.
It's this merging of disparate creative viewpoints that seems to give Casamidy designs their charm. Well, that and the hands of the artisans who make the couple's ideas tangible. The book gives these metalworkers, glaziers, tinsmiths and upholsterers their due, highlighting each artisan by name and image.
[The Drawing Room: English Country House Decoration, from Rizzoli 2014 with photography by Paul Barker, is open to Hilles House.]
What distinguishes this book from others in the genre is that many of the rooms have contemporary touches. All of the icons are here -- Nancy Lancaster's "buttah" yellow room and David Hicks's The Grove, just to name two. And anyone who paid close attention to the set design in Mira Nair's Vanity Fair will appreciate the twin, chinoiserie Chippendale daybeds at Stanway House (detail-oriented folks will love how the rooms are shown from multiple angles).
But the unexpected sights of 21st century life make the images especially compelling. Above, a Union Jack pillow and more recent books and magazine's are strewn about in the Long Room at Hilles House, home of the Blow family. Originally created by Arts and Crafts architect Detmar Blow in 1914, it is a cozier take on an English manor ensconced in the Cotswolds. Think "Modest Manorial," as Musson says.
[More from Musson's The Drawing Room: Stanway House. Click to enlarge.]
[©NTPL/Erik Pelham. Courtesy of The National Trust,]
This time next year, textile junkies will want to be in London. From September 26, 2015 through January 10, 2016, the V & A will present The Fabric of India, an exhibition comprised of famed pieces like Tipu Sultan's 18th-century Indian chintz tent (the one with stunning red flowers acquired by Edward Clive in 1799 and installed at Powis Castle in Powys, Wales), myriad folk, court, and made-for-export textiles from the Museum's own collection, and work from contemporary Indian fashion designers.
[Skirt cloth, silk embroidered with silk thread, Kutch, Gujurat, circa 1880 ©Victoria & Albert Museum.]
[Skirt cloth, silk embroidered with silk thread, Kutch, Gujurat, circa 1850 ©Victoria & Albert Museum.]
Rosemary Crill and Divia Patel are curating so it will be interesting to see if any of the three embroideries pictured here end up on view in the show. While the exhibition will be large -- the first truly comprehensive show to explore handmade Indian textiles from the 3rd to the 21st century, with more than 200 examples, says the V & A -- narrowing the field of choices is probably still a challenge.
If you're curious about the hurdles curators face while mounting a show of this scale, or you just want to sneak a peek at the objects they are working with, check out The Fabric of India blog. It's already live.
[Julia cuff from Etkie. More below.]
Designs by Native Americans will be key to the show but work from non-Natives like Mizrahi will be part of the story, too. Kramer is focused primarily on the past five decades and, as mentioned in her related blog post, is exploring all-things Native from street to haute, tradish to cutting edge.
Hopefully a lavish catalogue will accompany the exhibition. In the meantime, here are some finely made goods you can admire (and wear) right now: hand-beaded on a traditional Navajo loom with seed beads, the pictured cuffs and wraps were crafted by Native American women living and working just outside Albuquerque. Learn more about the enterprise, Etkie, here.
|[Ceramics images by Jeffery Cross, courtesy Heath,]|
Also handmade in the U.S. is Heath Ceramics' latest collection inspired by Lake Tahoe and the intense blues -- seen in both water and sky -- surrounding the snowcapped Sierra Nevada Mountains.
Bowls, vases, textiles and more are scheduled to be available early October. A look back at 1940s Heath here.
[Detail view: Bamana mud cloth pictured in The Silence of the Women. Credits and full view follow below.]
Whether spied on a Pinterest board, at Urban Outfitters, or at the Smithsonian's site, hand-dyed, intricately patterned mud cloth (bògòlanfini) made by the Bamana people in Mali, West Africa is now a very familiar sight in the U.S.
But before it was, Sarah Brett-Smith, professor of West African art and culture at Rutgers, was very busy studying the textiles. From her scholarly beginnings in the 70s, she has focused on the women behind the patterns, interviewing Bamana artisans well-versed in the most traditional techniques. Historically, women were the ones to design and paint the cloths, and Brett-Smith is fascinated by the ways in which their geometric patterns served as a sort of private visual language. In fact, in her just-released tome, The Silence of the Women, she likens the carefully hand-painted patterns to poetry. She also feels that the designs could be viewed as abstract art rather than craft.
Today's highlighted cloth comes from the book. Originally intended to serve as a woman's wrapper, it's from the 1920s, features a painted motif known as "plant oneself well," and today belongs to Musee du Quai Branly. Brett-Smith says that the stippled design in the large squares with Xs might have been inspired by the look of peeled leather.
|[Click to enlarge]|
[Murals at the home of Esther Mahlangu, May 19, 2014. Photo: Richard B. Woodward.]
[Contemporary artist Esther Mahlangu via the VMFA.]
The vibrant color mixes traditionally spotted in South Africa, specifically Ndebele style, can currently be seen in the U.S. at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Esther Mahlangu just began an artistic residency there and she is painting free-hand two 9- by 15-foot works that will ultimately lead into the museum’s African Art Gallery. Mahlangu's larger-than-large geometric pieces relate to the style with which Ndebele women have long painted the exteriors of their houses. Catch her completed project October 8 or onward, or stop by to see the work in progress now.
[Screengrabs and stills from Half of A Yellow Sun.]
A few weeks ago, I finally noticed that Half of A Yellow Sun is now available to rent through iTunes.
If you don't already know the story, it's a 1960s epic set in post-colonial Nigeria with a plot focused on chic, young, English-educated Nigerian twins Olanna (Thandie Newton) and Kainene (Anika Noni Rose). Chiwetel Ejiofor from 12 Years a Slave plays Newton's lover (and ultimately husband), the revolutionary academic Odenigbo. From a visual perspective, it's hard not to be mesmerized by the film's abundance of prints, patterns and vibrant, saturated colors.
Via interiors, architecture and clothes, contemporary 60s styles mash-up with more traditional, regional looks.
Historically Nigeria has been known for its own indigo-dyed cloth as well as strip-woven textiles, and of course eye-popping "Wax Hollandais" patterns have long favored in the area, too. Combine those traditions with the fashion-forward nature of the twins, and it makes sense that nearly every scene is infused with yards of style -- a phrase I wish I'd thought of on my own. But actually I snaked it from the Fowler's somewhat related new exhibition, Yards of Style, African-Print Cloths of Ghana.
|[Image via the Fowler Museum at UCLA.]|
This show explores factory-produced printed cloth found for sale today in West African markets, encompassing goods made in Ghana, other areas of Africa, China and Holland. The exhibition continues through December 14, 2014.
When the postcard first spilled out from between various fall catalogs in my mailbox, I saw just a bit of the birds' bodies and thought, "Oooh, slightly Glaser-esque."
While the creatures do have that psychedelic feel of late-60s posters and album cover art, they were actually embroidered 300 years ago in Gujurat.
And they are joined by other silky chain-stitched birds, animals and flowers on a bed cover (or possibly wall hanging) that was made in India for export to the West. Today, the piece belongs to the V & A. The museum says that it was likely done by professional embroiderers (men, in this case) using a tool called an ari which was strong enough to embellish leather belts and shoes.
Other small but incredibly graphic details from the antique cotton textile have been used as a different sort of cover art: a magnified repro of the flower unfurls across the back of Rosemary Crill's Indian Embroidery.
BTW: Another fascinating Glaser illustration, less famous than the Dylan poster yet displaying those characteristic undulating lines and eye-popping color, is pinned here.
[From Blithfield and Co.'s Peggy Angus collection of wallpapers and fabrics based on Angus's early-20th-century hand -blocked designs. Above, Willow; Below, Persian Leaf.]
Furlongs, the cottage Peggy Angus rented in the English countryside, might have once rivaled Charleston in terms of its unconventional decoration and ability to attract artists, says author James Russell. Textile-designing Angus decamped there for approximately six decades beginning in the early 1930s but few of us are very familiar with this artists' hangout or the main occupant's work.
For the past few months, though, an exhibition at Towner in Southeast England, Peggy Angus: Designer, Teacher, Painter, has been helping to shed more light on her career. There are just about three weeks left to catch the show, and Charleston is participating in the celebration by offering a special walk with Penny Fewster and Angus scholar, Carolyn Trant, that will retrace Peggy's old stomping ground. Russell's new book is available on both sides of the pond.
[Images courtesy Anthropologie.]
It's back: the Anthro fall catalog devoted solely to all things domestic.
Scheduled to hit mailboxes (old school, three dimensional mailboxes) on September 15th, this new 72-page print edition House and Home journal will highlight ceramics by Louisiana artist Rebecca Rebouché, Bamileke Stools by artisans from Cameroon, and Folkthread Chairs by the UK's Kit Kemp, among other goods. In the meantime, be on the lookout for a video peek at the catalog shoot offered over at Anthro's blog.
If you're engaged and thinking about registering for housewares, now Anthropologie is an option. Launching online September 17th will be a new service aptly named The Registry. Actually, the service is designed for all sorts of celebratory occasions. And if you happen to live near Beverly Hills, Chicago, New York (Soho), Seattle, Southlake, Texas or Wayne, Pennsylvania, you can pop in select brick and mortar shops to make selections in person.