Pattern Occurring 101 - Tie-dye

This summer we have an intern from the Seattle Children's Theater staying with us. She and her fellow interns had a Tie-Dye party last weekend. I was so impressed. Come On Now Get Your Pattern Occurring! Woop Woop!

Tie-dye is a process of tying and dyeing a piece of fabric or cloth which is made from knit or woven fabric, usually cotton T- Shirts here in Seattle. It seems to be a trend that comes back time and again.  It is a modern version of traditional dyeing methods used in many cultures throughout the world such as shibori in Japan. Tie-dyeing is accomplished by folding the material into a pattern, and binding it with string or rubber bands. Dye is then applied to only parts of the material. The ties prevent the entire material from being dyed. Designs are formed by applying different colors of dyes to different sections of the wet fabric. Once complete, the material is rinsed, and the dye is set. Then you are ready for any folk festival on the West Coast! TA DA! Here is a cute video to show you the process.  Now go play with pattern.

Pattern Occurring 101 - William Morris & John Henry Dearle

When commencing my Pattern Occurring 101, I thought it only right to start is with one of the greatest textile and surface designers ever, William Morris and his apprentice/co worker John Henry Dearle. Predictable I know, but very essential.  I have already covered a few of my favourites so be sure to check those out if you haven't already Lucienne Day, William Killburn and Anna Maria Garthwaite.

WIlliam Morris (1834- 1896) Is one of the major contributors to what is now known as the Arts and Craft Movement. He was profoundly influenced by the Pre Raphaelites, Medieval arts, the writings of John Ruskin and poetry of Tennyson. Morris rejected industrialization for hand craftsmanship. Elevating the craftsman to artist and creating affordable hand-made goods.  Morris's unequalled genius continues to floor me and is is still cherished and adored world wide today.  His vast legacy includes poetry, writing, manuscript illuminations, calligraphy, tapestry, stained glass, furniture, textiles and wallpapers. It can also be credited to Morris, the huge a love affair and respect for print and pattern in the UK. His influence is also clearly seen through the works of several other designers such as John Henry Dearle.

You may be forgiven for not knowing John Henry Dearle. Beginning in his teens as a shop assistant and then design apprentice, Dearle rose to become Morris & Co.'s chief designer by 1890.  Dearle created designs for tapestries, embroideries, wallpapers, woven and printed textiles, stained glass, and carpets. Following Morris's death in 1896, Dearle was appointed Art Director of the firm, and became its principal stained glass designer on the death of Burne-Jones in 1898. 

Morris's reputation overshadowed Dearle's work throughout Dearle's career: Dearle exhibited early patterns under Morris's name and Dearle designs continue to be sold as Morris patterns. Critical assessment of Dearle's work then underwent a significant change, during the final decades of the twentieth century, recognizing Dearle's mature work as having a unique artistic vision of its own. Dearle always remained close to Morris's aesthetic, however should be more readily recognized in it's own right.

Shoe Museum Northampton

We catch our long flight back to the New World today.  Bitter sweet goodbye to my homeland, family and friends.  I thought I'd share a little more about my hometown before i jump in the shower and down my last  proper cuppa.  My home town of Northampton has been the most famous city in the world for shoe production since the 15th Century. Hence there is a rather fabulous shoe museum in the town center.

Northampton today is still considered the place to go for prestige Shoes.  Among the current leading names in the industry is Church’s English Shoes, based in St James, which now employs about 400 people. This is a family run business established in 1873 and is majority owned by Prada. In October 1999 Prada purchased an 83% share for $170 million.

Here are a few pics from the museum.

Bound feet shoe China

Bound feet shoe China

Silk embroidered shoe

Silk embroidered shoe

Union Jack Shoe 1953

Union Jack Shoe 1953

78 Derngate is a great little gem to visit in Northampton.  It is a Grade II* Georgian house that was extensively remodeled in 1916 and 1917 by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. During my visit home, I popped in for a little look and a cuppa in the tearoom. Here is a little Mackintosh history if this is all new to you.   

Mackintosh had a brilliant but brief career as an architect, most of his commissions being completed in and around Glasgow between 1896 and 1911. His major works include Glasgow School of Art, The Hill House, and the remarkable tea room interiors for Catherine Cranston. 

In 1914 Mackintosh moved to England. During this time he focussed on watercolour painting, and took up textile design. In 1923 the Mackintoshes left Britain for the south of France, where his painting took on a new vigorous form. He returned to London in 1927 and died there the following year, unknown to all but a few. He is now recognised as one of the most important architect/designers of the late 19th/early 20th century.

Making myself at home.

Making myself at home.


William Kilburn-Victoria and Albert Museum

William Kilburn was the son of a Dublin architect and was an apprentice to a calico printer, but spent his spare time engraving and sketching. He moved to London after his father's death where he became a prolific and brillant textile designer. I am smitten with Kilburn's fine line work and choice of colours. What a tremendous designer/artist.

Kilburn was also the chief petitioner in March 1787, requesting for design copyright protection in the textile industry. At that time Kilburn was a calico printer at Wallington in Surrey. Ralph Yates, who was a London warehouseman, regularly sold Kilburn's designs to the firm of Peel & Co., who would copy the design and produce a cheaper fabric that appeared in shops within a few days. Sound familiar? I wish a similar law would be inforced in the US to protect designers today.  I hate to hear of talented designers not being recognized for their work. 

Many of Kilburn's works are available for viewing at The Victoria and Albert Museum.