Textile Posts

“Every time that I wanted to give up, if I saw an interesting textile, print what ever, suddenly I would see a collection.” – Anna Sui

Ecole Martine: Paul Poiret (1879 – 1944) was a famous French couturier.  He first started designing for Jacques Doucet, then later for Charles Frederick Worth before finally creating his own house in 1904.  He was most noted his hobble skirts, lampshade tunics, and for liberating women from corsets.  Yet one of the most interesting aspects of his career was the launching of Ecole MartinePoiret wisely anticipated the idea of a lifestyle brand, and wanted to offer home furnishings.  He decided to do this under the name Maison Martine, which acted as the retail space.   Maison Martine was supported by Ateilier Martine, the workshop, and the Ecole Martine, an experimental art school that trained young, working-class girls.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)


Onondaga Textiles via The Design Center:  The mill was originally run by Herman Simon (1850-1913), a German emigre, who brought silk to Easton.  In 1874, along with his brother Robert, Herman Simon built a silk mill in Union Hill, NJ  establishing the R. & H. Simon Company.  The mill was three stories high, and contained 165 handlooms, as well as looms Robert invented himself to produce grosgrain silk.  R. & H. Simon Company became so successful that a 9 acre plant is built in Easton in 1883.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)



Fortuny: An Artist that Paints Textiles:  There was so much about Fortuny that I didn’t know.  He was a descendent of the Madrazo family, which consisted of artists, curators, and  collectors.  Art was an intregral part of life for the Madrazo clan, and it deeply influenced Fortuny’s creativity.  Fortuny himself declared, “I have always had many interests, but I have always considered painting to be my profession.“ He painted beautiful portraits, experimented heavily with photography, and collected art and objects himself.  This paved the way for him to design textiles and design garments.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)


Textile Designs by Rockwell Kent:  This was a big surprise for me!  Kent (1882 – 1971) studied painting under William Merritt Chase and Robert Henri.  I’d learned a bit about his paintings while working at an art gallery.  Henri encouraged Kent to paint landscapes of Monhegan island in Maine on his own.  This experience of painting directly in nature greatly affected Kent.  Whatever medium he chose, Kent’s work always captures the amazing power of nature.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)


Textile Sketches by Sonia Delaunay:  These sketches are simply entitled Sonia Delaunay: her paintings, her objects, her simultaneous fabrics, her fashions.  I think these are really prime examples of her design sensibilities, which included the art theory her and her husband Robert developed.  (New to my site?  You should take a look at my previous posts on Sonia & Robert Delaunay)  Sonia, along with her husband, painter Robert Delaunay (1885-1941), developed a color theory called simultaneity “ the sensation of movement when contrasting colors are placed side by side.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)



Vuillard and His Love of Textiles:  Looking at Vuillard’s work, you’ll quickly see he was fascinated by fabrics and their relation to the body.  A woman wearing a floral pattern dress catches your eye in the first composition.  She’s in a room of workers.  Who is she?  What is she doing?  Or maybe you prefer Madame Bonnard.  Did she just purchased a new hat?  Look at how the fabric is starched and piled high on the hat, and the way her hair looks a bit loose on the sides. Most of this attention to textiles was innate to Vuillard.  He was the son of a dressmaker, and grew up around sumptuous fabrics and vivid patterns required to make fashionable dresses.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)




William Morris & Co. : William Morris (1834 – 1896) was a textile designer that was affiliated with the Pre-Raphaelites.  He created the most beautiful and intricate floral textile patterns.  Really, Morris was more than a textile designer.  He wrote poetry and philosophy; drew and painted; and also did interior design.  I just think he was particularly gifted at creating beautiful, complex patterns for fabrics.  Morris was influenced by medieval art, particularly stained glass windows, tapestries, and murals.  He started to seriously study medieval architecture in 1855.  He inherited a large fortune, and took a walking tour through Northern France.  He spent a lot of time observing and sketching Gothic cathedrals there.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)
Batik: Cloth as Art: One of the other aspects I love about Javanese textiles is that they are  spiritual objects.  Indonesia has a really rich and diverse religious community, but a large percentage is Hindu and Buddhist.  The cloth and how it is made is a representation of the universe (sort of like Tibetan sand mandalas).  The act of making these complex patterns is a sort of meditation.  Extreme care and mindfulness are needed, or else the design will not be executed properly.  The artists that make these clothes must be fully present in the moment of creating the cloth.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)


John Little & Wesley Simpson Textiles:  Two days ago, I received an email from a reader.  Laura had recently purchased this original textile design by John Little.  (I’ve written several posts on Little, one on his abstract art, the other on his textile designs)  When I first saw Little’s abstract paintings, I felt a connection to his work.  I couldn’t place exactly what it was.
Then, I read his biography and discovered he had been a textile designer during the Great Depression and throughout his career as a painter.  There is a vast difference between Little’s abstract paintings and textile designs.  His textiles are more representational (i.e. they depict recognizable objects, figures, or have some sort of pattern).  Laura’s purchase is a great example of this.  Entitled “Personalities“, it seems like a chess set came to life, with each of the game pieces expressing a part of their character.  (To continue reading the original post, please click here.)
Find of the Week: Toile de Joey by Wesley Simpson | Wesley Simpson scarves are one of my favorite things to collect.  Simpson (1903-1975) was an American textile manufacturer who was responsible for bringing many artist-designed textiles to the market after World War II.  World War II had an enormous impact on both the fashion industry and art market in America.  First, it liberated American designers from simply making copies of Parisian couture.  But it also allowed a new genre of artist to emerge, most of whom were in New York.  Abstract expressionism was very popular right after the war.  People had a renewed interest in the arts and the economic means to purchase.  Artists hoped to capitalize on this, and teamed with textile producers to make fabrics and accessories.  The marketing strategy was to bring art to everyday life.



Fabric Labels from The Stieg Collection | Labels provide a wealth of information about a garment.  They are the signature of a brand or designer.  They provide fiber content, instructions on how to care for the garment, the company of manufacture, and more.  These small little tags on the inside of garments also record information about the era in which they were made.  The Stieg Collection has some really interesting labels.

Aside from the beautiful “Custom Original – Utah Tailoring Mills” label in each of the garments, there are so many others.  Many of these labels tell the story of fabric.  Textile mills also used to produce their own labels, and provided them to designers and manufacturers to include in the finished garment.  Today, I wanted to take a closer look at a few from The Stieg Collection.

(To continue reading this post, please click here.)