Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Papier Mache: An Easy Way to be Creative

A Bit of History

Papier mache has a very long history. Its origins comes from China; the inventors of paper itself. They used papier mache to make helmets of all things, which they toughened by many layers of lacquer. Examples have been found dating back to the Han Dynasty (BC 202 – AD 220).

Despite the French sounding name (French for “chewed paper”), papier mache was not made in France until the mid 17th century. However, they were the first country in Europe to do so.
From China, the interest in papier mache spread to Japan and Persia, where it was used in mask making and festival activities. Eventually it spread across the world. Large imports of papier mache objects swamped European markets. This in turn led France to start making its own wares, and England followed suit in the 1670s. There was only a half-hearted interest until the late 1700s and into the 1800s, when it
became widely used. 

Designate - Contemporary rustic style

Designate create fabulously rustic handmade interior accessories using reclaimed materials including wood, slate & fabrics.

The husband & wife, Andy and Kirsty Field,  have been trading since 2000 and produce a large range including small clocks, wall clocks, mirrors, blackboards, frames, and lamps. Designate’s style is distinctly rustic, which comes from the materials they use, making every item unique. Each item, although made in the same style, will have its own individual character whether it be in the grain, colour, paint effect or size.

Designate aims to produce good quality, unique items at an affordable price ensuring both our distributors, and their customers, have a product to be proud of.

Designate products can be found in their showroom in Matlock (Derbyshire, UK) or at some of their stockists (Iapetus, Malvern, Worcestershire)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

His Majesty - The Thimble

A thimble is a protective shield worn on the finger or thumb generally worn during sewing.

While collecting thimbles became popular in the mid 1800 as a result of the special thimbles that were made for the Great Exhibition held in the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, the earliest known thimble was Roman and found at Pompeii. Made of bronze, it has been dated to the first century AD. A Roman thimble was also found at Verulamium, in the UK. and can be seen in the museum there.

thimble collection

Kaffe Fassett's Way of Life

 Kaffe Fassett has inspired people across the world with his colourful work in fabric, knitting,
needlepoint, patchwork, painting and mosaic. 

Kaffe Fassett was born in San Francisco in 1937. When he was 19, he won a scholarship to the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston, but left after three months to paint in London. He settled in England in 1964.

Kaffe ventured into the world of colourful yarn on a visit to a Scottish wool mill with fashion designer Bill Gibb. Inspired by the colours in the landscape, he was thrilled to find the same colours in yarns. He bought 20 colours of Shetland wool and some knitting needles, and on the train back to London a fellow passenger taught him how to knit. His first design appeared as a full page spread in Vogue Knitting magazine.

Missoni and Bill Gibb commissioned Kaffe's early commercial collections and his one-of-a-kind designs have been collected by Barbra Streisand, Lauren Bacall, John Schlesinger, Ali McGraw, Irene Worth, Shirley Maclaine, Helen Frankenthaler, Alan Bergman, and HRH Princess Michael of Kent.

In 1985, Kaffe launched a needlepoint project on the TV programme Pebble Mill at One, inviting anyone across the country to needlepoint an image of their favourite thing, no bigger that 6 inches square, to form part of a tapestry. Over 2,600 entries were sent, forming the Pebble Mill at One Heritage Tapestry which was on show at Chatsworth House until recently, and now is at Harewood House. The same year, the British Crafts Council invited Kaffe to present a BBC daytime television series interviewing leading UK crafts people. 

Easy way to make a tassel

Tassels,  little bunches of loose yarn bound at one end and hanging free at the other — are the usually long, decorative bits that hang off furnishings and seem to serve no other purpose than to make things look pretty. However, that is their purpose — to make the everyday things look prettier.

Tassels are generally embellishments: adding colour and style to various furnishings (such as trimmings for cushion-covers, curtain tie-backs and lampshades); serving as bookmarks; hanging off a graduation cap; or even adorning evening bags and gifts.

The art of tassel-making dates back to the 17th Century where it became an art form known as passementerie in France.
A basic tassel is a fairly simple thing to make and should only take about 15 minutes or less.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Batik - A bit of theory and practice

Batik is a resist method of patterning cloth. The principle of all resist techniques is that a "resist" substance, such as wax or starch paste, is applied to the surface of the cloth to prevent the dye from penetrating to those areas when the fabric is placed in the dyebath. Therefore, when the waxed cloth is removed from the dyebath the areas that have been coated with wax retain their original colour, while the unwaxed areas take on a new hue.
Applying the wax with tjanting
Some theories suggest that batik originated in China between 474BC and 221BC and that the art then spread eastward to Japan. Today, batik is practised  in many parts of the world, including India, Africa, South-East Asia and Europe. However, one island, Java, is at the heart of batik design. Javanese batiks have come to be regarded as among the most beautiful and sought-after pieces in the world.
Probably the most widely recognized batik garment is the sarong, which typically consist of the skirt woven in the shape of tube, worn by both men and women. Most popular colours include red, blue, black and cream, and gold for celebrations.
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