Style Court

Nine Years of Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes


The Blue Stripes

I think I've mentioned my family's affinity for stripes before. A few of us are such fans that an upholsterer who has done work for different members once asked, "What's up with all the stripes?"

In Dhurries, Nada Chaldecott talks about India's long-term love affair with stripes. Large striped floor-coverings can be seen in centuries-old Indian paintings, she notes, and of all the patterned flat-woven Indian mats, striped versions are the most iconic. British colonials favored stripes, too.

[Storyteller, dancer and musician from 'The Fraser Album', circa 1810-20. Dhurries.]

For the beginning weaver, stripes offer an easier way to experiment with more than one color.

Chaldecott attributes the popularity of blue-and-white stripes to several factors, one being the association with water: "...the supreme importance of water and its cooling effect, often represented in Indian miniatures."

I haven't attempted any weaving but I did paint some modest, intentionally imperfect stripes on cotton. Mainly I did it for the instant gratification. Inspired by combinations of blues seen in Indian dhurries, I used painter's tape to mark off the pattern and applied textile ink with a sponge (results sewn into a pillow, shown at top).  The Long Thread offers a great roundup of tutorials related to practical aspects of painting, stenciling and dip-dying fabric. And Martha offers a basic fringe refresher here. (To make longer fringe, simply pull more threads.) After something more textural? Click here to read instructions for making a pillow with a striped flat-woven rug.

[The square pillows are Peter Dunham's Kashmir Paisley. Bench is covered in Dzhambul from Brunschwig & Fils.]

I'm tempted to paint a striped border on a lampshade, but with one existing homemade block-print pillow now accompanied by the larger stripes, I don't want to over-do the DIY elements in one room.

Different images of India crossed my path this morning when I previewed Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century at the High. Apart from two well-known pictures of Matisse with his textiles, Cartier-Bresson's photographs of the East were what I had to see first. On my initial sweep through the gift shop, I didn't spot a postcard reproduction of Tiruvannamalai, India, but I did leave with a striking portrait captured in a leafy, sub-tropical local: Truman Capote, New Orleans, 1947.

Loosely related past post: Looking Ahead: Delaunay Show to Open March 2011.


Designwali said...

thank you for this inspiring post. love your paisley cushion.

Janet said...

Stripes just look fresh and classic. They are timeless and global! Love the photos.

Terry said...

I've had blue stripe dreams ever since I saw a whole room in stripes at Sandler Hudson.

Style Court said...

Hi Designwali --

That fabric is Peter Dunham's Kashmir Paisley. A real fave!

Style Court said...

Terry --

Looking forward to checking out the link.

Janet --

Thought of you today while in the galleries.

kelleyp said...

think your project turned out wonderfully! i was just checking out the Martha site and i want to dip dye some pillows blue for the summer months. hope i can pull it off.

Style Court said...

Hi Kelley -- thanks so much!

Now I can see why Mary McDonald and Suzanne Rheinstein love to do striped floors :)

I'm crazy about the dip dye and also love the botanical sun print pillows in Martha's March issue.

Lj said...

I love blue... and stripes... and your style! I was wondering, what is the fabric you have on your ottoman? I think its perfect for a armchair I need to recover and it needs to go with... guess what? some blue stripes!

Thank you!

Style Court said...

Hi Lj!

Thamks. It's a linen from Brunschwig & Fils called Dzhambul. I've been so happy with it. Very forgiving and filled with great colors from the softest blue-green to bold reds. Hope that helps!

meenal @ maison marigold said...

Love your cushion project, Courtney.. they both turned out superb...and indigo is by far my favorite color for block printing!! That ottoman fabric is so versatile...I can see it working with a whole gamut of color schemes for the looks perfect in its present setting!!


Style Court said...

Meenal -- thank you!

I'm loving indigo more than ever. Both projects were fun. And yes the bench fabric has turned out to be really versatile.

Laura Casey Interiors said...

Stripes are such a classic and I love what you have shown! Your pillow project is fantastic and I love the authentic look of it.

Style Court said...

Thanks, Laura!

I think one of your former bosses is a big fan of striped floors, no?

My Dog-Eared Pages said...

Hi Courtney, Great job on your stripe fabric! I love the illustration from 'The Fraser Album'. Thank you for the heads-up re: Delaunay show. You might like this post I did a while back:
PS...The Capote postcard is wonderful!

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Courtney- Beautiful pillow! I am a stripes fan, too. What type of fabric paint did you use?

I just pulled an image you posted on your blog of Peter Dunham's Fig Leaf fabric for a post I just wrote: on my blog APPLESandRUBIES. I am enjoying your blog and a new follower!


Style Court said...

Barbara and Loretta --

Thanks for the kind words and the links.

Since this was a casual experiment, I started with economical Jacquard paint/ink. Worked very nicely with both linen and cotton.

Tokyo Jinja said...

Wow, you have been busy! The striped pillow came out fantastically well and the color variance and stripe pattern capture the dhurrie feel perfectly!

Style Court said...

TJ --

Appreciate it! I know you love dhurries, too.