If my friends ever want to blackmail me, all they'll have to do is whip out some pictures of the dreadful handmade presents I used to give them. But in the right hands homemade objects are the very thing that can bring a hard-to-achieve charm and soul to a room. I've asked some designers and artists to share their thoughts on handmade gifts -- when to give and what not to give -- so you'll read their ideas in the next few days. In the meantime, I'm posting a little more vintage Parish-Hadley. (Keep in mind the pictures are from the 60s when diverse movements were taking place -- a passion for Mod hues along with a renewed interest in Americana, just to name two.)
You may remember that Sister Parish and Albert Hadley championed American crafts. Sister commissioned the Freedom Quilting Bee in Alabama to create a patchwork fabric that could be used for interior design, and Parish-Hadley was known for upholstering wing chairs and sofas with quilts.
In 1968, House Beautiful sang the praises of quilting. Editors Lois Bohlig and Richard Fitzgerald said, "Patchwork is a needlewoman's poetry. Rhythmic in design, with rhyming colors."
The magazine story explained that the making of patchwork quilts was having a revival: "With less need and more leisure for such needlework, women are rediscovering its pleasures...there is now a fine liberty not known in earlier days. The difference is color. The enormous choice available. The freedom to create non-traditional combinations, to deal with color adventurously, as fashion designers do, as interior decorators do. Exhilarating!"
Projects -- indeed very groovy, very colorful projects -- from the design studio of Parish-Hadley were used to illustrate the feature. Three less time-consuming projects were included as "a quicker kin-to-patchwork." One was a bench covered with grosgrain ribbon pieced together on the diagonal. I think that idea is still pretty interesting. A pillow made with grosgrain was also highlighted. And I had to do a double-take with the little footstool. Underneath the padded and piped wildflower material, a cluster of tin cans were secured together forming the base.
Interestingly, Smythson's luxe version of a sewing box is currently generating buzz. Even Vogue is talking about needles and thread.
Related past post: Craft and High Style
Thanks to Holly Goes Lightly for reminding me to add this great link about the upcoming book, Sister Parish Design: On Decorating!