Style Court

Textiles, Art History, Gardens, and a Little Mental Traveling with Courtney Barnes 2006-2016


Material World

[All textiles and images in this post from Susan Hull Walker.]

Since Gandhi's enthusiasm for craft came up in yesterday's post, I couldn't resist highlighting a few Indian pieces from Charleston, South Carolina-based Susan Hull Walker's boutique. For Susan, textiles represent a kind of visual literature -- historically a way women, in particular, shared stories. She buys and sells vintage cloth, but she's also passionate about the new stuff. It's the latter that enables women around the world to become economically self-sufficient.

This Tree of Life panel continues the ancient Indian Kalamkari method. A kalam is a bamboo pen traditionally used to "paint" dyes on fabric (see an illustration here),  so the term kalamkari has also become synonymous with hand-painted textiles. To do an SAT-style analogy, think kalam is to kalamkari as suzan (literally meaning needle) is to suzani.

Susan's eye for nuanced color comes through in all of her choices, old or contemporary. Above, a detail of a vintage hand-stitched kantha border.

The rich purple embroidery and shimmery mirrorwork on this old silk stand out against the more muted background. Susan gave the piece new life as a pillow.

Now, let your imagination run wild: sari trim sold by the roll. Pillows? Curtain border? Ottoman trim?

And speaking of borders, check out the detailing on this little skirt from Nagaland.


roni said...

love...image of the sari trim in markets in Delhi and the
overwhelming chaos is addictive.

tokyojinja said...

I really liked the etymology lesson! And I bought some vintage sari trim recently and am having trouble stopping - its addictive!