Style Court

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


Textile Scout™: Cistanthe

Riotous hand-painted florals, orderly embroidered botanicals, and the looser, abstract patterns created by old hand-dying methods: Bailey Hunter appreciates it all. With a clear passion for India's rich tradition of textile design and production, Hunter explains, "I'm drawn to the idea of using elements from historic costume and textiles and recreating them in a modern way in the same regions, and with the same techniques of the originals."

[Images courtesy Cistanthe.]

Looking back to 18th-century Coromandel Coast chintzes, Mughal-era embroideries and Gandhi's interest in hand-spun khadi, Hunter's initiative, Cistanthe, works with women on the subcontinent to produce organic cottons and silks -- these painted and block-printed florals as well as crisper butah-strewn fabrics and solids.

[Hand-embroidered mint leaves on khadi.]

In New York, the textiles are stitched into clothes, the contemporary made-to-order pieces for which Hunter is known.

But if you're thinking you'd like to get your hands on the fair trade fabrics for a personal project -- pillows, curtains, or maybe a footstool? -- prints and solids can be bought by the meter. (They are attainably priced, too, with naturally-dyed painted cottons and silks currently ranging from $35 to $60.) Pictured directly above is an example of Cistanthe's silk tussah. A bit sheer and less smooth than the cotton, it's better suited to curtains than upholstery.

[More dreamy texture: a detail of Cistanthe's hand-spun khadi.]

[Birds among flowers on a soft ivory ground.]

Other options should soon be posted over at Cistanthe online, so visit repeatedly in November. And Hunter says more textiles are on the way toward the very end of the year. In the meantime, Cistanthe inspires and delights here.

BTW, textile designer Kevin O'Brien, also fascinated by the history of cross-cultural exchange, will be at The Met Friday, November 8th from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to lead a tour through the exhibition we've been talking about for weeks, Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500–1800. Limited to 25 visitors, the tour offers a chance to see the show through another designer's eyes.


quintessence said...

Was thinking of you Courtney on Friday when I saw the exhibit - wonderful!!

Style Court said...

Wish I'd been with you! Thanks for thinking of me.