Style Court

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



[Image is from Fleur Wood's Food, Fashion, Friends.]
Were the chair's woven, serpentine sides designed specifically to have limbs draped over them? Art historians can't say for certain. But while researching this story for Off Duty, I did learn a bit about what the scholars do know to be true of Southeast Asian-style peacock chairs -- and why interior designers including Tom Scheerer like the not-so-shy seats. (I also think I inadvertently frightened the cable guy who saw splashed across my computer screen a shocking number of celebs perched in peacocks, as I worked on my piece.)

If you're drawn to them too, check out the WSJ this weekend, in print or online. Btw, the great shot above is by Chris Court from Sibella Court's latest book, Gypsy.  


Channeling Joni

One day while emailing back and forth about some decorating-related topic, L.A.-based Schuyler Samperton and I realized we'd both recently watched this really magical documentary about Joni Mitchell's music.    

Her songwriting, her voice and her life story totally captivated us, of course, but Schuyler added that she also couldn't stop thinking about Joni's clothes. So I asked the talented Ms. Samperton if she would share a few pairings -- pull textiles related to Joni's 1960s and 70s outfits.

[Schuyler, also a guitar-playing California blonde, photographed by Coleen Rider.]

Demonstrating her eye for detail, Schuyler made wonderfully less expected comparisons -- table linens, fabrics, antique textiles. I wish I could've formatted everything in an interactive, multi-media presentation complete with background tunes, but I can't afford the song rights. For the next best experience, download some vintage Joni and start scrolling...

[Unless captioned otherwise, Schuyler pulled all publicity stills of Joni from Google.]

First, let's look at the embroidery.

From Vaughan Designs, hand-embroidered linens: Hydra and Ios.

And, below, a 19th-century Chamba coverlet, made in northern India, and currently among the offerings at Sarajo.  

Now to the menswear-inspired goods.

[Mitchell arriving in England with Graham Nash.]

Schuyler favored Holland & Sherry County Tweeds and a Third Phase Chief's Blanket from Shiprock Gallery.

As indigo girl.

For this mood, Schuyler picked Ralph Lauren's Hampton Beach Jute, an antique Indonesian cloth, and an old Burmese stripe. The latter two textiles are both from Sarajo.

[Via Pinterest]

Joni and iconic Missoni? Yes please.

Lastly, one of Joni's quintessentially soft looks: pink crochet interpreted by Schuyler with a vintage, naturally hand-dyed grey table runner and Ralph's Sunbaked Linen in pink.


Still Blue

[Details followed by full view of non-perishable goods' pillows.]

More blues today, both finds and resources. First, Indonesian blues in the form of vintage, handwoven ikat sarongs re-imagined as pillows by Portland, Oregon-based non-perishable goods. (This textile studio tends to have a strong assortment of exceptionally long pillows, like pieces made from Mexican serapes, with plenty of visual punch to stand alone on a sofa or bed.) Picking up on the pinkish hues woven in with the indigos, Shay Carrillo, the creative force behind the studio, offers this particular pillow backed with mauve linen -- or grey, if you prefer -- and optional rose pom fringe.

[Toraja people: late 19th-early 20th century Rongkong district Sulawesi Indonesia; cotton, warp ikat; National Gallery of Australia.] 

Nearly 300 antique Indonesian ikats and scores more Indonesian textiles in general can be explored over at the National Gallery of Australia's microsite. I've mentioned the resource before but today it warrants a reminder. The Sari to Sarong site is still accessible, too.

Speaking of global vintage and antique textiles, specialist Molly Hogg is curating the entryway display at The Decorative Antiques & Textile Fair opening in London April 29. Her theme is Textiles as Art, when cloth is better off on the wall.

Related past post: Follow-up Finds.


Slice of Life

This little tidbit should come as great news to readers in the UK but Matisse fans everywhere else will have to be patient: Tickets are now on sale for Matisse Live from Tate Modern, a special 90-minute film to be broadcast in theaters (cinemas, if you prefer the regional parlance) throughout Britain and Northern Ireland on June 3rd. The screening will offer viewers a virtual tour of Tate's monumental exhibition, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs, but also provide a peek at the mounting of the museum's new show and a look at less frequently seen footage of the artist in his studio.

If similar happenings are planned by MoMA, when the show travels to NYC in the fall, I'll keep you posted.

Shown above is the hardcover exhibition catalog sold by Tate with the iconic Blue Nude on the front; the book should become available in the U.S. end of May

Hands On

Alive with energy, Mary Mulcahy's new designHailey Indigo, is blanketed with sunburst-like, flower-ish forms.

Part of her latest Traditional Kalamkari collection, this cotton print's sense of movement seems fitting because Mulcahy says that the line is all about human energy, from the hands that carve the printing blocks based on her original designs to the feet that pedal the sewing machines. Another of the physically demanding steps involved in creating Kalamkari is the fabric softening: in keeping with age-old Indian techniques, naturally sun-bleached cloth is beaten with rocks, boiled and dried all before printing begins. (BTW: The results are highlighted in a beautifully-styled hardcover catalog available to the public for $15.)

Flipping through the pages, longtime fans of Mulcahy's artisan textile house, Les Indiennes, will notice that the designer has expanded her repertoire.

[Click to see full screen view. Images courtesy Les Indiennes.]

In the past, she's stuck with monochromes -- one color on pale, naturally bleached grounds -- but her kalamkaris combine multiple hues on darker antiqued grounds. The look is very much rooted in historic Indian styles. Cases in point: Therese, with its lineup of leaf-like shapes known as "boteh" or "buta" in India but more commonly called paisley in the West, as well as her intricately bordered Julia.

Rich red and indigo dominate the dense floral, Bianca, pictured below. 

Besides this tangle of stylized blossoms, or the flock of birds flying across another print (appropriately named Birds), Mulcahy writes that she sees something less literal in the patterns: the skill of her master craftsman and business partner, Srinivas Pitchuka. So the latest line, more than any other perhaps, is her ode to him.

In total, the team has produced 24 prints, several to be available in multiple colorways, Find more of the offerings, including tablecloths, napkins, quilts and pillows, here.


Up Next: Kalamkaris

[Photo my own]

Sneak a peek at one of the fabrics from designer Mary Mulcahy's latest adventure: Hailey Indigo, a traditionally handcrafted kalamkari by her boutique textile company, Les Indiennes. Later this week we'll explore the collection. In the meantime, revisit a few antique kalamkaris at The Met online.


More Lines on the Horizon

[My own inspiration board. All Navajo textiles via the de Young: from the left Serape, ca. 1865; Serape, ca. 1850; Poncho serape, ca. 1830. Vogue images shot by Mikael Jansson, February 2014 issue.]

From Paris to San Francisco, Native American style is in the spotlight right now.

Indiens des Plaines continues through July at Musée du quai Branly and, as mentioned here back in February, the de Young's exhibition, Lines on the Horizon, debuts in roughly two weeks.

So the catalogue is now available for pre-order online. And beginning this week, special related talks with curators and visiting textile experts are happening. At the de Young, expect to see mid- to late- 19th-century and 20th-century Navajo textiles as well as Plains ledger drawings and Native American ceramics. This show will run through January 4, 2015.


Compare and Contrast

[Skirt cloth, silk embroidered with silk thread, Kutch, Gujurat, circa 1880 ©Victoria & Albert Museum.]

Scattered with a regiment of peacocks, this late-19th-century embroidered silk originally appeared in my "Adjustment Bureau Headboard" post. Maybe the stylized feathered creatures and characteristically Kutch border make it most memorable. Or maybe it's the rich combination of colors.

Either way, I thought about the antique when I came across this: new to John Robshaw's Souk is an embroidered pillow with a similar look. The ground color is purple, so the orange threads outlining the peacock cousins really vibrate against it.

For more on Indian embroidery, check out V & A curator Rosemary Crill's book.


Follow Up Finds

Following up on the post about posters (Matisse posters, specifically), here's a peek at some of the ceramics commissioned by Tate for the museum's gift shop wares offered in conjunction with the much-anticipated show, Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs. Color is primarily what links the new pieces to the 20th century master. Sue Ure's orange bowl, pictured above, is characterized by softly gradated shades of orange.

To me, these gradations recall the hand-painting on Matisse's scissor-sculpted forms.

But the color-blocked Jansen + Co. mugs suggest Matisse's famous juxtapositions, notably green with blue and pink with orange.

 [From TASCHEN's Henri Matisse: Cut-Outs- Drawing With Scissors.]