Style Court

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


Now and Then

[Ellisha Alexina's Piey in Indigo] 
The reference to old Turkish motifs is unmistakable (at least to fans of stylized 17th- and 18th-century Ottoman florals typically found in embroideries), but Ellisha Alexina's handprinted textile designs have a fluid, dreamlike quality that makes them distinctly fresh.

[Rajah in elderberry also by Ellisha Alexina]

This looser, painterly feel makes sense because Alexina, based in Easthampton, Massachusetts, started as a painter and then became immersed in textiles at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

[Detail of embroidered cover, Istanbul, 16th/early 17th century. Textile Museum 1.22. 
Acquired by George Hewitt Myers.] 

Although this previously posted antique piece, above, is tighter in style and much more boldly colored than Alexina's work (softness is her hallmark), its design with serrated carnations and iconic Ottoman tulips reveals similarities. According to the Textile Museum, which by the way reopens in March, Ottomans had specific tulip standards. Almond shape was de rigueur, and the flowers were often rendered with super-long, sharp, serrated petals. Lale Devri (the Ottoman Empire's Tulip Period) ignited a craze for real tulips -- the rarer the better -- in gardens and indoor rooms, and depictions of tulips for textile designs remained very much in vogue until the flower was usurped by the rose in the late 18th and 19th centuries. For details, the mircosite for Flowers of Silk and Gold: Four Centuries of Ottoman Embroidery is still available but at a new home.


Unknown said...

Thank you for the feature. You have a beautiful blog! I'm so glad to see my inspiration next to the designs!

Unknown said...
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Anonymous said...

These look like lovely textiles. I am sure I am not the only one to see the extreme likeness to Fortuny; the multi-layered gorgeous textiles coming from the very old Venetian company!

Brava! I can't wait to see them in person!