Sunday, July 25, 2010

Lightning press

In 1847, The Philadelphia Public Ledger installed the new high speed rotary 'lightning' press. It made the all those slow flatbed presses outdated and opened up a new market--cheap paper!

By the 9th century, Arabs were making high quality paper from recycled rags with additional fibers of of linen and cotton. This rag paper was still the standard paper in the 19th century with mainly linen fibers being added to the broken down rags. It was relatively expensive.

In the 1840s producers in Germany began mechanically breaking down 'scraps' from the timber industry to create a paper product. It was this pulp paper that would supply the demand for newsprint.

The use of the 19th century rag paper ( archival, non acidic) in my fabric sample ledgers has helped to preserve the vibrant colors of the fabric samples!

Ahead by a nose--Abby paddling with Ron at Hyalite--south of Bozeman.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Saved List

Under the "Dancing in Beauty" tab on the website for Identity by Design discussed last week, there is mention of 'saved list' wool used in the c. 1890 Kiowa headdress as well as a rainbow list on the sleeve of a beautiful comtemporary Kiowa dress.

I have always found this term intriguing.' List' refers to selvedge--the edge of the fabric which is more tightly woven than the body to prevent fraying. It was often of another fiber and could be coarser than the center of the cloth. 'Saved list' means the list or selvedge kept white during the wool dying process. It was encased by folding a piece of webbing lengthwise and whip stitching it securely in place. This prevented the coarser, more absorbant selvedge fibers from taking up the expensive the dye stuffs. 

The edge was usually discarded in European garments but was much admired by the North American Indians during the Fur Trade Era and even afterwards during the Reservation period.  It was often used decoratively at the side, bottom or on the sleeves.

The photo below is of two different pieces of saved list--one indigo the other scarlet, side by side.

This is a picture of me holding a beautiful beaver pelt given to me by my husband as a wedding present 43 years ago. He had trapped and prepared the pelt. I was delighted with the gift but did not have a clue I would be using it as part of my Furs on a Stick lecture! This picture was taken last fall in Minneapolis.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Washinton DC to Butte Montana

In 2007 I had the good fortune to visit the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC. "Identity by Design" was on display.

It was wonderful! Here is the link to information about the display.There is a 'catalog' for the exhibit--"Identity by Design, tradition, change and celebration in native women's dresses", edited my Emil Her Many Horses.
This weekend we went to Butte for the National Folk Festival. This is the first time in 30+ years it has been held west of the Mississippi. Butte, America as it is known was the right venue for the western option. More than 100,000 attended. (Butte is unique. Many different nationalities arrive late in the 19th century to work in the mines and smelters. It was involved in the Labor Movement in America and has a very very colorful past!)

This was one of 6 simultaneous performances--Tony Ballog and Roma Nota. They were amazing!!
In the First Peoples' Marketplace I had the opportunity to see Mary Lou Big Day's traditional Crow
. I spoke with Mary Lou and she proudly told me she has received two national awards for her dolls. We also talked about the Crow Reservation (nearby  in Montana), the view from her home and how she goes about crafting her dolls.

If you can get the book/catalog of Identity by Design through Amazon or on inter library loan, I know you would enjoy it. And if you get a chance to see Mary Lou's dolls, she will be in Santa Fe soon, you will be enchanted!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stifel Calicoworks

was established in Wheeling, WV ( my hometown) in 1835. Their principal production was indigo dyed prints and drills. The heavier weight drills were used mainly by clothing manufacturers.
The goods, know locally as West Virginia calico, were sold through the Sears, Roebuck and company catalog and internationally to Latin America, India, the Philippines, Canada and West Africa. Whenever I see old indigo blocks and tops, I am always turning them over looking for the Stifel logo on the back.

On July 4th we ran the zipline at Big Sky, MT for an adventure! Equipment check and then---just step off :) It was very much fun!!