Sunday, April 29, 2012

Two blues and two greens

These are samples from the Dargate c. 1830.

Classic blue/white indigo designs could be printed by resist or discharge at this time.  These more colorful designs required a few extra steps!

In the first example, a resist paste was applied to the design area before the first dye bath. If the resist is removed from a part of the leaf and the yardage re would have a pale blue leaf where the resist was removed on the dark indigo background. If you remove more of the resist paste from the leaves and re dye again...'two blue' leaves on a dark background.

Now if you remove more resist from the tips of the 'to be green leaves' and add a protective resist over the leaves you want to remain '2 blues' and then process in a yellow dye wll also get leaves with 'two greens' and yellow tips. Because I can see the back of the fabric in the above example, I think the white was added in the final stage by discharge because the registration is perfect and the white area shows clearly on the back.

This second example required fewer steps. A resist paste was printed for the entire frond including berries at the base of the stem and the fabric is dyed in an indigo dye bath. Removing the leaf/stem resist for a second run through the indigo bath will give you a two blue design. If you now cover the right hand side of the frond with resist paste and dye the fabric yellow, you will have blue and green leaves with yellow stems.

Because once again I can see the back of the sample, I think the berries were also printed with resist initially. The final step would have been to remove that resist...revealing mainly white berries. These berries do not show through on the back of the fabric.

Because of the numerous steps required for these polychrome indigos, they were much more expensive than the basic blue/white indigo prints of the times.

Today was a Montana beautiful morning walking the dog. It was warm enough (45 degrees) for just a sweatshirt. The sun was shining, the sky a cornflower blue and the 4 surrounding mountain ranges plus the Horseshoe Hills to the northwest were all snow covered. Belle was more impressed with the dogs in the lease free area of Peet's Hill.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Western Wear

One of my favorite Vintage Images
I am preparing my final lecture for Apparel and Textiles. The topic is Menswear and Western Wear.  The Vintage Image to the left is one of my iconic Dude Ranch scene!

Western Wear or cowboy dress is recognized around the world as a symbol of the independence and strength of the people of the American West.  The Western style evolved from the environment and the traditions of the vaqueros. Those early Mexican cowboys worked in  thorny vegetation in a hot dry climate. Their leather leg coverings and a wide brim hat became the Levi jeans and Stetson hat of the American cowboy. The bandanna, a working man's kerchief, added shade for the neck and protection for the mouth and nose during dusty cattle drives.  Those cattle drives started around the end of the Civil War. Thousands of Texas longhorns were trailed north to Kansas City with its vast stockyards and rail head. Novels, movies and Wild West shows featured the clothing of the actual cowboy dolled up for dramatic appeal
Teddy Roosevelt's love of the Western lifestyle, the novel, The Virginian, by Owen Wister along with the illustrations by Frederick Remington for Harper's Weekly all polished the image of the American cowboy. Wealthy easterners began visiting working ranches in the 1920s and soon adopted the clothing of the wranglers: cowboy hats, western style shirts, blue jeans and boots.
Posters by the Union Pacific also helped to romanticize the image of the West...and encouraged middle class vacationers to ride the train to a dude ranch location.
My friend Patrica from the G-M Ranch in Clyde Park, MT has told me how her family got into the dude ranch business. In 1934, the railroad contacted the ranches around Big Timber Montana...offering to send them paying guests. At that time, the ranch had just one cabin, Patricia's in laws actually moved into the barn that summer so those first guests could stay in the cabin. The business has grown to numerous cabins and a lodge with a commerical kitchen but the guests still help with the ranch work and enjoy daily horse back rides.

ps The trip to Havre was a delight! The area has some great quilters.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

History of Chintz

I am scheduled for the 'premire' of my new lecture, History of Chintz, this coming Friday, April 20, 2012, in Havre, MT. The talk will be at the Holiday Village Community Center in Havre at 7 pm. It is free and open to the public. I am hoping some of you along the Hi line and southern Alberta or Saskatchewan might be able to come.

The illustration on the left is a corner in one of my Chintz Center Panels.

The heyday of the Center Panels is roughly 1820-1840. The bulk of my lecture leads up to this period. In reviewing my slides, I am amazed at how many early chintz pieces are predominately pink, red and blue. If I think of the colorfast natural dyes available at that time, 17th and 18th century, it does makes sense but I am always a little startled.

I had one of my students interview me last week for her writing class. One of the questions was 'Which Journals do you regularly read?'. I had to think for a minute..but did come up with some titles. I broughta several to the next class....and when handing them to her...I commented that most are a little dry and slow reading. I do however, try to read most selections because you never know just what you might find.
When I lecture about Europe and printed cottons of the 18th century...I always give the dates of the bans in France ( 1686-1759)  and England (1701-1774).  Importing of chintz and other cottons from India continued in Holland and printing for domestic use and export was done in the enclave of Marseilles.
My lecture talks about the various waves of Chinoiserie popular in England and France, the rise of Oberkampf at  Jouy after the ban was lifted in France and the classic Provencal designs. I recently read that Avignon, still a papal state until the French Revolution, was also exempt from the French fabric printing and wearing bans!

ps I will also be doing this presentation, History of Chintz, here in Bozeman on Friday night, August 17, 2012.  I hope you can come.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Strike off's

This week I received the strike off's of my new line, Divers 1863. This is the final stage before the 'button is pushed' and we have yardage! The screens, mesh of synthetic fibers or metal, are cut for rotary screen printing. ( 25 to 1,000 meters are printed per minute)
The example the 'header' on the Cottonopia page..and my favorite in the book, Divers 1863.

For the strike off...the screen is still flat...and placed over a yard of greige goods. ( possbile test question...The base cloth used for printing today's quilt fabric is called ______  _________. The final is coming soon, April 30!)

Each pattern is tested in the various colorways. At this point, I can not change a design element but I can request changes in coloration.

If you look carefully at the right hand edge of this can see a 'scalloped' edge from the screen. I hardly noticed it...too busy assessing the color.

I am always startled to see the particular edge. I forget the screens are not joined with a hard line...but more of a 'feathered' edge.

Goods will be available mid/late May. These patterns are 'to scale'. Document colors featured for this issue of Cottonopia. This is typical of fabrics being printed in France ( Mulhouse area) during the American Civil War.

I am trying to make my Apparel and Textiles class relevant for my students. Last week I began my lecture with a reference to a current controversy at Starbucks. I was delighted when my students knew about the 'pink color'.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

History of Hoodies

I am teaching 'Apparel and Textiles' here at Montana State University this spring. The first day back from break I talked about apparel in current events.....the Trayvon Martin case and hoodies.  
Hoodies were first made by Champion Apparel in the 1930s for men working in unheated warehouses( produce, fish, etc)  in New York City. They were picked up as 'street wear' by the hip hop artists of the 1970s.  Both Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren starting offering hoodies in their sportswear lines in the 1990s. Now they are ubiquitous....from Target and Macy's to men and women's high end clothing catalogs.

In class we have been discussing the three theories of Fashion Adoption....downward, upward and horizontal. A good test question for the final exam...which theories apply?