All cultures mark the boundarybetween life and death with imitative rituals. Dolls are familiar

figures in funerals across time. The tombs of the

ancient dead are filled with effigies whose

assumed purpose ranges from the talismanic

to the admonitory. Children use dolls to play at death, mimicking grief and burial. Dolls, indeed, look like death. It is not just that in them we find an appropriate figure for our mourning, but, in their cold imperturbability, they seem like corpses themselves. The doll-corpse link is explored in Andrew

Köötting's playful and serious project, In theWake of

a Dead Dad, 2006. Intrigued by his reaction to his

father's corpse and memory, Köötting reinvented sev

eral imitative rituals, which included inviting responses to photographs of his dad in stages of life and death; laying himself out as mock-corpse and paternal offering in the Mexican Day-of-the-Dead; and creating an enormous inflatable Dead Dad doll with which he lived and travelled for several months. With a different sort of wit and tenderness, Tabitha

Kyoko Moses also explores the humanity and deathliness

of dolls. Over the past few years, Moses has amassed an

eclectic assortment of doll-objects from charity shops and jumble sales. “I wasn't interested in a particular genre of

doll,” she says, “or in creating a collection or a history. But

suddenly I discovered I had a lot of them. It was almost as if

they found me.” The dolls that ‘found’ Moses are those that

are most lost: blemished or dismembered, loved or tortured to the point of collapse. Inspired by a mummified girl she encountered during a residence at Bolton Museum, Moses initially began to re-fashion the dolls as consolatory gifts for this long-dead and lonely child. But her dolls began to take on a material life of their own. In a process of wrapping and nurturing she compares to “laying out a dead body” Moses

swaddles her dolls in lagging, plastic, printed cotton lawn,

stiff leather, string and human hair. A doll whose jolly bon

net and rosy cheeks form a startling contrast to her eye's

bald sockets is fondly adorned with a manx-cat brooch, suggesting both completion and absence. Some of the dolls have the cosy air of children sleeping. Others appear to be slightly disgruntled, futilely struggling against the fabric bundles in which they find themselves enclosed. The fabric wrappings are crucial to the new life that Moses lends her dolls. These textiles are both ornament and

container: the dolls' soft coffin and their decorative memori

al. Moses binds a startled bride wearing full wedding regalia

Ben Blackall

in dark linen. In her black shroud she becomes a figure of arrested potential, conveying the ritual proximity of marriage

and death. Moses further excavates the deathliness of dolls

with the use of x-ray photography. A light-box image of the

bride reveals her to be pierced with several pins. She now

resonates with murderous curiosity, internal anguish, guilt and fascination. For who, in moments of dark childhood fantasy, has not killed their dolls? InUntitled, 2006 Moses uses stitch as a communicative medium between life and death. These dismembered limbs, with their immaculate embroidery, are textiles of breathtaking beauty. Yet out of the

gorgeous doll-things protrude ugly human bones. Doll

and corpse become one in objects that are both

compelling and repellent. Moses' embroidered

calico, fashioned with such skill and care, lends respect and tenderness to the bone, and the bone in turn enhances the meanings of the fabric with its own brand of the grotesque. In contrast to Cindy Sherman's doll-art which, in the public glare of her camera, strives unsuccessfully to be poignant as well as disgusting, Moses' dolls achieve this by

expressing themselves intimately, stitching their

audience up with whispers.•••Kate Davies




Wallpaper / pattern, pattern / wallpaper – like the

chicken and the egg, you can't have one without the other – well you can but stencilling is currently a prisonable offence. In many ways the revival of wallpaper is also a revival of pattern. The current resurgence follows a design period noted for its clean lines and surfaces and avoidance of overt decoration; most textile designs in the 1980s were a pared down reflection of classical themes. Graduating in the mid 80s it was

almost impossible to sell a decorative design in the UK;

Europeans, especially the Italians were a little more

receptive. The contrast today could not be more striking: pattern prevails in fast moving fashion and design trends and consumers are confident using patterned wallpaper to create an individual style. Perhaps it was the dawn of a new millennium or a desire to bring nature inside and embrace its reassuring qualities? There are parallels in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau periods when nature played an

important part in creating new aesthetic content and

repeat structures. The desire to represent nature and

imbue interiors with the 'feel' of the outdoors is best communicated by wallpaper where the pattern can be seen in full, rather than hidden in the folds of draped fabric; as a result wallpaper has become a vehicle for designers from all creative disciplines. The ‘paper’ side of wallpaper is often overlooked yet part of wallpaper’s beauty is the quality of the printed image; paper provides a crisp and fresh edge and

allows inks to shine and reflect light. The same print on

fabric would look different. Of course wallpaper began

life mimicking fabric, but today wallpapers are about the feel and look of paper, its graphic and 'stationary' attributes. There are other advantages too, the costs of

creating a collection of designs is reduced by working

on paper rather than cloth. Arguably paper also grants designers a greater sense of freedom, encouraging experimentation. We are so used to paper coming in rolls with a standard width of 52cm to the new wide width papers, up to 135cm, pioneered by designers such as Timorous Beasties that it’s easy to forget that the first humble wallpapers were block printed onto small

squares. These were painstakingly stuck together to

create 'wallpaper' and sold through stationery shops

that also sold writing paper and music scores. It wasn't until developments in the paper industry led to continuous paper that the roll of wallpaper was born. The first commercially printed papers were made by highly skilled craftsmen who hand carved patterns onto wooden (often pear wood) blocks. Block printing was valued for the depth and body of colour; William Morris so valued the craft that he chose to continue

long after the arrival of machine printing. The surface

print machine (patented by the Lancashire firm Potters

and Rose in 1839) combined with the invention of continuous paper heralded a new era for wallpaper manufacture. By 1850 the surface printer was capable of printing perfectly registered patterns in up to eight colours. This was the beginning of affordable wallpaper; produced in high volumes in an enormous range of designs – as the huge pattern books of the time demonstrate.

The period from the end of the Second World War

to the mid-1970s was a high point for wallpapers.

The invention of screen printing techniques offered larger repeat sizes and textural effects. Innovative styles combined with radical architecture changed the

way wallpaper was used – the feature wall and open

plan living spaces were introduced. The Festival of

Britain showcased many of these contemporary

designs. Cole & Son set up one of the first ever screen printing studios in the late 1940s. One of the most impressive collections of the period was Palladio, in production from 1955-1975. It featured work by designers such as Lucienne Day, Deryck Healey and Roger and Richard Nicholson. Nevertheless the technique could accomodate only a small percentage of buyers. The larger market

bought mass-produced wallpapers. The introduction

of Photogravure and Flexographic printing in the

1960s saw volumes increase further. The high definition engraving techniques of Gravure and Flexo printing produced fine washes and tones; initially on vinyl. The new process met a rapidly increasing demand for wallpaper. In 1961 132 million rolls of wallpaper were sold, compared to 44 million in 1948. Collections were expanding, many contained over 50 designs with co-ordinating fabrics and plains.

The earlier innovative designs of this period were

soon overshadowed and diluted by mass production.

The lower end of the market was 'manufacturing' rather than 'design' led and collections were reduced to traditional small scale prints. Wallpaper became a


In 1986 Dries Van Noten touched downon the fashion runways of London presenting himself as the most user friendly of an elite class of graduates known as the ‘Antwerp Six’. This band of edgy young alumni from the Belgian Royal Academy of Fine Arts swooped into a jaded scene ripe for revolution. Enthusiasm for excessively wadded shoulders and super-sized

gilt buttons was waning and a counter trend emerged that signified

sobriety and intellectual muscle, rather than unlimited access to cash. The

sombre palettes and Hiroshima referent ‘bag lady’ aesthetic of an

advancing Japanese avant-garde provided fertile ground for the Antwerp designers to explore their inquisitional and de-constructionist methods. Unlike the severe work of his stable-mates Anne Demeulemeester and Dirk Bikkembergs, Dries Van Noten’s design embodied the more approach

able aspect of this new trend which, reasonably enough earned him a loyal following. Van Noten established a reputation for clothing that reflects clients cultural sensibilities; they in return recognise the historical and cultural references in Van Noten’s work and hold in high regard the labour of mind and body evident in its construction. To dress in Van Noten is to be

enveloped in an eclectic vision of sophisticated bohemia. Generally speak

ing the Van Noten ‘look’ is layered, relaxed and colourful. When put togeth

er with the confidence required to drive this loose limbed, rather languid

style, the result is assured and intelligent sexiness. Van Noten is inspired by the “beautiful things of this world” and aims to create clothes that will become a “mark of self esteem to the person who wears them”. In much of Van Noten’s design there is a strong relationship

with the aesthetic of Fin de Sièècle Orientalism. His use of luxurious and

abundant surface enrichment combined with informal styling reflects the

louche elegance of theatrically inspired designers of the early 20th century.

Avant-garde design of this period was concerned with more than just dress

ing bodies, designers such as Paul Poiret considered themselves artists. Van Noten’s surfaces are concentrated and intense, never thin or mean: in previous collections garments have been dyed, embroidered, dyed again then further embellished. The S/S 2008 collection moves away from Van Noten’s tradmark of embellishing materials into submission and instead loads printed blooms onto fine, summer breeze fabrics. If it is possible to remember a time when the quintessential English

garden vibrated with glorious colour and brilliant sunshine; then this collection

is the perfect illustration of that memory. Van Noten has chosen the most

exuberant of printed flora and arranged them into an artful cocktail of

pattern and vivid colour. A simple formula of progressively decreased trouser lengths, semi-fitted collared blouses, smart coats and wrapped tops forms the structure. Thrills are provided by the skillful gathering of large scale motifs reminiscent of painterly vintage prints and delicate, precise

oriental blossoms. A graphic flourish of Scandanavian pragmatism and

blocks of solid but luxuriously sumptuous semi-precious colour completes

this carefully contolled explosion.

Blues head the Van Noten bill: watered ultramarine, deep prussian and

polished cobalt all take leading roles supported by co-stars crocus yellow, bone, ginger, carmine and wisteria. Of course it has not been forgotten that the core colour of any garden is green and so this flowerfest is anchored with shades of bud, surf, fern and pale olive. The pinnacle of this summer delight is that these prints adorn in multiples. It sounds like a migraine but Van Noten has become so deft at combining colour and pattern it is possible to sport five different prints by

wearing just two pieces. As with his fellow print placement supremos

Jonathan Saunders and Eley Kishimoto, Van Noten is deliberate and considered

when it comes to positioning motifs and colour. Each element of the design

is placed exactly within the composition of the garment so that visual harmony is achieved and cluttered chaos is avoided. The level of visual and sensual fluency required to successfully mix these ingredients is testament to Van Noten’s talent, knowledge and creativity. •••Nicola Donovan







Over the last 15 years,unlike some of our European counterparts, children’s clothing in the UK has been distinctly trend led with bright bubblegum colours and high fashion shapes dominating. There has been a loss of tradition, innocence and charm to the way children have been dressing. “Children’s clothes have become so much about logos and brash colours” says Fashion Director of Easy Living, Liz Thody “and like so much in our society there is no sense of longevity anymore.” Fortunately, fashion is fickle and a subversive element of small, individual makers have emerged

producing vintage inspired children’s clothing with a softer colour palette in kinder prettier styles using real

fabrics. “This change is definitely a backlash against the mass market. I also think that just as in the beau

ty industry, there are opportunities for small, niche brands to survive as people demand children’s clothes which are more original and quirky.” As Laura Ashley looked back to the Victorians for her children’s wear ranges of sprig print, pin-tucked dresses and frilly collared blouses, this generation are being informed by a previous era. “For forty something’s who were children in the early 60s, there is a nostalgia for the clothes they wore as children” says Thody. “It was also a time when women would not step out of the house without make- up and feeling the need to be well dressed.” Linda Mclean Fashion Director of Junior Magazine agrees “things that are coming through include pinafore dresses from the 60s, paisley’s from the 70s and batwing shapes from as

recently as the 80s.”

This reincarnation of the past is, however, a reinvention not a replication. A process of evolution has

occurred: the clothes embody the ‘essence’ of past looks rather than being faithful reproductions. As Thody reminisces “It is the quality of the details, the use of natural fabrics, hand-knits and the subtler colour palette that I remember about the clothes I wore as a child.” This sentiment is reflected in the




collections of the myriad online companies and individual labels that have emerged over the last couple of years. Surfing the websites, flicking through the brochures and visiting children’s boutiques in fashionable haunts, what you see is a plethora exquisitely charming prints, hand-knits, crocheted blankets, embroidery, appliquéé, rick rack braid and clothes that intentionally look skillfully home made. This may seem like a return to the stuff of traditional British children’s clothes from the era when children were seen and not heard and clothes were probably rather scratchy but although these clothes

reference picture books, fairy tales and the 1940s, they have a more casual, thrown together look – rather

than the stiff formality that ‘Nanny’ would have chosen.

Ex St Martin’s student Amynta Warde-Adam of Tulip and Nettle, started making children’s clothes because her son “didn’t want to wear a football strip and through a fascination with soliders’ uniforms decided he wanted to wear moleskin”. Her collection includes ‘hero’ breeches, ‘yum yum’ dresses, which are tied with Petersham ribbon, floral smocks, and gingham bloomers often with generous trimmings of original vintage ribbons called ‘anorak braid’ and ‘daisy trim’ that Warde-Adam picked up from a very old fashioned local supplier when it shut down. The collection is a real trip down memory lane to the days when nursery school was still all about nature tables and finger painting.

A more recently established company is Wintersweet, set up by textile designer Rebecca

Loxley who motivated by her “concern for the loss of traditional textiles used in everyday life in

the UK” created a collection of matinéée jackets, booties and fine cobweb shawls that is hand knitted in South America. This emphasis on traditional textiles is also an enduring theme for Eva Karayiannis, who established Caramel Baby and Child nine years ago. Karayiannis came from Greece to this






Julie includes writer and illustrator Edward Gorey in her list of inspirations and although it would be going too far to say her work contains his level of black humour, there are

frequent hints of soft grey and melancholic blue. Of course this merely adds the contrast

necessary to give both her work, and her home, depth and interest – the full glare of a

sunbeam can strain your eyes.

The house is such a true reflection of Julie that it almost come as a shock to find she shares the space with her husband, Douglas Bevans, an illustrator and Head of Printmaking at Central Saint Martins. Living with the little people may come naturally to Julie but how does he feel about it? Happily he claims to share “her passion for making and collecting”. These days bareness, simplicity, monochromatic colour schemes – reduction in general – are all too often accepted as visual shorthand for peace and calm. We are quick to dismiss vibrant, decorative interiors as fussy and stifling. Yet repose can be found in an

English country garden as well as a Japanese courtyard. Julie’s house with its abundant

textures and patterns is the equivalent of a Gertrude Jekyll masterpiece, it greets visitors

with a wonderful sense of creativity and leaves them inspired. •••Beth Smith ‘Julie Arkell Spring Rabbit Workshop’, Sunday 30 March, 11-5. Loop, 41 Cross Street, London N1 2BB T: 020 7288 1160. Call to book, £110. Papier mââchéé doll made by Julie will be supplied. Basic knitting skills needed. Julie Arkell, Home, £16 is available from the Selvedge bookshop.


INDULGEtextiles to buy, collect or simply admire

14 To the letter Make a note of these ripping paper products

17 Easter treats 25% off gorgeous guilt free gifts

34 Play house Set up home with small scale prints

INDUSTRY from craft to commerce

30 Peel back Jocelyn Warner is stuck on wallpaper

51 Drawn inNew developments in fashion illustration

79 Design fileA case study of Marianne Straub’s classic textiles

ANECDOTEtextiles that touch our lives

65 Playroom Delve into the world of dolls and doll making in our 15 page section

CONCEPTtextiles in fine art

19 Reading between the lines Judith Solodkin’s art books

20 Worker bee Artist Tara Donovan is a one woman hive of industry

24 Paperweight The precious cloth of shifu weaver Hiroko Karuno

ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends

48 The clash Dries Van Noten gathers the bright and the beautiful

47 Permanent marker Sasha Duerr hopes to make a lasting change

56 Dress up The state of play in children’s fashion

COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed

28 The ultimate wallflowers Decorative flights of fancy were all the rage in the 1930s

41 Paper doll Julie Arkell’s home-made house

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