43 attire

3 inform



The fear, excitement and thrill of the unknown.

Stranger danger takes on a whole new meaning at a masked ball, where the freedom to look and be looked at without constraint lies in a flimsy construction of papier-mache. Dressing up in the 21st century is usually seen as something for children. Type fancy dress into a search engine and you will be inundated with sites selling fairy wings, novelty wigs and plastic fangs. Halloween, that ancient Celtic festival, a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest and the spirits closest, has been transmuted into a sweetie fuelled frenzy of consumerism in costume – cute but not quite up to the original task of placating or frightening nearby malevolent spirits. Halloween is the most popular party occasion after Christmas and New Year so clearly adults are keen to join in the fun – but what draws grown-ups to fancy dress? The briefest glance at the skimpy mermaid, nurse or Snow White outfits reveals that they are definitely not doing it for the kids. Child psychologists advocate dressing up as a way to encourage creativity: “play about kings, clowns, fairies or witches encourages children to express their feelings, interact and engage each other in rich converPhoto credit here

Disney would frown on, she is also trying out roles denied her in everyday life. Freedom is an intrinsic part of fancy dress but the distance from liberty to libertine is a short one. Carnival has religious roots and the elaborate costumed pagents or masques of European Royalty during the Renaissance reinforced sovereign authority, impressed visiting dignitaries and served the political agenda of the day. At the same time masks, costumes and disguises have always unnerved authorities who understood their links to scandal and unrest. In Venice masks were legislated against as early as 1268 and continued to be subject to sanctions for the next four hundred years. In England puritan preacher George Swinnock (1627-1673) warned that “sin goes in a disguise” but the idea that fancy dress was tinged with moral danger simply increased its deliciousness. The influence of the Italian Carnival, which peaked in Venice in the 1700s, resurfaced in London where the craze for masquerades defined what historian Terry Castle called the “age of scandal” and others refered to as "The World Upside-Down". The basic ingredients of an 18th-century masked ball, gambling, drinking and dancing, were enough to attract censure: add to that mix the fact that many of these gatherings were public events to which access was gained by subscription rather than invitation

(or as Eliza Haywood calls them in her monthly periodical The Female Spectator “mercenary places of resort, where all, without distinction, are admitted”) and you have, according to the moralists of the day, a recipe for social disaster. For the anti-masquerade movement, which included literary figures such as Henry Fielding and Samuel Richardson, the intermingling of classes was frightening enough; the idea that women disguised under dominos might gain the same freedoms as men indicated the decline of society as a whole. In truth few ladies could attend a masquerade. Individuals such as Elizabeth Chudleigh, future Duchess of Kingston could cope with the notoriety gained for wearing revealing costumes – her semi-nude appearance as Iphigeneia at a Grand Jubilee Ball in Bristol was infamous – but as Art historian Griselda Pollock points out “to enter such spaces as the masked ball... constituted a serious threat to a bourgeois woman's reputation.” Making a spectacle of yourself or even viewing the spectacle was to abandon yourself to lewdness. Eliza Haywood advises "women of honour" to shun any man “so depraved as to offer them tickets". By the 1760s masquerade were a byword for licentious behavior and shunned by polite society. The festivities died down for decades, only to be rehabilitated in santised form by Queen

SELVEDGE ('selnid3) n. 1. finished differently 2. the nonfraying edge of a length of woven fabric. [: from SELF + EDGE] INDULGE textiles to buy, collect or simply admire

17 Personnel taste The Selvedge team select their favourites from London Design Week 73 Selvedge Objects Tempting new products and our best selling favourites 90 COVER STORY Viktor & Rolf A review of The House of Viktor and Rolf

sations.” We can assume the same applies to adults. Although a grown woman in a Tinkerbell costume is probably expressing feelings Walt

INDUSTRY from craft to commerce

26 Tea ladies Designers who have their cake and eat it 56 Size matters John Arbon champions small enterprise at Coldharbour Mill 58 Well bred Rare breeds offer history on the hoof 61 The classifieds Endangered, rare and native breeds 83 Design file A case study of Robert Stewart’s classic textiles

concept 52

ANECDOTE textiles that touch our lives

spend the rest of the film knitting and unraveling a red covering, howling in frustration when the garment is completed. This tangible cycle repeats across the film making associations with fertility and menstruation, but also a compulsive There is the potential for other peculiar readings. The wordless girl enters the sisters' home much like a cuckoo: and like the victim of a cuckoo's cunning tactics, the two women seem unable to discern that this arrival is not their own offspring. This confusion culminates in a scene in which the women, desperate to bring peace back to their nest, feed the girl by lobbing various foods into her gaping greedy mouth. Then the film switches to animation. Black and white drawings reveal a foreboding male character behind the bars and further fragments of the character's history are enacted in a series of scenes played out with hand-held dolls. Framed by the camera and dolls' house, these sequences offer glimpses of the sisters' history, including the death of their mother in childbirth.

12 Knit one, pearl one A lesson or two from the school of hard socks 34 Smart thinking Take a different approach to school uniforms 59 COVER STORY Beatrix Potter The author’s love of Herdwick sheep


desire to create rather than conclude. There is an urgency to the production that suggests something other than knitting for the pleasure of creation, but the reason is left unconfirmed.

96 Air craft Ballooning expands your horizons


Whilst creating art 'has more meaning' for Normandin she can also find it ‘constraining and tense'. Overall she finds Crochet is a favourite: 'I use it more than

knit sweaters and with elaborate clothes, She similar but have a made wool coats. Mine are simpler, more modern look'. from the All of Normandin’s work comes her home same family of ideas and inevitably with heirlooms; a reflects these passions, filled ware – 'growcollection of 1940s Luray pastel sales and I bought ing up we would go to estate – these dishes for a few dollars' everyand practical pieces to keep no thing ordered. It will come as for a surprise that when looking name for her company her childhood proved fertile hunting a ground. 'My grandmother had my dog called Wren because grandfather really liked birds,” muses Normandin. “The wren of seems simple and kind humble.” ••• Clare Lewis

'craft more relaxing'.

taught myself to crochet and

It’s not such a knitting. It’s so versatile. It's easier to problem when you drop a stitch. subway,' explains travel with – I do it on the demonstrate Normandin. Her 'grannie squares' how she gives older techniques a facelift; she for bobby clips ‘in also makes crochet flowers the hundreds'. yarns as the Normandin favours vintage crochet out of its colours are gentle. They lift relationship with long and rather depressing in her collection acrylic yarn. Handmade items dolls dressed in include fabric animals and rag made doll exquisite clothes. 'My grandmother

CONCEPT textiles in fine art

38 Pooling resources Dovecot Studios’ new location is a springboard to the future 51 Wool 100% Dreamlike blend of fantasy and fibre on film

ATTIRE critical reporting of fashion trends

42 COVER STORY Incognito The delights and dangers of disguise

27 industry

COHABIT stunning interiors beautifully photographed

31 Hand me down Laura Normandin’s family life 46 Cover up Does the future of blanket look warm and cosy?

Tea ladies


London is seemingly full of places to enjoy a pot of tea, but for the discerning finding the perfect

cuppa is no easy task. Fortunately teashops with their own special style do exist and three of the best are owned by women who started out knowing more about textiles than tea. “I'm hoping to make needlepoint the next big thing,” exclaims Margaret Willis, waving at the forty or so varied pieces clustered on the wall of her teashop The Cake Hole in Columbia Road Market, East London. Pink skies jostle for space with twee cats and dogs. Plodding shire horses in gilt frames butt up against bouquets of flowers all in glorious kitsch confusion. In other hands the effect might be overwhelming, but somehow Margaret carries it off: and now her finds inspire stylists, fashion designers and makers from all over the country. Margaret is an avid collector and has always preferred second-hand to new. A horticulturalist by training, with an eye for pattern and form, she first came to Columbia Road Market, like everyone else, to sell plants. Gradually she introduced to her stall some of the stash of items she'd acquired over the years. Of particular interest were the vintage curtains which she has a knack of tracking down – the heavy fabrics, old-fashioned colours and bold designs proved a hit with other style-savvy magpies. Such was her success that she gave up her stall and last year opened the more permanent Vintage Heaven, a treasure-trove of covetable textile and tableware finds. The Cake Hole nestles at the back of the shop, and after a Sunday morning spent rooting around the riot of colour that is Columbia Road you can sit down and enjoy a refreshing cuppa from one of Margaret's ever-changing collection of vintage china teacups. Stepping into Lynne Norledge's teashop, You Don't Bring Me Flowers, is like entering a fairyRichard Nicolson

GLOBAL travel destinations and ethnographic textiles

65 Sheer skill We trace the evolution of the Australian wool industry

INFORM the latest news, reviews and exhibition listings

tale. Unsurprisingly it holds a special appeal for children. Such is the dream-like atmosphere that customers have been known to fall asleep upstairs. You Don't Bring Me Flowers is not only a teashop but a beautiful florist too, and the highly original space is layered with the texture and

Beatrix Potter

Well bred


Throughout the Middle Ages England was

renowned for producing the finest, softest wool in the world, wool 'that could be spun as fine as a spider's web'. Wool was crucial to the prosperity of areas such as Cirencester, where the local breed of sheep, the Cotswold, was dubbed the 'Golden Fleece' and famed throughout Europe.

it has suffered a severe reversal of fortune and is now endangered with few flocks remaining. John Ellman applied Bakewell’s principles to short-wool sheep and produced the Southdown, a breed dominant in the 19th century for its dual role as wool and meat producer. The superiority of the easily processed Southdown wool was demonstrated in 1811 when it made the famous “Newbury Coat”. Sir John Throckmorton pledged 1000 guineas if a coat could be made between sunrise and sunset, and on June 25th two Southdowns were shorn at 5am, their wool scoured, carded, spun, and

Beatrix Potter introduced thousands of children to the secret world of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddleduck in her illustrated children's stories. It was a holiday in the Lake District in 1882 that inspired a lifelong love of the area. As she roamed the fells sketching the creatures who went on to star in her tales, she must have come across the local Herdwick sheep, with their pretty white faces and shaggy kelpy fleece; but surprisingly they never made it into her stories. Said to have arrived in Britain when they swam ashore from the shipwrecked galleons of the Spanish Armada, Herdwicks are considered rather clever in the ovine world. They have a unique 'heafing' instinct instilled from ewe to lamb – a mental map that bonds them to a stretch of land where they will return to bear their own lambs. This homing instinct means that if moved they will often escape to return home. Herdwick lambs are born black, their faces and legs turning white during their first year. The wool is wiry and thoroughly

© Topham / TopFoto

Descended from sheep farmed during the Roman occupation, these 'Cotswold Lions' were raised in huge flocks and the wealth they generated remains tangible in the Wool Churches that stand in villages throughout the area. Until the end of the 16th century even Spanish wool was thought pale in comparison: but during the 17th century the positions were reversed and it was said 'so long as Englishmen are fond of fat mutton, they must not expect to grow fine wool'.

Hardwick sheep at Gatesgarth Farm, Cumbria. Chris Charlesworth /

And it was said 'so long as Englishmen are fond of fat mutton, they must not expect to grow fine wool...'

woven by 4pm when it was given to tailors who completed the coat by 6.20pm. Sir John wore it at dinner that evening and ironically the two sheep were roasted in celebration. But again by the 1980s the stout little Southdown was endangered. Today selective breeding has restored it to a minority breed.

lanolin coated, so much so that sheep have survived up to two weeks trapped under a snowdrift by eating their own fleece. Beatrix Potter bought Hill Top farm in 1905. Her friendship with local vicar, Canon Rawnsley, a founder of The National Trust, led to her interest in protecting the natural diversity of the Lake District. Herdwick fleece had been vital in producing uniforms for the First World War, but in its aftermath young people spurned the heavy tweeds that were their peacetime use. Potter was their staunch supporter, raising flocks and becoming the first female President of the Herdwick Sheep Breeders Association. Her 15 farms and flocks were bequeathed to The National Trust. As a result the Trust has a large number of Herdwicks and they maintain Beatrix Potter’s legacy by helping tenant farmers create new products such as sheep fleece insulation. ••• SJD

In the mid-18th century Robert Bakewell, a pioneer in selective breeding, applied scientific principles to animal husbandry. He bred the Old Leicester, a large coarse-boned, slow-growing, long-wool sheep into the New or Dishley Leicester, a quick fattening stocky sheep. The wool was little improved but its volume was remarkable. The Leicester Longwool became the “poster sheep” of the Industrial Revolution. Popular for cross-breeding, it created hardy woolly lambs and produced tallow as well as meat. But as mutton fell out of fashion (usurped by roast beef)

Before the end of the 18th century the Spanish made the export of Merino sheep punishable by death. Once repealed the breed was gradually exported across Europe and a flock was procured by renowned botanist Sir Joseph Banks for King George III. Their soft fine wool had long been imported to blend with English wool, but now through crossbreeding fibre could be blended at source: a boon for the newly mechanised industry which demanded wool of consistent quality that could be easily sorted and processed.

04 bias /contributors 05 correspondence 07 news Trends and essential ideas 15 Stand tall and willowy Shoppers that won’t bend your principles or break the bank 13 Plain paper bag A Habu knitting pattern 79 Guiding hand

Sway of the golden lotus 86 international listings Exhibitions, fairs and events 90 view Tim Walker Pictures, The House of Viktor and Rolf, New and Norwegian, A World of Folk 95 coming next The Spiritual issue

Heavenly textiles 93 resources Information and research links for this issue 80 subscription offer A beautiful Margo Selby silk purse worth £25 for every new subscriber and renewal plus Origin tickets and a place at the Hand & Lock conference

59 industry