Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Wartime Wedding

Textile treasure seeking turns up all sorts of wonderful finds. I saw a 1940s wedding dress in a junk shop last week, complete with the original veil and photographs of the wedding party. I assumed it would be way out of my price range (I'm used to the price of vintage pieces in our neck of the woods!) and so left the shop without even asking how much is was.

Well, as soon I was back home, I couldn't stop thinking about that dress. I fell asleep that night with the idea firmly fixed in my head that I would call the shop the next day just to find out how much the dress was on sale for (and if nothing else to cast it from my mind). When I rang and asked the price the next day (the couple who own it are so friendly and jolly), I nearly fell off the chair I was perched on..."It's on for £25", said the chap I spoke to," but the wife says you can have it for £20!" Needless to say, I reserved it straight away!

One of the official wedding photos. Everyone looks so happy. It's such a shame, but there's no indication of who any of these people are. I wonder what their war was like? What Squadron was the groom attached to? What happened to them all? I have a feeling I will never know, but I hope they all lived very long and happy lives.

The dress came in its original box.

This is me, modelling the dress and veil! The shape of the shoulders is so typically 1940s (but Mr Treasure was a little iffy about it, saying that they made me look a funny shape!) The headpiece I'm wearing (which is covered in little wax flowers) is the one that my Grandma wore when she married my Grandad in 1937.

The veil is full length, with delicate embroidery on it. Unfortunately, it's very fragile and there are a few holes in it, but I still think it's gorgeous! The dress has a 'puddle' (small train) at the back, just like the dress I wore when Mr Treasure and I tied the knot.

The belt on the back pulls the waist in as well as adding lovely detailing. Unlike my own wedding dress, I could breathe when I sat down in this one!

There are lots of gorgeous design features, including smocking on each shoulder.

This is part of the pattern on the veil. It's so intricate and looks wonderful cascading down the back of the dress.

In amongst the dress and veil were a few other treasures that the lovely lady at the junk shop gave me. One of them was the lid from a box (complete with this picture) that held a veil that's very similar to the one that I now have.

This is stuck on to the back of the box's lid.

Another of the treasures I was given was this piece from another 1940s veil. The lovely thing about it is there's still confetti trapped in it. The confetti's made out of the bits that get left in a hole punch when punching paper...you can see parts of words printed on some of them!

The 1940s is definitely my favourite decade in history. There's something about the fashion, community spirit, make do and mend ethos and the bravery of everyday people that I love and admire.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Truly Inspired

Mum and I spent a fabulous day yesterday at the NEC visiting the Sewing for Pleasure/Hobbycrafts/Fashion Embroidery & Stitch shows. There was so much to see and do!

This was my favourite entry in the 'Glimpses of the Swinging Sixties' STITCH/Madeira competition.

There's a huge amount of work on display. Seeing it all really inspired me to want to try new techniques and make time for working on my own textile creations. I was really thrilled to see one of Alice Kettle's creations in 'real life'.

I loved this piece by Helen Banzhaf. The colours and shapes are really striking.

Linda Kemshall is an amazingly talented quilter (as is her daughter, Laura). Mum and I had a lovely chat with Linda about the work she's created using an embellisher (a sewing machine with no thread, just a series of needles that take the hassle out of felting). Linda applied hand stitching to her embellished background in the piece above.

I'm always in awe of people who are talented at felting. This is one of the panels from the Scottish Heritage Standards display. There were lots of banners on show, celebrating Scotland's history and culture and the year of the Homecoming, but this was definitely my favourite.

There was so much gorgeous fabric for sale, it took all of my willpower not to buy all of them to add to my ever growing stash. This was no mean feat as I love, love, love Liberty fabric!

Five Valleys Designs had Amy Butler's newest fabric collection, Love, for sale on their stand. Water Bouquet/Midnight is my absolute favourite.

With such a fabulous choice of fabrics on offer, how on earth do you choose?!

Sumptuous threads from Stef Francis.

Indian braids and ribbons...gorgeous and glittery!

This is some of Kim Thittichai's work...she's a master of 'hot textiles' (you might have seen her book).

This is a great show to see work by students and graduates. I was really taken by the work of students from the University of Cumbria. This mood board was created by Kirsten Gilder as part of one of her first year projects.

This is the decoration on the top of one of Lindsey Atkinson's headbands (another University of Cumbria student). So quirky and eye-catching, I thought it was great!

Amanda Mercer makes the most wonderful pieces...this is her teapot and cup and saucers, with Ashleigh Smith's gorgeous printed fabric as a backdrop (again, both are students at the University of Cumbria).

Threads and Angelico, two textiles groups, worked on a collaborative project that explored the concept of 'coast'. I really liked the qualities of this hanging.

Another of the hangings from the Threads and Angelico project. It's made entirely from felt and looked so tactile, I had to stop myself from running my hands through it!

This piece made me smile. It's called Line Dancing and is by one of the members of the Meniscus group of textile artists. The birds' bodies are made from old envelopes.

This machine knitted dress caught my eye...I'd love to have one like this in my wardrobe!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Further Adventures of a Textiles Enthusiast

I had such fun on Friday...I popped into Catherine Shinn Decorative Textiles in search of fabrics and trimmings and spent a very happy hour or so finding textile treasure.

Catherine has so many gorgeous vintage fabrics in her shop, it made the task of choosing which ones to add to my stash rather difficult! After rummaging through several boxes of fabric, these were the ones I finally decided on.

I also found some sumptuous braids (including a vintage metallic one) to use in various projects I'm working on at the moment.

Phoebe always likes to see what's going on in my work room!

Another find in Catherine's shop. Apparently, this is part of a blotter. It's made from scraps of vintage fabric, with a shimmering metallic motif in the centre. The background is a lovely red velvet that's worn in places, which I think adds to the character of it. The photo really doesn't do it justice!

I couldn't resist bringing home this nursery rhyme fabric. I'm not sure how old it is, but it's definitely not a modern piece.

It was Little Red Riding Hood that caught my eye in amongst the piles of fabric I was looking through. I love her rich red cape. I was always scared of wolves when I was little (on account of watching 'The Box of Delights' on tv), but this one doesn't appear to be too terrifying!

I went to see an exhibition of Jann Haworth's work at Wolverhampton Art Gallery yesterday. Jann is one of the few women associated with the Pop Art Movement in the 1960s and is still creating work today. She uses soft sculpture to create all sorts of amazingly life-like characters and objects.

This is Frank (1963), who sits beside, amongst other things, a vase of flowers where the flowers are made entirely of gloves!

Jann often uses doughnuts in her work. In the exhibition catalogue she says, "Doughnuts are subversive to me - a way of apparently saying one thing and meaning another. And this makes me laugh, always".

I thought the teacups were just brilliant! The exhibition's not very big, but there's a good selection of Jann's work on display and it's well worth a visit if you like something a bit quirky and different.

Back in February, I blogged about the Australian magaZINE, Mixtape and the piece I'd written for it all about buttons. I'm thrilled to report that it's now been published (in glorious technicolour, on page 27)! I've ended up with some extra copies as the post was rather slow and Justine (Mixtape's fabulous Editor) sent me some more as we thought they'd been lost somewhere en route. Needless to say, the first batch eventually turned up, closely followed by the second! As a result, Justine has very kindly said that I can share them out amongst fellow appreciators of all things crafty. I have two copies that are looking for a new home, so do let me know if you'd like one. If there's more than two people interested, I'll pick names out of a hat.

As the Mixtape ethos is all about making time for the small things, I think we should all indulge in setting aside a little bit of time this week to do something we really enjoy. Take the phone off the hook, ignore the washing pile and have a bit of 'me time'!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

A Celebration of Textiles

If you love textiles, then you should definitely head to Stroud in May. The Stroud International Textiles Festival, now in its 5th year, has all sorts going on, from exhibitions and talks to workshops and open studios.

I've been getting updates about the Festival in my inbox for a while now and thought it was about time I shared them with you all! Here's the latest news, hot off the press:

"The festival has leading names from the world of textiles alongside emerging, new talent. Norma Starszakowna, Jo Barker and Sara Brennan are joined by Mary Schoeser, Studio Seven Textiles, Matthew Harris and other big names from he world of contemporary textile arts and crafts. New this year is 'Students in Stroud', with 16 shops exhibiting work from 2009 graduates from three of the UK's top universities and also new this year is the link to the Highlands of Scotland's crafts. There's also a two day conference on 'Slow Textiles'..."

For all the details, go to the Festival's website.

Knowing that I write a blog, the Festival's Director, Lizzi Walton, kindly sent me some photos of some of the artists and work that will be at the Festival...

This is Norma Starszakowna in her studio. During the festival she'll be exhibiting her work in the foyer of the Museum in the Park.

I saw Matthew Harris's work at last year's festival and rather liked it. I'm certainly looking forward to seeing what work he has in store for us this year.

Kate Blee, a student at Edinburgh School of Art, will be exhibiting with Jo Barker, Sara Brennan and Henny Burnett at the Museum in the Park during the Festival.

Deirdre Nelson is the very first Artist in Residence at the Museum in the Park. She'll be unveiling the work she's created in response to the Museum's collections and her time during the residency. You can read her blog here.

Go along and be inspired!

Sunday, 14 March 2010

A Vintage Weekend

I've had a gloriously vintage time over the last few days (and it was sunny...three cheers)!

My vintage adventures all began on Saturday when I went to the Stroud Rag Market...

Tucked away in the Old Town Hall were all sorts of vintage treasures.

One of the first people I saw when I arrived was the lovely Viv. Mr Treasure had stayed at home so I'd ventured to Stroud unaccompanied (alone in a vintage fair full of fabulous things to buy...was he not thinking straight when he let me loose on my own?!!) It was so nice to see a friendly face and made the trip even more worthwhile.

Viv had lots of gorgeous things to rummage through and needless to say I found some that just had to come home with me (Viv - your generous spirit is so wonderfully kind. Thank you!)

Bundles of vintage fabric were crying out to be bought, but I managed to resist. I'm being strict with myself and trying only to buy fabric that I can think of a use for!

The quilt in the left of the photo was made in the 1800s and everyone who'd worked on it had sewn their initials on to its panels. It was so soft...I could easily imagine myself snuggled under it!

It's always fun to rummage through tins of bits and bobs - you never know what you might find.

In amongst the quilts and pieces of fabric on one stall I found these vibrant shell necklaces. Although I'm not sure I could see myself wearing one, I was rather drawn to their pretty colours.

The smell of lavender that wafted from these sachets and hearts was wonderful. It's a shame smell-o-blogging hasn't been invented yet as the scent was just gorgeous!

Not content with just one vintage-filled day...

...we popped along to the Blind Lemon Vintage Fashion Fair at Pittville Pump Rooms in Cheltenham this afternoon. Mum loves vintage fairs too, so we all went as a Mother's Day treat (even Mr Treasure and Dad came along!)

It was really nice to see Lizzie at the Fair. It's always great to catch up with people from Blogland. Lizzie introduced me to another lovely blogger, Tracey. It does make me chuckle how introductions are made between bloggers..."Textile Treasure Seeker, this is lovevintagehomestyle". It's a great place, this little community of ours!

Vintage loveliness on Lizzie's stall.

After all the fun of this weekend's fairs, I'm rather looking forward to the next ones on the calendar!