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Picturing a World

Warhol textiles

An article on The Lost Textiles of Andy Warhol reminded me of the design work of Edward Bawden and Eric Ravilious, artists who were also commercial designers.
Illustration, ceramics, and stained glass were crafts practiced by women artists at the turn of the century for remuneration. Don't women textile designers of the twentieth century seem a good point of departure for investigating possibilities for a fictional circle?
Image via Yale University Press.

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Leman silk designs

Blog post alert: A post on James Leman, Silk Designer at Spitalfields Life recounts the career of an 18th C silk designer and reproduces several double-page spreads from his album of samples. The album is now at the Victoria and Albert and is obviously a great straightforward historical resource. It can also prompt suggestions for stories.

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Queen Elizabeth I and a book

Blog post alert: Isn't this a great portrait of the princess who would become Queen Elizabeth? I love the jewelry, the damask, the gold braid, her natural coloring (no white lead paint!), and especially her holding her place in a book with a finger. Of course, it's posed; but in a story, that last touch could be such a good hint in characterizing a particular kind of person when she is interrupted. The image comes from a British Library post, Portraits of Elizabeth I, about a current exhibition.

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Dakha muslin

An article at the BBC website, The ancient fabric that no one knows how to make, sent me poking on the internet. The cloth in question was Dakha muslin, which unlike the coarse fabric of today was so fine that it was virtually transparent. It was said that a sari made of it could be pulled through a woman's ring. Men and women alike seem to have worn it in India. It was in vogue in the West, too (Regency romance writers probably know all about it). Rembrandt even copied a picture almost identical to this one of Emperor Shah Jahan Standing on a Globe. It could certainly play a part in a story—either the real thing or fairy gossamer. To read more about it, click here.

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Embroidered nativity

Detail, The Toledo Cope (1320–30)

Blog post alert: The Christmas story in opus anglicanum from the Victoria and Albert. Textiles, medieval art history, and a midwife at the Nativity—what more could I ask for? In this strange, strange holiday season, I hope you are finding stories and images to lighten your heart.

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