Up at 6am to get ready for the London trip. Although the trip had been arranged to primarily visit the V&A, I was strongly counselled to take the time to imbue myself with other venues and exhibitions.

Updating my blog became my task for the 3-4 hour journey down, I thought it sagacious to get as up to date as humanly possible. The exertion is evident, hopefully, within my ongoing blog.

Arriving in London, I decided to document all of my best-loved works of art by photograph. Having had a stomach bug for the previous 24 hours I did not have the energy to stand/sit and draw from observation. I customarily draw from observation, it gives a greater perspective of depth and detail. Hereafter, I will aim to document as much first hand as I can.

One of the most exciting initial features of the V&A Museum were the resplendent Marble pillars situated in the foyer. I could not help but cognise the intricate shapes, patterns and tones. Most people would simply walk past. I will be looking to study these incredulous natural forms.

(Above) HANGING – Cotton, mordant dyed/resist dyed (‘chintz’). Coromandel Coast, South-East India. 1700-25. ‘Square pieces like this were popular with the Dutch market, and several survive with Dutch coat of arms in the design. This one gives space of the central field over to exotic birds and flowers. Hybrid style typical of the period, with a mix of Chinese and western motifs’

Looking at certain areas within this hanging brings light to the simplicity of design, yet when looking at the overall larger hanging, the sheer detail and hard work that must have gone into such a magnificent textile is mind boggling.

Research into pressed and dried flowers will be an edifying and pragmatic manner to aid me within my ongoing creative practice. Indication for artists using pressed/dried flowers/flora?

(Above) Part of Hanging. Cotton, mordant and resist-dyed (‘chintz’). Coromandel Coast, South East India, for the Western Market. ‘Chintz bed or wall-hanging is an impressive piece due to it’s quality of design, draughtsmanship and dyeing. The red designs on a white ground would have required the expert use of an alum mordant or fixative. The fine white motifs against a coloured background were drawn in wax-resisted lines with a simple bamboo pen’.


(Above) Beetle-Wing Embroidery. Cotton net embroidered with metal-wrapped thread and beetle wings. Hyderabad, Deccan. 1855. ‘From early 19th to 20th centuries, the iridescent wing cases of Indian ‘jewel battles’ were popular with Western women both in India and Europe. They were pierced and stitched to the fabric with gilded silver-wrapped thread, and made gowns and accessories sparkle. Designs sketched and stitched onto sheer net could be cut out and applied to garments whenever desired’.

Incredible Islamic design, replacing glass with the most intelligent and beautiful linear structures. Looking in to symmetry and design.


(Above) Man’s Waist-Cloth. Cotton, mordant-dyed. South-East India, for the Sri Lankan market. 1850-1900. ‘South Indian textiles were widely used in Sri Lanka as there was little local tradition of weaving and dyeing. Mordant dyed cottons like this were popular for Men’s wrapped garments. Unlike pieces for the western market, they were often made without the accompanying resist-dyed indigo’.

I absolutely treasure the shapes and pattern within this garment. I aim to create an interpretation of this design within my own study.


(Above) Evening Coat. Elsa Schiaparelli (1890-1973). Autumn 1937. London. Silk jersey with gold thread and silk rose embroidery and applied decoration in silk. ‘Elsa Schiaparelli’s designs were characterised by their witty, Surrealist-inspired details. This coat depicts a profusion of roses in an urn which can also be viewed as two faces in profile. The double image held a particular fascination for Surrealists such as Salvador Dali. The embroidery is by the Paris house of Lesage, after a drawing by Jean Cousteau’

(Above) Riding Jacket. Messrs Redfern and Co. 1885-86. London. Wool with mohair braid.

I principally chose this garment for pure aesthetic reasons, it is simply stunning. The colour contrast is simple and so effective, but the intricate workmanship and bespoke tailoring is magnificent. Contemplating nature within Fashion is genius.

(Left & Middle) Tiles from the Tomb of Buyanquli Khan. Uzbekistan, Bukhara. c1358. Ornamental Frieze. Set horizontally above doorway. (Right) Upper section of Column and Capital. From left side of doorway. Carved earthenware under coloured glaze.


(Above) Lengths of Velvet with Flowers. Iran, c1600-1700. Silk velvet. ‘When Shah Abbas I made his capital shortly before 1600, he developed the city as a centre of luxury textile production. Silk velvets were made in abundance both for local use and for export. Many had floral patterns, some composed of fantastic blossoms, others of flowers closer to nature.

Absolutely stunning. Simplification and incredible contrast of flowers.

(Left) Large storage Jar with Iranian decoration. Isfahan, Iran, c1600-1700. Fritware painted under glaze, with later brass collar. ‘This jar is one of the few blue and white vessels decorated with a local Iranian pattern – a trellis set with large blossoms. Yet even in this design there is a strong Chinese element, as the highly stylised flowers were originally derived from Chinese lotus motifs’. (Right) Tiles with repeat pattern. Iznik, Turkey. c1580. Fritware painted under the glaze. ‘Tiles with this design are associated with the shrine of Eyup, which stands just outside the walls of Istanbul. The pattern is not self-contained but can be repeated endlessly, like a textile design. Each group of four miles has the complete pattern, which is symmetrical on the vertical axis.

(Above) Lehti. Sheet brass, photo etched and powder coated. London, England. 2004. Designed/made by Maria Jauhiainen. ‘Leith’ (Leaf). The silversmith confounds expectations of metal to create a delicate, seemingly weightless fruit bowl. She photo-etched her drawings of a decomposing leaf onto a thin metal sheet and dissolved the remaining areas with acid. Red powder-coating has given the owl great strength and flexibility’.


(Above) Sideboard Cloth. Linen ground embroidered with floss silks in stem and satin stitches, with couched and drawn thread work. Made by Frances Mary Templeton (1867-1946). ‘This sideboard cloth shows aspects of the techniques and designs associated with Jessie Newbury and Ann Macbeth, whose embroidery classes at the Glasgow School of Art left an important legacy to the craft of embroidery. They used coarse fabrics and simple, speedy stitching to emphasise the structure of their bold designs. The make of this cloth attended classes given by Ann Macbeth in Helensburgh, to the west of Glasgow’.

Two textile/embroidery artists to research and discover more about, whilst delving into the past of the salubrious history of the Glasgow School of Art & Design.

(Above) ‘The Day Lily’ Wallpaper. 1897. Colour print from wood block. Designed by Walter Crane (Liverpool. 1845 – 1915) for Production by Jeffrey & Co. London. Walter Crane was the first president of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. He developed his figurative style through illustration books, but became a prolific commercial designer, working for many different manufactures. He designed more than fifty wallpapers for Jeffrey & Co. from 1874′.

I was immediately drawn to the incredible line and detail within this wallpaper; since a youngster, I have always wanted to create the most original and aesthetically pleasing wallpapers. Dreams can become a reality. Time to look into wood-block printing.


(Above) Wallpaper sample. Colour print from wood blocks, on paper; the dado, flock on paper. Designed by Bruce James Talbert (Dundee. 1838 -1881) Printed in London for Jeffrey & Co. ‘By 1880 it was fashionable to decorate walls in 3 horizontal sections: frieze, filling and dado. Although this specimen panel was printed in one piece, usually three parts would be produced as separate papers. They were combined according to the choice of the customer’.



(Above) Decorative Paper printed in Germany. c1800-1850. Maker Unknown. Gold embossing from engraved copper plates. ‘Since the early 16th Century, decorative papers printed with small scale patterns have been used variously as endpapers and book covers, lining papers for trunks and deed boxes, patterns for the backs of playing cards, and occasionally as wallpapers. Gold-embossed papers like these first appeared in the early 18th Century and production continued to the mid 19th Century. German printers in Augsburg, Nuremberg and Fuerth were renowned as producers of such papers. As well as decorative patterns, sheets with images of figures like saints were popular. These so-called ‘picture sheets’ were divided into separate frames, suggesting that they were designed to be cut out’.

The colours utilised are celestial, contrasting the beauty of gold and indigo blue is nothing short of genius. Investigative work into colour contrast will ensue as soon as possible.

The V&A Museum is a treasure trove of design, inspiration and history, but alas I had to move on. My Mother had informed me, a couple of days before my London excursion, of a Matisse exhibition currently on show at The Royal Academy of Art. Having never been overfond on Matisse as a long student, I now established myself discovering a new found respect for him. I am not quite sure if it was the arrogance/ignorance of youth, but I had completely overlooked the textile/textural/linear qualities within his work.


(Above) Safran Roses at the Window, Oil on Canvas. 1925. Henri Matisse.

“Here and there, Matisse’s work finds reflection in marble, in gilt wood, faience, Oriental cloths – a whole euro shop for some daily magic: apparatus of a fantastic laboratory of visual alchemy” Georges Salles ‘Visit to Matisse’, Art News Annual 21 (1952): 37.


(Above) Still life and Heron studies. 1900. Henri Matisse. Watercolour and Ink on Paper.

This work is effortless, yet so salient. It is a working exploration into colour; working from the same image but applying over different colour can construct a positive outcome for planned future work. Could I disentangle my stitch ‘writer’s block’ by using a fabric paint/ink first?

fruit bowl msatisse

(Above) Still life with Red Carpet. 1906. Henri Matisse. Oil on Canvas.

Sumptuous textiles within a rich and colourful still life/textile study. It would be counterproductive for me not to explore the textile constitution within a lot of his work.

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