Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Heartbreakingly beautiful ...

... the back of hand blocked cloth.

I wish I had a scanner large enough to show you the scale of this hand blocked linen, Tree of Life from Lee Jofa. The pattern repeat is a mighty 99" and it is majestic. Majesty, though, is not what this post is about. 

I love textiles: I was raised in a cotton weaving area in the north of England and even the dust, or dawn, as my grandfather in his dialect called it, is in my blood. The slightly sticky feel of cotton cloth straight from the shed, the local name for weaving mill, is still with me as is the smell of the mill, the noise, the way the weavers used a combination of gesture and mouth soundlessly to communicate both in the the shed and in the street when they saw each other. It was as if they were deaf, as they might well have been because of the noise in the shed. Today we call that means of communication Sign and it was universal but only in those cool damp valleys where cotton was woven and thee and thou were still used. I remember too the feel of hand-sewn cotton sheets made by my grandmother. Don't ask why she sewed them by hand, she just did. 

Above is Bradstock, another hand blocked heavy weight linen from Lee Jofa, as wonderful as the previous but of a much smaller scale - a 27 inch pattern repeat. What you see is a hint, merely a suggestion, of what the whole design back and front is like. Click on the images and see how delightful the other sides of these cloths are.

Below you see how the dye seeps differently through the delicate cotton cloth of Hollyhock. It is misted, frosty, tender and totally bewitching.

So yes, I love textiles and I love the unexpected effects of the hand blocking process. Please, if you are a student, a interior design instructor or a homeowner looking for inspiration, go to Lee Jofa and see for yourself the wonder of these hand blocks, and don't forget to look at the reverse. 

And, no, I don't work there. 

No comments:

Post a Comment