WOOL & WAX

More Printed Cotton Lithographs…

From the same institution and period as the astronomical images I posted a while back, these are also amazing.

Circa 1850 - Working Mens Educational Union.

Flotsam & Jetsam

Beachcombers of the Frisian island of Texel - Netherlands

The King of Colors

With the increasing trend for all things earthy and natural, chemical free dyeing has been making a resurgence in recent years, bringing with it not just some beautiful patina, but also a clearer conscience for both manufacturer and consumer. Of the many different ancient natural based dyes out there, Woad, a lesser known plant relative and weaker strain of Indigo, is playing an increasing role in that revival. 

The Woad, or “Dyers’ Woad”, is a flowering plant that looks like a kind of cabbage and has been cultivated since ancient times, possibly as far back as 1000 B.C. The green leaves can be harvested six times in a year, but it is only the first year the leaves can be used for dying. The process is labour intense and it takes about 1000 kilos of leaves to make 1 kilo of dyestuff. When the pigment is extracted from the leaves you get a green liquid, as the liquid is gradually reduced into sludge it turns blue. Fermentation of these leaves can produce a fairly foul odor, probably because Woad has sulfur-containing chemicals in the leaves. During Queen Elizabeth the first’s reign, she decreed that no Woad processing would be allowed within five miles of her residences based on it’s invasive smell.

The sludge is then dried to rock hard lumps of intense blue dyestuff, later made solvent in a mixture of soda and water. Garments initially lifted up from the dye bath will be yellow, but when the solution reacts with oxygen the color migrates to green, finally ending up blue as the process neutralizes. The length of time yarn, cloth or whole garments are left to soak in the dye baths to achieve complete saturation, depends on the thickness and absorption rate of the fabric. The resultant color left by the Woad, although not as dark as that achieved by Indigo dyeing, is a beautiful classic blue. It’s no surprise then that menswear is increasingly becoming a fan of all things Woad…

All things relative
If you’ve ever tried to mentally fathom how big the world is, or maybe how it relates to the surrounding universe, well it’s all a bit overwhelming isn’t it? Perhaps you’ve been getting a little too deep, taken a long walk, had one too many drinks etc, and contemplated how you fit into this whole thing yourself…! It’s all a bit much really isn’t it? But thankfully for us, legendary mid century design duo, Ray and Charles Eames gave this some thought on our behalf. As well as designing the chairs you already know about, they are also known for their documentary style film making, releasing in 1977 the amazing ‘Powers of Ten’.
Both scientifically and artistically pleasing, the film offers a great visual perspective on the relative scale of the Universe, as viewed in factors of ten. We are taken on a dramatic, pre google earth style journey, framing outwards from a picnicking couple in Chicago, ending up at the outer reaches of the Universe. We then enhance inwards again from our furthest vantage point, passing through space and then skin, finally resting within the cells that make up our human bodies.
It likely won’t help you find your way in the world, but then again, maybe it will..?
http://www.powersof10.com/film

All things relative

If you’ve ever tried to mentally fathom how big the world is, or maybe how it relates to the surrounding universe, well it’s all a bit overwhelming isn’t it? Perhaps you’ve been getting a little too deep, taken a long walk, had one too many drinks etc, and contemplated how you fit into this whole thing yourself…! It’s all a bit much really isn’t it? But thankfully for us, legendary mid century design duo, Ray and Charles Eames gave this some thought on our behalf. As well as designing the chairs you already know about, they are also known for their documentary style film making, releasing in 1977 the amazing ‘Powers of Ten’.

Both scientifically and artistically pleasing, the film offers a great visual perspective on the relative scale of the Universe, as viewed in factors of ten. We are taken on a dramatic, pre google earth style journey, framing outwards from a picnicking couple in Chicago, ending up at the outer reaches of the Universe. We then enhance inwards again from our furthest vantage point, passing through space and then skin, finally resting within the cells that make up our human bodies.

It likely won’t help you find your way in the world, but then again, maybe it will..?

http://www.powersof10.com/film

Life aboard

Joan Eardley

1921 - 1963

Joan Eardley, although English by birth, became known and revered as one of Scotland’s most prominent mid century artists. Discovering the Kincardineshire fishing village of Catterline in North East Scotland in 1950, Eardley was instantly inspired to paint there. She soon after bought a dilapidated 2-room cottage which was crudely converted into a live-in studio. Eardley loved to focus on singular locations, she painted the same places and scenes over and over, drawing out of them new expressions through color, medium and perspective. Sadly, Eardley’s life was tragically cut short by cancer as she was reaching the peak of her fame as a living artist. 

Her Catterline landscapes depict all aspects of the village’s landscape from warm harvest fields to stormy seascapes. She embraced the energy of the weather and the sea, often painting outside in harsh conditions as humbling storms raged before her canvas. Some of her Catterline works with paint expressionistically brushed on, dripped and scratched into, seem to capture an almost violent battle with the weather.

Hands across the water…

The HANDS series, filmed in Ireland in the late 70’s and 80’s, captures the final years of traditional rural and urban life in Ireland. Inspired by a sense of urgency to record crafts in their natural surroundings before they disappeared completely, film makers David Shaw Smith and his wife Sally, travelled the length and breadth of Ireland and it’s islands, to document the series of films on traditional Irish crafts and lifestyles, where the emphasis is on the skills of human hands rather than on machines.

This film of boat builder and former eel fisherman, Jimmy Furey (parts 2 and 3 linked below), shows the construction of a Shannon One Design, a wooden clinker-built, eighteen-foot racing dinghy. SOD’s are traditionally built on the shores of Loughs Derg and Ree in Ireland and are unique to the Shannon river.

Part 2

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XELPt_x08Os

Part 3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dPNePCOZSZo&feature=related

Wall hangings of an astronomical theme, circa 1850. Printed lithographically on cotton, probably to avoid paper duty.