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Archive for "Textiles"
The shop will be closed this Thursday so that we can spend the entire day following the instructions from Decorating with Fabric by Alfred Allan Lewis (1974) on how to cover our rotary telephones, portable televisions, Parsons tables, flower pots, mirror frames, walls, ceilings, shower stalls?, daybeds, everything in red, white, and blue gingham in time for our annual Fourth of July restful, booze-free afternoon luncheon. Don’t stop by. We’ll be busy.
Karl Lagerfeld for Chloé, 1966
Liberty fabric: silk, sequins, plastic beads
dreaming up our future fabrics….
Marimekko is to thank for bringing our little Gravel & Gold Goods lady design posse together and inspiring us to make handprinted fabrics. I met Holly on the recommendation that she would be up for copying an auntie’s old Marimekko dress in a mauntie’s old Marimekko panel that used to hang in his mother’s house. When I came to her studio and explained the idea, she sort of hyperventilated. She had studied surface design at CCA, and Marimekko was her hands down favorite. We had a lot of fun making it happen.
When Lisa, Holly, and I began designing fabrics for Gravel & Gold Goods, it was in part because we wanted to create fabrics of the quality and joy level of the old 1960s and 1970s Marimekkos, and in part because we wanted—and imagined we were obliged—to create a largescale screen printing set up like the old Marimekko printing tables, with awesome, stylishly dressed ladies passing a squeegee back and forth.
As an aside, I will add that Marimekko’s current modality is also of great interest, and a place I very much want to visit!, even though, in my opinion, the finished fabric quality has gone way down—a sadness I’m willing to attribute to the cotton they’re using in addition to the mechanization of the printing.
It was the old school style that we were really after, the hands on the tables. But the fact was that we had no idea how to physically print on a large scale, let alone where we would find such a large space that we could afford around the Bay. This stalled us for some time…. And then, as though stumbling upon a mirage in the desert of local industry, we came upon ZOO-INK, proudly hand screening yardage right here in San Francisco since 1972. And while it would be impossible to imagine Charles, the master of ceremonies over there, wearing a cute A-line printed sundress, he has years of experience burning giant screens, mixing paint, dragging giant screens down giant tables, setting them into locks, passing a squeegee back and forth, and making magic. It was a fast-forward dream come true for us.
When creating a hand screened fabric, each color of a print requires a separate screen and a separate trip down the printing tables. Here you can see “First Falls”, a print I designed last year, being printed at Zoo. Using Indian ink on acetate, I drew three large interlocking layers with a ragged edge that would disguise the repeat. These were burned onto three separate screens, each measuring 60″ x 36″. When it came time to print, Charles first laid down the neon yellow, then the dark blue outline, and finally the pale pink fill screen. With the paler version, he started with cream, then metallic silver, then pale purpleish-grey. Both versions turned out real nice.
With such beautiful prints, the finished stuff comes easy. Here is our Gemini Dress and Large Tote in two versions of “First Falls”.
Along with the relief of handing off the printing process to a group of pros and the pleasure of their perfect work, we’ve learned so much from Charles about the process of printing on this scale and the many various factors involved. For us, the dream of one day having our own printing set up with our own sundress ladies, squeegees, etc. remains, but until then, there could be no better a place than ZOO-INK.
For my favorite tiny Swedish girl.
Her papa is jealous. Which is creepy, really.
Shit. Ok, just southeast of the beard, is that? Could it be?
Yep, that’s definitely a lady power fist motif among the torch bearing devils, sly foxes, and arcade game fellas adorning these incredible Swedish ladies’ sweaters. I know it, you know, they’re willing to stand in the mud all day to defend it:
Yeah, life looks good on their farm.
Note the dachshund in all this. Also, they seem to enjoy nice tropical vacations, where the heat don’t stop them.
Then, after very careful consideration, the ladies decided to allow men among them. All they had to do was wear awesome knits and like it. They knew how good they had it.
To enjoy seeing another powerful, unafraid of the cold Swedish lady taking control, look to Lukas Moodysson’s film Tillsammans (which in the US was called Together). This bit doesn’t have subtitles going, but former residents of Bolinas and even those unfamiliar with radical group living should be able to follow the well worn conflict happening here.
All these awesome images are from Hönsestrik – ett sätt att sticka fritt by Kirsten Hofstätter, published in 1975. Stockholm used book stores, watch out!
These are the instructions intended for Robyn + Tim for finding the meaning of TRue LOVe, as found on a shirt I found.
The shirt appears to be covered in other instructions for making, I believe, an alligator costume which, you never know, if actively worn while sipping a cold beverage in the sun or vigorously dancing with a hat and cane, might lead to true love between someone and someone provided the meditation route doesn’t work out.
The random patches, the extra long drop hems, the shape of the sleeves, the actually pretty advanced quality of the construction—I don’t know why but I approve. The meaning of this shirt, in general, I would like to know more about.
1972, Italy, architects, all still concerned with simple clothing systems. And now, there’s a kit for that:
Vestirsi è facile, or, Dressing Is Easy, was another tantalizing clothing system made by Archizoom Associati. I have no idea why the absurd aesthetic of the earlier Nearest Habitat System gave us American Apparels on every corner, but this system, which is to me infinitely more stylish and actually adaptable, seems to be available to us now only through limited supply chains such as Miyake Plantation, Kenzo Jap, Flax (kind of), and certain more discerning purveyors of world beat trimmer garb.
Please, allow me to present that for you again:
Assumed here as a basic element is a square piece of cloth. This first logical use of the raw material eliminates waste, enabling one to operate on a geometrically defined element with which one can plan, rejecting imitative operations of any anthropometrical importance.
Indeed, it is only by abandoning traditional sartorial methods still so ubiquitous in industrial production that we shall be able to cope with and correctly utilize productive technologies and methods, drawing planning criteria directly from the nature of the productive process.
In this case the first fundamental operation is to consider the fabric and the cloth to be like a continuous ribbon of unvarying width, and not an indefinite surface from which portions are haphazardly cut out.
And so forth, and so on, published in Casabella, December 1973, and Zaaaaang.
The best news is that there is also a film for this, also called “Vestirsi è facile”. A film! But I can’t seem to manage a way to view it….And I’m having trouble finding sufficient information. This deal is so rad. I came across mention of it in a book, Italian New Wave Design, by Andrea Branzi, 1984, one I recommend. So this is a shout out–if anyone has some more information, please share it!
OK, the year is still 1971. You are now a group of Florentine architects who began with a focus on radical architecture and urban research, and you have lately taken up an interest in clothes.
Cuuuute. Despite your day to day choice of sensible tweed suits and slouchey knits for your own body coverage, your idea for others is to make a simple clothing system based on slimfitting bodystockings over which decorated overalls could be worn.
You sketch it out, see that such a system would look nice in empty corridors on your own, in pairs. It would work with bald men with bushy beards, with haired men with bushy beards. It would probably work when you cast a shadow against a wall. Or when you visit skyscrapers, when you do yoga, when you play a stringed instrument.
You think to yourself, This idea works. Let’s test it out on some handsome neighbors. Sure enough:
Ka-blam! Sans understocking.
Hot damn. This last picture is from 1972, boys and girls. Nineteen Seventy-Two. And so, the American Apparel problem was born, never to look so very fine again. Oh man, oh man.
Aequum, Ashley Thayer’s installation of hand-dyed textiles, quilts, and paintings is opening tomorrow night at Tartine Bakery. We are delighted, as well, to offer a selection of Ashley’s scarves and napkins here at the shop….we’re also planning to offer a workshop with Ashley to come soon down the line. Much to enjoy!