Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Grande Opening Tomorrow!!

I hope you can stop by the new "Early Works Mercantile" tomorrow evening for the Grande Opening! Mifs Goody Partlett will be there, along with all sorts of early 18th & 19th Century inspired dollys and crafts! You can find me here:

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Marseilles Quilted Petticoats, Marcella Cloth & Manchester Goods.....

Most people are acquainted with, or at least have heard the term "Marceilles Quilting"- which refers to elegant and superbly hand quilted Boutis (quilts) and Coats (petticoats) from Marseilles, France at the beginning of the 18th century. These were very highly prized, and
subject to much taxation and import restrictions by other countries. These early pieces were entirely hand stitched, using 2 fabric layers, a top and backing, with stuffing in between. Hundreds and hundreds of hours were spent int he making up of a single coverlet or petticoat. This made them extremely expensive, not to mention, it was very hard to keep up with demand, especially as the fashions changed from season to season....

Towards the middle of the 18th century, several London firms began to offer premiums for those entrepreneurs who could find a way to duplicate the elaborate quilting on a loom. NO one thought it could ever be done. Transactions of the Society for Encouragement of the Arts, in 1783, published this 'historical' account:

"When the proposition was first made in the Society, of offering a premium to encourage the making in the loom, an imitation of that Species of Needlework, long known by the name of Marseilles Quilting, it was almost rejected as visionary and impossible; but the laudable spirit of
enterprize, which has always distinguished the Society, determined them to publish the premium, and the consequence has justified the venture. The manufacture is now so thoroughly established and so extensive, being wrought in all the different materials of Linen, Woolen,
Cotton, and Silk, that few persons of any rank, condition, or fix......exist who do not use it in some part of their clothing"

They called this loom woven variety, 'Marseilles Cloth', and some shortened this even more to 'Marcella'. It was woven of double cloth with an extra heavy cording weft between the layers. By the 1780's, merchants in America were ordering this cloth by the yard, and could even choose
from different numbered patterns.

This example is the cotton variety, and is made up into a petticoat held by Colonial Williamsburg. As you can see, from a distance, it is hard to discern if it is hand quilting, or if it has been woven on a loom. This is amazing stuff to me! The 18th c was by no means an era of mechanical
marvels....but it is still mind boggling to me, how anyone could have figured out how to weave this on a loom.

This next example, is a bit of a folding pattern card prepared by Thomas Smith in 1783, of cotton Manchester Goods, that is part of the Winterthur Museum Library.

The coat in the Colonial Williamsburg collection bears striking resemblance to some of these pattern swatches, as does one of my examples here at the LRM.

This particular petticoat has full American provenance, and came to me with its original green brocaded open robe, c1760s. It was most definitely ordered, or brought back to America from England. Examples of Marseilles cloth anything are few and far between, which one may wonder why, if they were so common then, they can scarce be found today? So many common articles of clothing have not survived, as they were worn literally to rags....but in studying my example here, I have come to the conclusion these did not wear time well.

There are several areas of darning on the back, as the silk top threads have worn away leaving the cording to jump out at its leisure. And on the outside, if you look closely, the thin pink silk has worn down on nearly every diamond, showing the cream of the cording beneath.

I cannot imagine these silk ones could be washed with any kind of good outcome. The cotton variety were said to have been very popular for men's waistcoats and summer wear.

The bottom half of the design, imitates the elaborate quilting with floral bouquets and swags, with the top half's ground done fully in a diamond pattern.

If you enlarge this picture, you can make out the tiny pink silk threads that imitate quilting. It is easy to see why these flat goods were so popular~ they were much more affordable that real quilting, and one did not have to wait long for them to be produced. They could be ordered up in the latest fashionable styles, in yard goods, and clothing. One must always take into account, that anything ordered by Americans took 7, 8, or even 9 full months to make its way across the Atlantic on a big Schooner, and once in port, was literally swarmed over like bees on honey!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Be Ye a cutter????

So many occurrences of 'cutting' have come to my attention lately, that I feel compelled....nay-obligated, to address this current fad here on my blog. This is a subject near and dear to my heart, that has forever tormented me beyond belief.

What exactly do I mean by 'cutting', you ask? I use the term 'cutting' to refer to a person taking an otherwise structurally sound piece of olde, antique clothing, and literally cutting it up to use for other projects- like quilting, patchwork and doll clothing. Lately, there is a new phenomena, of online sellers purchasing clothing to which they in turn cut into squares and strips to sell to unknowing doll makers and craftsmen.

To say it bluntly, THIS IS WRONG.

I totally, 150% , support the boycott of any seller that has such blatant disregard for the historical importance of an object- for once a piece of clothing has been cut into its basic
elements, once it has been reduced from its conceived utilitarian purpose of covering the human body- it can no longer be tied to a certain place in time and history. It looses all its past significance- its use, and purpose......and is now just a pile of flat textile. Many times, in the study of a textile alone as a woven piece of cloth, so much of its history is learned by how it was made up- what it had 'become.' What a piece of fabric is made up into- be it a dress or apron or coat...can specifically date the fabric just by cut (style) alone. To take that away from a piece of
clothing, leaves it to float in space- with practically no worth, no home.

I do agree, that once a person buys 'something', it is theirs to do with as they please, it just pains me so, how people these days can be so ignorant and selfish. There are plenty of re production fabrics, and finely made modern fabrics, that with a little work, can be made to look nice and olde, like what we all like to see our precious olde dollys in. It is perfectly O.K. to make things from scraps~ to reuse precious olde long as they ARE that..precious olde BITS.....and not an early piece of clothing.

Many articles of clothing around the 1900s were sized and weighted with metallic substances, which has cause them to shred badly- some call it melting- in these cases, what more honor could a person do, but to take what usable parts remain, and make something beautiful from them. Cutting a garment that is not beyond all repair is a totally different story, and when we are talking clothing prior to 1850, these should not be cut at all!

I beg of you, plead with you all, to not allow this horrible fad to continue- history is being
lost forever, and once lost, can NEVER be replaced.

Do NOT buy from sellers or doll makers who specifically cut up otherwise perfectly good clothing to use in their crafts.

And if you are reading this, and are thinking of doing the 'unthinkable' for your next project, please, please..... pleeeeease~ do NOT!

Monday, April 13, 2009

New Dollys & Current 'projects'

Hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. We had a nice wet snow, which we really needed. Its all gone already, and everything is back to being green. Hope you will stop by the TDIPT Mercantile tomorrow evening of the 14th, to see 3 new precious dollys I will have to offer.....
Here is a picture of the mural I am painting going down to my studio.....not to 'Rufus'-y looking yet. I haven't had time to work on it for nearly 2 weeks now~ don't know where the time goes! I have been sick alot lately, the whales got painted early one morning, about 1am, while everyone else was sleeping. I figured~ why waste time rolling around AWAKE in the bed. I still have much to do on it~ this wall will have a house in the foreground above the whales there, and I need to do something with that hideous tree. I am not happy with how the foreground tree trunks came out, but I'm not worrying about it until I get finished with them, I am hoping they will look better with their sponged on foliage. In any case, it does look much better than plain ol cement!

We have been rearranging the line of the fencing outside~ Josh is trying sooo hard to pull up the t-post. He was hopping up and down on the jack with all his weight and it would hardly budge, but he finally got it out! Tootie & Puddle, 2 of my drakes, went to live with friends of ours, as 3 males is just not good for only one female duck. Squeak is already soooo much happier. We have also culled down to just one rooster, for now anyways~ with my current luck, every one of the chicks will be a rooster!

Last year one of our neighbors cows got out, and they ended up roping her right in the middle of our this year, a new fence is going up around the garden, before Jayson plants a single seed!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Spring Pips....

We are celebrating this Holy Week with our coming of Spring. The children are all looking foreword to Easter Sunday, for the bunny, yes, but they also have been taught the real reason for Easter. It is perfect timing, as we see God's handiwork everywhere we look. Even though autumn is my most favorite time of the year, I do love Spring~ all the flowers starting to bloom, the birds coming back to sing their sweet songs~ like our little part of the world is awaking from its long winters sleep. One of the things the children do to help the birds coming back to nest, is to give our dog Yetti a nice good comb out.

As you can see, they put is hair up in the trees for the little birds to come get for their nests. Our Easter trees..... He loves to be brushed.

Yetti is SUCH a big sweetie~ he is a Great Pyrenees. He thinks the children & chickens are his flock, and everywhere they go, there is Yetti too. We got him as a pup, right before I had Pip, so they have grown up together

If you stop brushing to early, he will kindly put his paw up on your shoulder until you start up again! Pip dressed the little apple tree she is standing by, and her sister Emma ran around collecting the run away fur balls for the other trees~ she was too fast for me to get a picture of.

We cant celebrate Spring without new baby chicks of coarse! These little ones just hatched from the incubator on the 4th & 5th. We had one broody hen, but she decided after 4 days and nights on her eggs, that she had had enough. The children were amazed when they started to hatch~ they were all glued to the little glass window in the top of it to watch them pip their shells. Its pretty amazing!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

eBay SPECIALS, and a new place to find me.....

I have carried over my spring cleaning to eBay~ you can see some super l*o*w* prices here

AND!!!!!!! How do you like my new banner above? I made it today for my page on an AWESOME new group site, the Early Works Mercantile . The Grande opening is set for May 1st~ so keep in touch and I will be posting the link. This is a new juried site with emphasis and focus on the 18th & early 19th centuries.....I'm very excited about it!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Arent they just the sweetiest lil spookies? Ivy & Truk are in my ETSY store today, if youve got a Halloween low-light ;)