Monday, August 29, 2016

Museum Monday

1766 Block & Roller Printed Sewing Rollup 612.2011.82

  This week's Museum lucky number is 612~ a pretty mid 18th c Huswiff, or sewing roll. M'Ladye would use this to carry her sewing needfuls within, and carry with her in her pocket. 

It measures just 3 & half inches wide, and 13 & half inches fully rolled out lengthwise.

 I love these early sewing rolls~ they are really alot of fun to explore as usually they were made from tiny scraps and lovingly stitched by the Ladye who used it. This side view you can see the edges of the roll are whipped, and from photo above, you can see the worn spot where the linen lining is showing thru the outer fabric. Early printed fabrics are a passion of mine, and this block print is so colorful and full of motion!

 Many a time, the owner's initials were embroidered inside, as is the case here. Such tiny perfect little stitches throughout~ just look at the stitching by my thumbnail!  This roll up came to the Museum as part of an entire trunk of clothing, shoes and books that belonged to Mary Wistar. 

 As we start to unroll it, one gets a glimpse of that really great blue green polished calicoe~ the color is unique, its original hue being a combination of yellow printed over indigo to achieve a deep green~ but over the years the yellow has faded leaving patches of blue now.

 A flap that coves the opening of the thread channels can be seen partially covering Mary's initials. What's shown tho, is the bottom of the thread channels, the openings are at the other end, yet to be unrolled, so this flap covers a little pocket behind those.  These sewing rollups are a wealth of little hidden secret compartments!

 A little more unrolled and 6 little channels can clearly be seen, the microscopic stitches made in contrasting cream thread.

 Two rolls out now and some other interior compartments are beginning to show~

 Two flaps can be seen, each edged in tiny cream whip stitches~ as well,  the last little bit of the outer covering has been pieced in. Mary has done her best to match the designs up of the two pieces.

 A final roll out reveals a gathered pouch pocket and wool leaves for pins and needles

 A pretty cream silk bow covers the center drawstring of the little pouch pocket

 A bit moth eaten, but two taupe wool leaves edged in blue silk buttonhole stitching still hold pins and needles.
 Underneath the pouch pocket, is yet another pocket

  The pouch opens up to hold quite a bit...just think of how stuffed this little thing would have been when in use!  I can say, that for myself, if I was using it, there is no WAY it would roll up so nice and tight!

 I just had to include a close up of the stitches on the pocket edge~ so microscopically tiny, Mary was for sure blessed with good eyesight!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016


2016 Santa Fe Indian Market
 You may have noticed there was no Museum Monday post yesterday~ that's because I'm was just too exhausted from attending Indian Market this weekend. It was absolutely fantabulous~ my words and pictures can no way even begin to describe it. Indian Market is held each year on the 3rd weekend in August and encompasses the historic Santa Fe Plaza and ooozes out to surrounding Museums and galleries all around Santa Fe. Just at the Plaza alone this year there was close to 1000 booths, each occupied by outstanding  Native American artists. The prices I thought were quite reasonable, and in alot of cases, on the low side~ total bargains could be had, even on the first day. There was everything from jewelry to sculpture, beadwork, pottery, clothing, knives....flutes and drums~ the Market is the largest in the US, and brings Native Americans from all over the country~ from Alaska & Maine to Florida and California and all parts inbetween.  The person standing there with a smile selling their wares, is the same person who made it, and theres nothing more special than that!  Picture above was while standing in line to order some Navajo fry bread for lunch on Sunday. Here are some pictures of some of my favorite booths~

 Al Chandler brought his expertly painted buffalo hides and drums~
 The top of a gorgeous Navajo wood carving by DuWyane Chee Jr.~ absolutely spectacular~  it was probably 3 foot tall~ carved from a cedar stump

 Beverly Moran standing at her booth~ she is from the  Standing Rock Sioux tribe and is wearing some of her gorgeous traditional beadwork. She said this dress is 44 pounds
 Just as beautiful from the back
 And being a dollmaker, the Growing Thunder booth (Assiniboine/Sioux) was my absolute favorite~ Grandma, Mother & Daughter all selling their gorgeous beadwork at the same time. Joyce, on the left, makes THE most beautiful dolls.....the one on the left sold the first day, and won Best of Show for Beadwork. The doll on the right was $10,000.00 and worth every penny....especially when one realizes it takes Joyce a year to make. Here is a closeup~
I left it BIG so click on it to enlarge it~ just amazing in every sense of the word.

I really loved this katsina painting by David John

  Bronze sculpture by Kathleen Wall~ Jemez Pueblo....

 Sunday was the Traditional Clothing Contest~ I was so busy taking pictures I didnt get their names, I do apologize~ I am hoping the results will be printed soon and I can add them
 It was really interesting to see the differences between the different tribe's clothings~ every little part has a specific meaning and purpose

I was quite impressed with the market this year~ I had never been to it, and always heard what a nightmare the traffic was.... and that everything would be so expensive...but I really wanted to go and am so glad I did. I drove to Santa Fe each morning and arrived at the Plaza around 7am, both days the traffic at that time in the morning was near non existent. The visitors were nice~ from every country in the world I think.....the artists in the booths were extremely nice and personable~ they were all keen to answer questions and chat up your day! There were Native American dancers of all ages and tribes on just about every corner of the Market....Great music and food....just an all out GREAT time to be had~ even if you didnt want to buy a thing.....but if you do appreciate Native American Arts~ there is simply no better place in the world to see them all at the same time!

Monday, August 22, 2016

Bath Textile Summer School 2017

Only 2 spots left!
Registration opened on the 20th for my 2017 17th c beadwork class and Oh my Golly! as of this morning only two seats are left~ so if you are up for power beading in the beautiful city of Bath, England next year, you can hop on over and register here

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Exploring an 1820 Mache Doll, a final look

Back to that Note......

 So we return to that mysterious note buried within m'Ladys bodice. Its always exciting to find notes on clothing and things~ original notes, from the hands of the owner, and especially when one is not expecting them to be there! This is the difference between buying from a dealer and buying straight from an estate~ one usually gets minimal facts about an object from the latter, they're just interested in selling or liquidating as quickly as possible.

 Once the bodice was unpinned in the back, I easily retrieved the note from behind the cloth covering over the shoulderplate. There is a grubby dirt line on the shoulderplate ~ but all is quite clean and tidy underneath the protection of the bodice, and we can see there is not much fading to the finish overall. The modeling of this Ladye is wonderful and deep~ her collar bone can clearly be seen.

 And if I could take off the cover, would reveal two separately molded breasts as well....but I'm not unpicking the covering, so no need to shield your eyes~

 Beneath the covering is an original period tag, written in ink ~
"Patience" belonged to Mary Ann Forbes Hotchkiss Loaned by Mrs. Hotchkiss 12/28/50. 
The tag here, written by her Mother, Elizabeth in 1850. The child mortality rate was high during this period, and obviously Mary Ann's dolly held a special place of sacred honor in her family after her death in 1839 at the age of 12.
 There is another note stitched to dollys dress, this one reads~

 'doll belonged to Mary Ann Forbes Hotchkiss 1827-1839'

 She is a Grande Ladye too,  standing just a bit over 25" tall, it is difficult to get all of Patience in one picture~

 Her finish is all original, and still as clean and bright as the last day Mary Ann kissed her cheek. Her features are so clean and crisp, she was most definitely one of the first dolls to come from the 3 part mold used to shape her mache head

 Both her pretty ears are exposed, and she retains the deep comb marks of her elaborate molded coiffure. A trio of curls grace each side of her head

 Graceful brush strokes of hair shadow the hairline around her face.

 The deep and artistic sculpting of her features can be appreciated here~ if only Patience could speak~ I am sure she would have some wonderful stories to tell~

Mary Ann resides at the family plot, along with her parents and siblings at the Grove Street Cemetery in New Haven Connecticut~

Monday, August 15, 2016

Museum Monday!

1839 Embroidered Baby Shoes 931.2016.54

 This week's Museum Monday lucky number is 931!  This weeks object is a cuti~patuti pair of embroidered wool baby shoes. Wools were very popular for baby things, but do not easily survive to modern day times~ they were, and still are, a favorite morning, noon or midnight snack for pesky insects. This little pair are in wonderful condition, and quite fashionable for the child who originally wore them.

 Tiny petit point embroidery covers the vamps and sides done in  multi colors of wool that are still, for the most part, quiet bright. Square toes and silk bows on the the throats are common 1830 design elements. Not only is the embroidery wool, but the base fabric is a pretty taupe wool lined with linen. The nap has worn away in some areas, but is still full and fuzzy around the embroidery.

 One could purchase shoes ready made, or work the embroidery themselves and take to a shoemaker to have made up into slippers. Embroidery patterns such as the one above were common in the monthly ladies magazines and could also be purchased. A quick google of 'Berlin Work embroidery patterns' will have you drooling in seconds!
 These little baby shoes are shaped slightly different than the adult pair above~ these have a side seam and additional ankle straps.
 Each strap has a single eyelet hole for a lace to pass thru. These have been bound round in a pale blue silk. Fully lined in linen with linen footbeds~ nothing but the best for this wee one to wear.

 This pair of shoes has an added drawstring that runs round the throats within the silk ribbon binding that tie in the center, inside the shoe. Of all my early children's shoes, this is the only pair like this I have with inner tape ties. While trying to get a better photo of them, I removed a tissue down deep in the toe, and look! I am absolutely thrilled to find a little hand written tag of provenance hidden there.

 Soles typical of the period, late 1830s to early 1850s with very square toes and round heels.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Exploring an 1820 Mache Doll

Reattaching m'Lady's Legs

 I have a nice stash of damaged turn of the 20th c kid gloves~ they are great for making doll bodies, clothes, shoes~ and making repairs. They are quite common at flea markets, and can be had for pennies, especially if you ask if they have any singles.

 I picked a dark hunter green kid and cut a wide strip with pinking shears~it needs to cover enough area above and below the join to give the glue a nice foundation to stick to. I will position the kid at the bottom level of the dark blue strip already on the leg, and want it to extend at least a quarter of an inch above the join, so that measure is how wide I cut my strip.

  A bit of cotton padding is carefully inserted between top and bottom leg to cushion and solidify the joint.

 The glue I am using is my staple~ Gane Brothers Yes! Paste. I love this paste~ its acid free and archival, goes on where you want it, and stays there. (This is the same glue I use to mount my embroideries).  A thin layer on the back of the strip is all that is needed~

 It is wrapped around once, being careful to keep the seam to the back. One thing I  love most about this glue is that it grabs immediately~there is no need to sit and hold something forever.  I was also careful not to cover the scallop edge of the earlier strip underneath of it.

 A quick little ribbon bandage tied around to keep all tidy while I attach the other leg the same way. It will get a thin layer of cotton wadding as well at the knee.
 The cotton wadding also helped to adjust her left leg to the correct length~ so standing both her feet touch the floor evenly. (They don't look the same length in the picture because the right leg is up higher than the left on padding). If you are repairing legs like this, you must also be sure to keep the toes off the edge of your surface, and be sure they are pointing forward as the glue dries.

Old legs ready to go walking again! These old kid bodies are so rigid and stiff~ aside from the years of age, the tannins in the wood fill really dry out the kid and make it brittle. They can certainly not be posed in any way!  If I would have attached her legs in line with her upper thighs, her feet would be about 8" the natural thing would be to grab the thighs and squeeze them together....which would result in two legs broken off at the hips most likely. So I adjusted the angle at attachment, and she does look slightly bow~legged now, but not noticeable at all with her pantaloon on, and standing her feet are nice and straight, and together!