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SWATCH: LODEN CLOTH

SWATCH: LODEN CLOTH

Renowned for its resilience and deep green colour, loden cloth has been produced in the Tyrolean Mountains since the Middle Ages. It was said to have a strength and resilience that would protect the wearer from everything; from severe mountain weather to sword blows, and accidentally rolling into the fire when wrestling! Legend has it that in the 8th century the Emperor Charlemagne dramatically demonstrated the value of loden cloth when he had his nobles wearing their court finery ride out across country for a day’s hunting. When they returned at twilight their silks and brocades were sullied and torn; only...

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FULL MOON

FULL MOON

National dress may be many things – symbolic, traditional and time honoured – but rarely is it considered a thing of beauty in its own right. Worn under sufferance by pageant queens and others on parade, the pages of Vogue are not its natural habitat: at least, not until Kim Kyung Soo was invited by Vogue Korea to create a shoot that focused on the Hanbok. Kim Kyung Soo’s Full Moon Story takes this traditional Korean garment, which has evolved over 1,600 years, and captures it at its most refined in images that have a calm, lyrical quality. Given centre...

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SPUN GOLD

SPUN GOLD

Saffron is the most expensive dye stuff in the world. It has a history infused with legend and romance: Cleopatra would bathe in it, Ancient Egyptians would sacrifice it to their gods, reference to it can be found in a 10th century healing manual and in the 14th century it sparked a 14 week war. Its ability to dye hair, textiles, even fingernails a deep, glowing yellow has been exploited to gain status since Roman times. It has a contemplative side too. Theravada Buddhist monks dress in saffron robes, while for Hindus the colour represents light and the quest for knowledge. For...

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KNIT FOR PEACE

KNIT FOR PEACE

Guest post by Kate Myerscough There is something meditative about the careful counting of stitches, repeating the same actions one after the other. In fact, this is something that health studies agree with, as the benefits of knitting are more than ever being compared those of mindfulness. A recent study conducted by Knit for Peace concluded that knitting lowers blood pressure, induces a sense of wellbeing, counters depression and slows the onset of dementia; quite a list for a relatively simple task. The value of activities like knitting and crochet lie in the fact that they are manual and creative tasks...

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BEHIND THE UK'S HOTTEST TAPESTRY

BEHIND THE UK'S HOTTEST TAPESTRY

A documentary following Chris Ofili’s lengthy journey making The Caged Bird’s Song, a magnificent large-scale tapestry recently unveiled at London’s National Gallery, is now available to watch on BBC. Titled Imagine, the film sees Alan Yentob track the artist’s process as he sets about transposing his famously fluid watercolour drawings into wool. Ofili didn’t do it by himself of course. Instead, he enlisted the skills and expertise of master tapestry weavers at Edinburgh’s renowned Dovecot Studios. Five weavers worked on this tapestry in Scotland over the course of almost three years, depicting Ofili’s stylistic imagery inspired by classical mythology, contemporary ‘demigods’...

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