Image: Detail of Swedish Påsöm, a wool embroidery in strong and lush floral patterns.
In the latest episode of The Selvedge Podcast, we stop and smell the roses, discovering on the way an enduring connection between fabric, flowers and philosophy. Polly Leonard, founder and editor of Selvedge Magazine, will be talking to a textile researcher who has dedicated her career to preserving and recreating hand-painted chintz, an expert on South Asian textiles, an advocate for the traditional Swedish dress, and the curator of the Dom Robert Tapestry Museum in the South of France.
Image: In the podcast Renuka Reddy discusses the technique, design and aesthetic of Chintz © Redtree Textile Studio
This episode focuses on the theme of ‘Flower Power’. Cicero said, ‘If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.’ There is no denying the truth in this statement as gardens and flowers have provided inspiration and escape for aeons, and these words certainly ring true in the times we currently live in. In the past year, people have found particular and renewed solace in the green spaces that surround them — closely observing the same views from our home office windows, the flowers and trees as the seasons turned. Indeed, once lockdown eased, it was garden centres and nurseries that many of us braved first. Our forebears understood that to delight in nature is to nourish the mind, and this episode discusses the abounding inspiration flowers provide for artists and textile designers in particular.
Image: Detail of a tapestry created by Dom Robert, a Benedictine monk, who is celebrated for having helped revive the Aubusson Tapestry Manufacture.
Dr Sylvia Houghteling has written about this issue in Selvedge, where she traces the shared floral lineage of 17th-century chintz and crewel-work embroidery. The 17th century was an era of exploration and discovery when live plants were brought to Europe to populate newly-founded botanical gardens, leading to an increase in excitement and enthusiasm around all things floral, and these seedlings bloomed into a shared style across Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Read more about English crewel work embroidery and Indian chintz in Selvedge Issue 97: Red.
New episodes of the podcast are released on the 1st day of each month.
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