Issue 76 Trade Winds
TRADE WINDS ARE THE PREVAILING patterns of winds that blow north-east in the northern hemisphere and south-east in the southern. Once sails allowed ships to travel farther, these winds carried textiles around the world establishing trade routes. In this issue we explore this cross-pollination of ideas made possible by trade. Linda Baumgarten, curator of textiles and costumes at Colonial
Williamsburg, examines the American vehemence for Indian chintz in the 19th century. Architect Dr. Robin Williams introduces us to the remarkable engineering that dominates the Savannah waterfront, drawing parallels between it and that of the Leeds and Liverpool canal – both built to serve King Cotton. At the dawn of the industrial revolution these two regions, separated by over 4,000 miles, were linked by shared humidity, ingenuity and tenacity. Their relationship as well as the invention of the Cotton Gin in Georgia and the Spinning Jenny in Lancashire, changed the world forever.
Today migration is often painted in black and white terms: it is, however, more complicated as positive outcomes can be found in the cross fertilization of ideas. We look to the east and find traces of French tradition in exquisite Vietnamese embroidery. Favourable results of migration are also found in the batik of Pekalongan, Java, where sophisticated designs demonstrate influences from Chinese and Indian merchants as well as Dutch settlers. In our feature North and South, the partnership between Finnish designer Tuulia Mäkinen and Guinean Hamidou Diallo caught our attention for their mix of a cool northern aesthetic and hot southern energy, giving their textiles a contemporary African vibe. Finally, we touch on the meditative benefits of textiles with a look at Kimsooja’s art practice, and look forward to our Craft Spa symposium in association with London Craft Week, 5th of May. I do hope you can join us at the event.
Polly Leonard, Founder