Hawthorne & Heaney visits Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia

We like to keep our interests broad here at Hawthorne & Heaney so The British Museum’s current exhibition, Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia, looked appealing to us. On from the 14th September 2017 to the 14th January 2018 it looks at the nomadic tribes who flourished between 800 and 200 BC, displaying various examples of their gold jewellery, clothing, weapons and living equipment.

The exhibition is spread across 4 large rooms, with carefully illustrated videos and child friendly sections of signage. Whilst walking round there is a subtle soundtrack of wind blowing playing in all the room to really add effect the the visuals you see.

 

It starts off with a little introduction about the Scythians, which was a collective name for different tribes that spoke Iranian, and shared a similar lifestyle and dress. Little has been previously known about these people who controlled a vast region of northern China all the way to the Black sea, as they had no written language, but since burial sites have been found and the permafrost preserved most objects scientist and historians have started to piece together a look into their life.

They were sophisticated crafts people and fearsome warriors who lived in tents and herded sheep, tradition was a focal point around whatever they did, as they used to bury the dead with all they needed for the afterlife. They had a strong bond with their own horses and often they were buried along with the owners as they believed the bond carried through to the afterlife.

Scythians with horses under a tree. Gold belt plaque. Siberia, 4th–3rd century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin.

 

The jewellry on display was stunning gold that was usually either hammered and polished by hand or cast using a technique using cloth and clay. Gold was associated with the sun and power and most of the scenes buckles and decorative horse saddles depicted were scenes of mythical animals killing ordinary animals, this was believed to symbolise concern over preservation of world order. The items are remarkably well preserved and some still contain their original turquoise or blue glass inlays.

 

Deer-shaped gold plaque. Barrow 1, Kostromskaya, Kuban region. Second half of the 7th century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin.

 

Gold plaque with hare hunt. Kul’ Oba, northern Black Sea region, first half of the 4th century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin.

 

Opposite these there is a bit of information about Tsar Peter the first, who sent exhibitions to southern Siberia and found the burial sites. After this he ordered anything gold found around there was to be sent to him,where he documented and recorded and stored all the items. Some of the watercolours used to document the items are also on display.

Woman’s shoe. Leather, textile, tin, pyrite crystals, gold foil, glass beads. Burial mound 2, Pazyryk, Altai mountains, southern Siberia, late 4th–early 3rd century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin

 

What I found most interesting was the clothing and textiles that were displayed. One of the burial sites that was found contained what they believed to be a Chief and his wife. The clothing was elaborately decorated with punched, gold crouching panther pieces and a lot of the fur that they wore, a variety of squirrel, leopard, and other animals, was dyed using traditional natural dyes such as indigo and cochineal. Other items of particular interest were the highly decorated shoes, head gear and the fake beards the men were buried with.

False beard. Mound 2, Pazyryk, Altai mountains, southern Siberia, late 4th–early 3rd century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin.
Man’s headgear and illustration showing how it may have been worn. Burial mound 2, Pazyryk, Altai mountains, southern Siberia. Late 4th–early 3rd century BC. © The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg, 2017. Photo: V Terebenin. Reconstruction drawing by E V Stepanova.

The beards were of particular speculation because scans and the preservation of the mummified bodies showed that they were often clean shaven and both men and women were heavily tattooed. Applique onto woolen items were heavily featured as well although these didn’t survived as well as others.

What tribes they couldn’t make and produce themselves they traded and stole from other tribes. The most highly prized item was Chinese patterned silk, some of these fragments have survived. The exhibition also touches on the weapons and armour that was used, the bond with their horses and the influences from other cultures such as the Greeks, and Persians. Eventually they were superseded by other nationalities and tribes as new traditions got introduced the old ones vanished and formed what we know as the mongol tribes and others.

 

Over all the exhibition is really informative and covers a wide variety of interests and is running till the 14th January 2018 at The British Museum.

All photos are from The British Museum Blog.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton

The Fashion and Textiles Museum, London, has just opened an exhibition dedicated to Louise Dahl- Wolfe, an American photographer who is credited with modernising fashion photography. The exhibition spans the the whole of the long gallery as well as part of the upper area. It looks at Dahl-Wolfe’s early works and how she defined the image of the post war women. It has over 100 photographs on display which some contain the work from various designers such as Chanel, Balenciaga and Dior.

Located in the long gallery, you must first pass a room on the left which currently has a small display of work from Wallace Sewell, who designed the upholstery fabric for Transport for London, continuing on you walk through a corridor of Dahl-Wolfe’s colour Harper’s Bazaar covers and enter a large open space full of beautifully framed photos. The airiness of the room allows the work to breath and gives you space to enjoy it.

The gallery displays mainly black and white image from Dahl-Wolfe’s career as well as a selection of coloured work. Dahl-Wolfe trained in San Francisco’s Art Institute in 1914, and it was here that she took classes on anatomy, composition and colour theory fundamentals. These proved to aid her later in life when starting out in photography.

Dahl-Wolfe’s first photo to be published, Mrs Ramsey, was in Harper’s Bazaar’s November 1933 issue. Mrs Ramsey was Dahl-Wolfe’s neighbour when her and her husband moved to Tennessee. As with a lot of Dahl-Wolfe’s photos there is an element of calmness about them whilst simultaneously displaying the soul and character of her subject.

Mrs Ramsey,Tennessee-Smokey Mountians,USA,1931

Dahl-Wolfe started working at Harper’s Bazaar from 1936 until 1958. During this time they published 600 coloured photographs, 3,000 black and white images and 86 front covers taken by the artist. During her Hollywood period, 1938-1946,Dahl-Wolfe shot on her Rolleiflex camera using natural lighting and had her models posing outside, providing an alternative to the “clever lighting and retouching”1  that was already apparent within the industry.

Even within the black and white photos Dahl-Wolfe took, the texture and material of the clothing still stood as as one of her key focal points. This was achieved by clever set dressing and good use of composition within the photographs.

Continuing through the exhibition it looks at Dahl-Wolfe’s era within Fashion photography, 1938-1949. When Dahl-Wolfe started, fashion photography was still among its early stages, this meant that there was room to develop and evolve the practice. Took in a variety of settings including Arizona, California Desert, North Africa and Mexico Dahl-Wolfe’s photos erd towards simple compositions that compliment the Dior and Balenciaga dresses.

Dahl-Wolfe had a knack for capturing her subjects unaware and in seemingly natural movements. Mary Jane Russell, who was one of the most successful fashion models of her time, worked with Dahl-Wolfe for over 12 years, producing 8 Bazaar covers and 100’s of editorials and adverts.

The exhibition has a good amount of information spanning Dahl-Wolfe’s early career and through to her retirement as a photographer. It is running from 20th October- 21st January 2018 at the Fashion and Textiles Museum, London. Prices are £9.90 for adults, £7.70 concessions and  £6 for students (Remember your Student ID).

All images and videos courtesy of Charlotte Pearson (@c_textiles) unless otherwise stated.

[1] Louise Dahl-Wolfe- A style of her own, Fashion and Textile Museum. Pamphlet pg.3. 2017.

Hawthorne & Heaney :Dismantling of a Victorian Mourning Shawl

WHO, WHAT & WHY?

Hawthorne & Heaney was given the Victorian shawl by Sue Thomas from Savile Row bespoke.

HISTORY

In the Victorian era, black was considered the appropriate colour to be worn when mourning the loss of a loved one and in some cultures, this is still the case today. It is believed that the mourning attire was a protection against negative thoughts. By wearing the colour black it also informed family, friends and acquaintances that the wearer had recently lost someone close to them and was a warning not to approach them within this sad period of time. For women, the fashion symbolised the depth of affliction with the colour of clothing indicating the gradual return from black to bold clothing through the hues of purple and violet, this was recognised as the second stage of mourning. The length of time Victorian women wore mourning garments varied on the degree of relationship with the deceased from a week up to a year.

DISMANTLING OF THE SHAWL

The dismantling of the shawl was a very long process as parts of the shawl was originally constructed using an embroidery technique called tambour beading. Tambour is French for drum and is done by using a hook where the fabric is stretched as tight as a drum. The fabric can be stretched by being sewn onto a rectangular frame or placed in a wooden hoop. The Tambour hook makes a chain stitch in a technical order where it will keep each bead securely in place. If the knot or process of the tambour chain stitch was to be done incorrectly then the whole beadwork would come undone. Depending on your experience using the Tambour technique beads can be secured in place very fast this is why a lot of fashion houses such as Dior are well known for using this technique in order to get garments completed on a tight time schedule. To get each bead loose from the shawl the embroidery stitches were cut allowing the bead to be free. Once all the beads were eventually dismantled from the Victorian shawl they were sorted into bags so all the same beads were neatly secured and measured ready to be used again. Below you are able to see photographs of sections from the shawl being dismantled.

NEW PURPOSE

It is very important to Hawthorne & Heaney that the beads are used in another exciting project. This is because of the heritage behind this shawl and the construction that went into the making of it was exquisite. With the shawl being so old it was beginning to fall apart and unable to be restored therefore there was no other option but to take it apart and store the beads safely away until we find a project that will give them a new purpose. We are unsure currently what that project will be but we are sure we will know when the time comes.

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london

Hawthorne & Heaney we are excited to reveal our new venture in producing Bespoke Bridal Fabrics. For the past 5 years, our company has produced the most beautiful embroidery! We have had a lot of experience working in the Bridal industry and through this, have gained an understanding of what is needed to bring a designers idea to life.

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london floral

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london wedding

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london made

We have really established our love and passion for couture. If you are a bridal/couture company, or just someone looking for bespoke bridal embroidery then give us a call on 020 7637 5736 to book an appointment to view our couture samples at our studio in central London.

We would also be happy to come to your studio to show you some of our work!

Please email claire@embroidery.london or call 020 7637 5736 to make your enquiry.

Bridal couture embroidery bespoke custom london couture wedding

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits The V&A: Lockwood Kipling: Arts and Crafts in the Punjab and London

Just as you enter the V&A from the Grand Entrance on Cromwell Road, to your left you will come to this wonderful exhibit about the life of John Lockwood Kipling, Father of the famous poet, Rudyard Kipling. It’s not all that often that you get the opportunity to see this kind of Indian heritage, but on display at this exhibition, your senses are spoilt. Historical pictures of India through the Victorian ages, fused together with Lockwood Kipling’s own illustrations, structural designs and photography of his students in Mumbai.

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 Exhibition entrance, courtesy of V&A
 This exhibition is great for those with keen interests print, architectural design, upholstery, embroidery, textiles (etc) and are in need of inspiration from this rich culture and its prominent history, or those that just want to expand on their knowledge of art history. The exhibit is atmospheric and full of vibrant information, you can easily lose yourself in here for a few hours, it is a fascinating period of history.

Lockwood Kipling was always an active social campaigner for the preservation of Indian arts and crafts, he even brought much of that skill he learnt in India back to England where he worked as an architectural sculptor for the V&A. The terracotta panels created by Lockwood can still be seen on the exterior of the grand V&A building. The perfect place to hold an exhibition about his colourful life.

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Exhibition poster in the museum tunnel and exhibition leaflet from H&H visit to V&A

His passion for the preservation of Indian culture and skill is apparent throughout the entire exhibit, and it is wonderful to see techniques that have been used in traditional Indian culture for centuries. By including the work of his students at the Mayo College, Ajmer, the exhibit shows how his passion and knowledge has been transferred onto his students.

Kipling moved to India in 1865 when the country was under British rule, and at the time the economy was quite unstable. He recognised this uncertainty in his students and encouraged them to channel these feelings into their creativity.

In 1851 he trained as a designer and modeller, which gave him the knowledge which he took to India and applied this to the traditional crafts which he learnt and was able to design beautiful Mosques, some which still stand today. 

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Painting: Entrance to the Mosque of Wazir Khan, by Mohammed Din, 1880, by Mohammed Din. Displayed at the exhibition

The intricate detailing on the architectural work is magnificent to see and his illustration style is timeless! He has captured a moment via drawing as if it were a photograph. A series of images seen at the exhibition depicts local craftsmen doing their everyday using the said skills making creations which later on Lockwood would go on to do himself.

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Illustration: A wood carver from the North West Provinces of British India, by Lockwood Kipling, 1870.
Displayed as a series of natural drawings of craft workers.

If you are interested in how artistic crafts and merit is applied throughout different cultures, or just intrigued to see how ancient skills that are ingrained in the wonderful Indian culture have progressed and evolved over the past 200 years, then this exhibition is a must see.

By Amelia Beaumont-Dodd

Hawthorne & Heaney for Smythson’s London Craft Week Event

In addition to our own classes and exhibiting work at Anderson and Sheppard, we also were demonstrating goldwork at Smythson’s LCW event. They had a series of craftspeople set up in store to show some of the process that their items go through.

At the front of the store, Meg was positioned, drafting and embroidering the Smythson’s ‘S’ into a bespoke badge. This piece will have been drafted, raised, appliqued and embroidered with cutwork bullion.

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A little goldwork embroidery demonstration by @hawthorneheaney 's Meg at Smythson on Saturday for #lcw2017 #embroidery #goldwork

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On another counter, one of their book binders was stationed, explianing the properties of the binding process that thie products go through, the importance of using 2 types of glue for each piece and why they have maintained their hand processes over using machines. Finally they had another lady applying the tissue linings into their envelopes which also all done by hand.

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They also had a lady doing freehand calligraphy, where you could write down your name for her and she would draw it out on a card for you to take home.

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Wonderful calligraphy writing at Smythson as part of London Craft Week #lcw2017 #calligraphy #craft @atmorgan

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There were so many great ways to get involved with Craft Week this year, we cant wait to see what they will have on next year as it gets bigger and bigger each year!

 

Hawthorne and Heaney explore London Craft Week – 3rd – 7th May 2017

London Craft Week opens London’s studios and shops giving you an insight into the amazing industries around the city. By inviting you to see what amazing crafts happen, often behind the scenes with demonstrations and viewings and showing you skills and techniques traditional and recent. Hawthorne & Heaney have been very busy soaking up all that London has to offer this week, so far we have visited:

Nest design at Blacks Club- Soho.

This is an extraordinary interior company, with delightful staff explaining the fabric origins, methods of designing and previous client projects. Nest have an amazing collection of fabrics from all over the world; linens, velvet, silks, lace as well as dyed materials such as shibori and Tussar silk.

If you love fabrics and a variety of them it’s definitely worth heading over to Nest at Blacks to talk about the collection of beautiful samples as well as the great projects they have made.

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Example of a client project in Spring Restaurant, Somerset House (photo taken from Nest design.co.uk) Beautiful lines of stitch, layering and vintage lace are highlighted as well as different opacities of linens.

Christian Louboutin -Mayfair

The Christian Louboutin shop was demonstrating leather tassel making which is part of their personalisation service of the shoe. The construction of these leather tassels was amazing to watch, the demonstrator did not speak English however the skill he had constructing the leather strips into delicate but fun tassels was a great process to watch and learn. It inspires you to have a go at making such decoration as he made it look so easy. (definitely isn’t easy!)

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Example of the hand made leather tassels on a boat style shoe.

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Frette boutique

As you approached Fretta the window display was a wall of work of art with a painter part way through painting a full size design of flowers and leafs

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The experience in Fretta was a treat with very helpful staff showing you around the shop, explaining fabrics, as well as browsing the beautiful luxury fabrics.

I spoke to Lucia Surace (CRM & Marketing Manager) who was able to show me through the personalisation of the collection and previous examples of embroidered items. The quality of fabrics they have there are so lovely, these including, bed linens made from egyptian cotton, throws and blankets made from cashmere, wool and silk, as well as table linens and towels.

Clients for the embroidery personalisation are often for mass for example for cruise ship towels.

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Above right: example of embroidered towels, part of their personalisation service.

Above left: table linens with the popular lace hole boarder.

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Above: photo of Fetta’s embroidered table linen.

I found Fretta well worth a visit to see the style and quality that they produce and to learn from the staff there.

The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles – At Temple Gallery

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Above image: Example of traditional Thai embroidery on garments in at Temple Gallery

The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles was founded by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit within the Grand Palace grounds in Bangkok and officially opened in 2012. This will be the museum’s first London visit, celebrating the Khon, Thailand’s oldest narrative dance forms. This exhibit is placed in the most beautiful building, Temple Gallery, located just a short walk from Temple Station. On display at the exhibit is a wonderful array of various examples of the skill which has been used to make such magnificent garments, passed down through generations, to even make garments suitable to be worn by people now.

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Images above: Examples of the traditional Thai garments on display, as well as a close up of the lavish accessories

In this exhibit, we see cultures come together. There were embroidery techniques that have been apparent in our own culture for centuries, examples of this we see in our heritage museums. What a treat it was to see them on traditional Thai garments in such a wonderful building, and just like us, the skill of all of this has been lovingly passed on through generations, person to person.

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Images above: examples of Goldwork on a traditional Thai collar

The Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles was founded on Her Majesty’s efforts to ensure the preservation of Thailand’s textile arts for future generations. In 1976 the museum was established with the objective to help people in rural areas to gain supplementary income and in doing this, Her Majesty realised just how wonderful and truly unique the hand woven silk by villagers is.

Making A Mackintosh – At Mackintosh

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Above Image: Equipment used by Mackintosh

Glasgow has always been known for its work ethic and producing hand made goods and of course its tireless war efforts. Hard working Glaswegians have been producing Mackintosh coats since 1824!

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Above Image: Demonstration of the rubber glue being applied to pattern pieces

On entering, I was warmly welcomed by the lovely Factory and Production Managers of the Mackintosh factory in Glasgow, Scott Sheridan and John McGuire who have worked for the Mackintosh factory for 40 years. They gave me a fantastic demonstration on how the pattern pieces are glued, attached and arranged to ensure that they are functional and waterproof.

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Above Images: Glue being applied to the button-fly of the coat, then the piece is folded over and a heavy rolling tool is applied to ensure the two pieces have stuck with no air bubbles

The demonstration was very engaging, it was so informative seeing how much time and care goes into one coat. On a basic coat, there is 25 pattern pieces, and each one is passed through different departments in the Glasgow factory before completion. I watched on as they applied glue to the pattern pieces with their index fingers, using a lot of force and pressure to get the technique correct, using the same tools and glue that the people who did it before them would have used.

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Above Image: Example of the pocket patterns, tin of glue and traditional rolling tool

It is very obvious on going to this exhibit to see that Mackintosh is a company of tradition and efficiency. It was a treat for me to be able to see this tradition which has carried on through different generations and also have explained to me how the company has expanded to keep up with popular demands, cultural and even climate changes through the years. Such as detachable collars/hoods, varying fabrics and changes in the way we use our coats and what for. The traditional Mackintosh coats are still made in Glasgow, with the same glue and the same equipment as they always have been.

Shoe Making at Edward Green

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Above images: Left: Demonstration of Andy Peach sewing the two front pieces that make the shoe. Right image: See front seam for example of what Andy is currently working on

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Above Image: Close up of stitching on shoe, done with boar hair

Northampton has always been closely associated with shoemaking and that became very apparent to me upon entering this exhibit at Edward Green and seeing the demonstration. Andy Peach, a fantastic hand sewer who has worked making shoes for Edward Green for over 30 years gave me and a small audience a fantastic demonstration. He was very honest about his work and the methods which he uses. I was able to see him begin the sewing of the two front parts of the shoe together. He carefully inserts a sharp tool into half of the leather, which is the best calf’s leather which has been cut by hand. He then threads Chinese boar hair into that hole to attach the two pieces. He says that they use boar’s hair as over time cotton would rot and these shoes are made to last a lifetime!

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Above Image: Example of the “stirrup” and Andy wearing the shoes pictured above which he is also making

The stirrup is used traditionally to keep everything attached to the knee where most of the work is happening, effectively working like an elastic band, keeping both hands free to focus on the stitching. He works on this piece for 15-20 minutes and tells me that this one small area of the shoe can take up to 2 hours to be completed, which it then it goes on to other departments to be finished and finalised by the staff at the factory in Northampton. The handwork that must go into one pair of shoes was exquisite to see.

Emblem by Rose At St James Pavilion

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Above Image: The screen printing equipment Rose works with

Emblem by Rose is a beautiful independent, up and coming screen printing company. Everything Emblem states to do, is done by Rose entirely on her own, and speaking with her on Thursday made that evident to me. Visitors were even able to commission their own ties if they should wish to. This alone made me feel like Rose is very passionate about what she does and communicates what Emblem as a small independent company is all about.

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Above Images: Rose Demonstrating the printing process with screen and also squeegee

Sadly I didn’t get to this exhibit in time to see any demonstrations, but Rose was wonderful to speak with. She really engaged with her audience and spoke honestly about her work and why she is so passionate about making bespoke designs for her clients. She spoke of how she is always trying out new techniques with mixed media and programs such as Photoshop and Illustrator to make her work more efficient and durable for the client. All imagery is designed and drawn by Rose, before being transferred into a screen to be printed onto silk scarves. Despite not having any demonstration, Rose was very good at explaining the printing process to me, she was a delight to speak with.

London Craft Week will be finishes on Sunday 7th May so see what you can before it is all over this year, click here to go to the website for full listings. We can not wait to see what next year will bring!

Written by Phillipa Lloyd & Amelia Beaumont-Dodd 

 

Hawthorne & Heaney in Conversation with Laura Lees

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Fellow embroiderer, artist and designer Laura Lees is usually found creating highly colourful, fine art pieces furniture pieces but she took a little time away from her usual pursuits to speak with us about her work:

 

Hawthorne & Heaney: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today, we’d like to start by asking you the question we get asked quite a lot of how did you get into embroidery originally?
 
Laura Lees: I applied for a city and guilds embroidery course when I was 17 and fell in love with it then. I found my skills at drawing not exceptional but confident. I found a new level of ability with the needle and thread superior than that of drawing with a pencil.
H&H: And what is it that inspires you?
LL: The way you can transform something from the ordinary to the extraordinary. I love the feel of the threads, the sound the scissors make when they’re cutting fabric, the quality of line and the battering noise and speed of my beloved Bernina industrial sewing machine. most importantly, I love the clarity of heart and mind, the skill involved and the the fact that i am always learning.

H&H: What would you like your students to take away from your class?

LL: A real sense of achievement, pride and enjoyment.

H&H: Where can we see more of your works?

LL: I am preparing for an exhibition to take place at the end of the year, inspired by dutch author Joris Luyendijk s book ‘Swimmimg with Sharks’ which demistifys the financial world of the city banks. This resonated deeply with me, having amongst many others lost my fashion label in the 2008 crash.  I explore the ‘smoke and mirrors’ architectural language of finance by descending on what must be the least understood environment in Europe: the City of London. Taking the habitat of the so-called and self-described Masters of the Universe as my inspiration and translating the visceral world that lives and survives by opacity into tangeable abstract textiles.

H&H: Anything coming up in the pipeline you can share with us?

LL: I have recently launched The Mighty Stitch corporate workshops, The Mighty Stitch embroidery workshops teach teams a new skill, engendering engagement and motivation, ultimately creating a bespoke embroidered piece of art for your workplace. • Simple, supportive instruction • No experience needed, anyone can take part
Participants are encouraged to be playful and experimental – the workshops facilitate collaboration, communication, storytelling, mindfulness, and, most importantly, making a mess! Enhanced work environment we all need a bit of that, i think .

H&H: Thanks again, I’m sure we will be seeing much more of you with all that come up!

 

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Laura also has a Workshop coming up in April which will give the participants the opportunity to be a part of Laura’s work as the pieces created on the day will be encorporated into a new piece which will be exhibited at the RIBA as part of the London Festival of Architecture. Follow the link to secure your place for this intriguing and unusual opportunity:

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‘The Riba workshop is a full day, immersed in urban embroidery.  We will focus on how a city evolves through its inhabitants by learning freehand machine embroidery, hand stitching and applique. The outcome is to create an embroidered image of a building or architectural structure.  

Afterwards, I will explore how a city is fabricated by stitching together the individual and diverse pieces made by workshop participants into a new work to be exhibited a the RIBA as part of @londonfestivalofarchitecture

All artwork will be returned to the participants after the exhibition.
This workshop is part of the programme of events inspired by the exhibition ‘Mies van der Rohe and James Stirling: Circling the Square’. 

Urban Tapestry with Laura Lees, 22 & 23 April, 11am to 4pm
RIBA, 66 Portland Place, London, W1B 1AD
Booking at architecture.com/Workshop

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All images credited to Laura Lees

Hawthorne & Heaney Experiments with Machine Ceremonial Military Embroidery

For quite some time now, we have been playing around with the idea of developing a machine embroidery that would communicate some similar ideas to traditional military style goldwork but in a crisper, more modern way. In true Hawthorne & Heaney style, we didnt just want to go in for a little sample that we could get to work on a small scale, but a big piece that would really hit you in the face, so we settled on a version of the Privy Councillors Coatie.IMG_0804

We wanted the piece to not only have a rich gold look of the original piece , but also the different heights to the stitching and surface details that come with applying bullion individually.

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The colours are worked in layers, adding layers of padding between colours to create light relief.

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Following these processes, the machine then goes back into to add additional details :

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Once all of that is done, we give it a little tidy up and it is complete. To give you a sense of scale this piece is 45 cm high which would be the left hand side of a mens jacket. It is really exciting for us to see a large scale outcome for this technique which has defiantely sparked some subsequent ideas, so stay tuned to see what we do next…

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Hawthorne & Heaney Visits The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined Exhibition at the Barbican

The word vulgar is used to describe common people, lack of sophistication or good taste and reflects someone making explicit or offensive reference to sex or the body.

The “The Vulgar: Fashion Redefined” exhibition curated by Judith Clark and Adam Phillips displays famous looks from the fashion world dating back from the renaissance to current day fashion. The exhibition definitely gets you questioning about why is vulgar such a sensitive area in fashion and what makes something vulgar?

By looking at the definition of vulgar as being common, it also explores the ideas of fashion being common, has it ever been unique? By trying to be different, your fashion exaggerating then turning into a vulgar taste.

The exhibition includes works from designers such as, John Galliano, Pam Hogg,Vivienne Westwood and Yves Saint Laurent. Some of the looks there, I can understand as being vulgar, over the top, makes you wonder why is that necessary and in a way almost a bit disturbing. What I found difficult about the collection, is what do you actually classify as vulgar?

Surely it’s all down to personal opinion rather, as some things I did find vulgar but other pieces there I found beautiful.

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These hair shoes by Alessandro Michele for Gucci were featured in the exhibition. For me, these shoes say vulgar. They are very eccentric, easy to show off with and over all a strange idea to get over.

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Hussein Chalayan’s Autumn/Winter 2014 collection, his dresses covered in acrylic nails. The idea of vulgar coming from the concept rather than the look of it.

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Pam Hogg SS14, her designs are very unique and different, but most of the time they are revealing and insensitive. Getting a strong reaction from society which I feel the idea of vulgar is all about.

Walter van Beirendonck 2010-11 “Take a Ride” collection.

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Whilst with this Christian Dior SS 2003, I think it is very exaggerated but still has elegance and beauty to it, so does that make it vulgar?

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Looks from the Viktor&Rolf collection, Van Gogh Girls, were also featured. But is the actual fashion vulgar? Or is it the whole design of the big straw hat and flowers growing off the dress. This to me creates more of an exciting, artistic presentation of the clothes, presented almost like paintings, what they were inspired by.

Whilst in the exhibition there were also pieces, which I found beautiful, elegant and sophisticated. Lace collars, stomachers and looks by Givenchy, Raf Simons, Chloe and Madame Grès, were some of the looks that I didn’t understand why they were there.

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The collection is full of interesting pieces of fashion and historic embroidered pieces such as stomachers, dresses and accessories. It’s a really interesting and exciting collection to see with lots of information and film about vulgarity in fashion and the different movements throughout history that affected it.

Images taken from:

http://fashiontribes.typepad.com/fashion/2015/04/bride-of-bigfoot-hairy-slipper-shoe-footwear-things-stomp-into-fall-2015.html

http://www.dazeddigital.com/fashion/gallery/22125/2/the-vulgar-fashion-redefined

http://the-moustached-king.tumblr.com/page/4

http://showstudio.com/collection/hussein_chalayan_paris_womenswear_a_w_2014/anders_christian_madsen_reports_on_the_chalayan_show

http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/barbican-vulgarity-the-spice-of-fashion-life

http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/barbican-vulgarity-the-spice-of-fashion-life

http://www.vogue.co.uk/gallery/barbican-vulgarity-the-spice-of-fashion-life