Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up – Exhibition Visit

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Frida Kahlo in blue satin blouse, 1939, © Nickolas Muray Photo Archives

The exhibition Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is currently at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and we recently took the chance to visit. This unique show gives a detailed overview of Kahlo’s life: her family and heritage; her politics; her relationship with mural painter Diego Rivera; the near-fatal accident that caused her a lifetime of pain; and most importantly, how she constructed her image and the way in which she lived her life.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Kahlo’s home in Mexico, La Casa Azul (The Blue House).

Upon Kahlo’s death in 1954, her husband Rivera locked up her most valuable possessions in the bathroom of the Casa Azul (The Blue House, their home in Mexico) and instructed that it not be opened until 15 years after her death. In 2004 this bathroom was opened, and the contents of the room went on display at the Casa Azul as a museum dedicated to her life. These objects are what now fill the exhibition space at the V&A, carefully shipped thousands of miles to be shown outside of Mexico for the first time.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Frida Kahlo and Family, 1926, photograph by Guillermo Kahlo.
Kahlo challenges gender stereotypes by wearing a suit.

The exhibition begins with old photographs of Kahlo and her family, some of which are adorned with Kahlo’s handwritten notes. Some simply label family members, whereas others are more personal: for example, on the back of Kahlo’s Communion photo she has scrawled “¡IDIOTA!” as she renounced Catholicism later in life.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Pre-columbian jade beads, possibly assembled by Frida Kahlo. Museo Frida Kahlo.

The show continues through a series of rooms to Kahlo’s accessories: heavy jade necklaces; crescent earrings featuring paired birds, which are traditional of Mexican jewellery; and hand-woven ‘Rebozo’ shawls and ‘Morrale’ sack bags. These items highlight Kahlo’s pride in her Mexican heritage.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Revlon nail varnishes, compact and lipstick in Kahlo’s favourite shade, ‘Everything’s Rosy’.

We then move on to Kahlo’s possessions, perhaps one of the most personal parts of the exhibition. Intimate items are on display such as used lipsticks and empty medicine bottles accompanied by letters to and from her various doctors.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Plaster corset, painted and decorated by Frida Kahlo. Museo Frida Kahlo.

Kahlo’s suffering due to childhood polio and a car accident at the age of 18 lies at the foundation of some of these objects. For most of her life she wore uncomfortable corsets to help support her back and alleviate pain, some of which were made of plaster and decorated with painting as Kahlo used them like a canvas.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Left: Cotton Huipil with chain stitch embroidery, cotton skirt with printed floral motifs.
Right: Guatemalan cotton coat worn with Mazatec Huipil and plain floor-length skirt.

Finally, the main feature of the exhibition is a stunning display case of Kahlo’s clothing. Kahlo is renowned for her combinations of indigenous garments from different regions of Mexico, and she was photographed in such outfits many times. To see them up close in real life is breathtaking.

Detailed embroidery is present in most of the outfits, from complexly shaded flowers and birds to cross stitch to traditional Chinese embroidery (due to Kahlo’s fascination with Chinatown when she moved to the USA with Rivera). The exhibition gives details of her most striking outfits, describing how she was followed by children when in the USA, who asked “Where is the circus?”.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Self Portrait with Monkeys, 1943. Oil on Canvas, 81.5 x 63cm.

There are some of Kahlo’s paintings – mainly self portraits as she used herself as a subject when painting from her bed – but the exhibition mainly focuses on Kahlo’s items and how she presented the complex layers of her identity within her life. It states that her wardrobe was not staged: she dressed up even when she wasn’t expecting visitors, and even when she was in bed rest.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up - Exhibition Visit London Hand Embroidery

Frida Kahlo on the Bench, 1939. © Nickolas Murray Photo Archives.

Frida Kahlo: Making Herself Up is a bewitching and intimate exhibition. The items on display are fascinating, and through them the personal details of how Kahlo naturally lived an artistic life – despite her misfortunes and pain – are revealed. A must-see for anyone interested in textiles, and anyone interested in Frida Kahlo’s complex and inspiring life.

Purchase tickets at the V&A website here.

Written by Laura Hill

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School London Hand Embroidery

As some of our regular readers may know, Hawthorne & Heaney has a sister company that teaches embroidery called the London Emroidery School. As the London Embroidery School we run classes at a range of time in specialised embroidery classes such as Tambour beading, goldwork and lace making.

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School London Hand Embroidery

Whenever the opportunity arises to get in a guest tutor, we love to an exciting textile artist in to teach one of their own designs, or a piece in their signature style. This October we have instagram sensation Mother Eagle, a.k.a. Katie Tume coming to teach a piece she has designed especially for us!

 

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School London Hand Embroidery

Katie’s work is influenced by folklore, mythology, burial customs and the old Gods. She is currently working on projects around our disappearing natural world, and lost species which have become her signature style. ‘The Surreal Stitches with Mother Eagle Course’ combines Katie’s style and techniques. She has created this new artwork for the course, and refers to the artwork as ‘the Divine Mushroom’.

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School London Hand Embroidery

Booking is now available for this class where you will be learn this original artwork from the artist herself. Follow the link here for more details and to secure your place.

Hawthorne & Heaney, Mother Eagle and The London Embroidery School London Hand Embroidery

All images are courtesy of @mother_eagle_embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a new Fashion exhibition now showing in their fashion and textiles area called ‘Fashion from Nature‘. The exhibition provides an overview of how nature is used in fashion as well as how nature is reflected by fashion, which gives it a broader range of items to show and issues to call into question.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

Waistcoat, Maker Unknown 1780 – 1789,

Like most of the exhibitions held in this area, downstairs displays the historical items, talking about the production of fabrics such as linen and silk with videos showing the full process.  From an embroidery perspective, there are a few real treats for the traditional embroidery enthusiasts such as this silk-shaded waistcoat featuring these gorgeously expressive monkeys.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

Fish Scales Headband, Maker unknown, Circa 1800

There are unsurprisingly a number of pieces which include animal harvested materials which are undoubtedly beautiful but the issues surrounding their use are well discussed in the displays. These are presented next to some alternatives to the use of feathers and bones which help to stop the exhibition from getting too heavy as you may be surprised at when people started to discuss the place of animal cruelty in fashion. Some pieces are just surprising in themselves such as this fish scale floral headband from the Bahamas.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

Pineapple Fibre Lace Handkerchief, Maker unknown

Some pieces are hard to believe they are what their descriptions say they are, such as the lace sample above which is made of pineapple fibres, an exquisite demonstration of how delicate this material can be used.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

Cellulose evening Coat, Alix (Madame Grès), 1936

Upstairs, the pieces are all much more contemporary, focusing more on how fashion imitates and draws inspiration from nature rather than taking from it directly. The piece above is by Madame Gres which uses a combination of silk, cellulose fibres and artificial pearls to create an effect to imitate mother of pearl shell linings.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

‘Cat Woman’ Dress, Jean Paul Gaultier, 1997

As the theme of this exhibition is quite broad, it is a great opportunity to see a hand-picked selection of great pieces from some legendary designers; Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Vivienne Westwood are all there as well as this piece from Jean Paul Gaultier which demonstrates how well skins can be replicated in other materials like beads.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits Fashioned from Nature London Hand Embroidery

‘Rootbound #2’ Dress, Diana Scherer, 2017

Finally, we are presented with some exhibits which explore some of the alternative materials and developments which may become viable alternatives for the future of fashion. There is a piece by Diana Scherer where she has been training grass root systems to grown into lace designs which is quite incredible. It is not a fully resolved material as yet but demonstrates potential opportunities in clothing.

This exhibition is quite heavily loaded with questions of the issues that fashion has caused in the past, destruction of animals such as osprey, turtles and whales or the poisonous effects of dying and military as examples; and the way we continue to deal with these issues in the future. Therefore it is one that you can expect yourself to have to think about as well as admire the pieces on display. Fashioned From Nature is on at the Victoria and Albert Museum until the 27th Jan 2019, tickets start from £12.00.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week

What were you doing last week? Specifically 9-13 May. Did you manage to catch London Craft Week? Well, it’s alright if you missed it, because we are here to share with you what we did and learned!

This festival that spans across London celebrates British and international creativity. Covering a vast range of disciplines, it brought together over 200 established and emerging makers, designers, brands and galleries from around the world.

We started our journey in the heart of English bespoke tailoring- Savile Row. The Row that is entrenched deep in history, famous worldwide, houses over 100 craftsman in more than a dozen bespoke tailoring business. It is a community that not only produces the esteemed English luxurious product but is active in training new craftsman. We had the chance to attend an hour-long masterclass pattern cutting at Henry Poole & Co.  In the brief hour, taught by one of the cutters about dinner jackets, he engaged us on the construction of the trouser pattern. First, measurement was taken off a gentleman in the room, then he moved onto crafting the pattern. Primarily using the Centre Front Centre Back cutting system, where scales and mathematics are used to give proportions so as to draft for the body of the customer.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Dinner Suit Trouser Pattern Cutting Process | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Henry Poole & Co Ltd Suits | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

After the hour, we gained a heightened respect for the craft of tailoring. Behind one jacket, it involves roughly 10 artisans, who engage in the making of the various sections of the garment. They perfect the moulding and shaping of the fabric so that it sits perfectly on the body. Bespoke tailoring suits are certainly a class of their own in both elegance and comfort.

Next, we ventured down to Sloane Square, to discover Maria Svarbova’s photography series that was the inspiration behind Delpozo Spring Summer 2018 ‘Musicalia’ collection. We were blown away by the beautiful photographs, that has this retro-futuristic. The artist describes the series as having a sense of ‘artificial detachment’, although set in a retro environment, ‘the pictures somehow evoke a futuristic feeling as well, as if they were taken somewhere completely alien.’, the moment is frozen in time. In addition, the symmetrical composition enhances the ethereal quality.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Image: Maria Svarbova

Looking at the collection alongside the photographs, there is much resemblance in the colour palette. Creative director, Josep Font skillfully translated the swimming pool blue that ripples throughout the photographs, into the choice of the fabric and embroidery. Complimenting them with pastel shades of yellow, pink, and definitely the shocking red, there is a sense of a dreamlike atmosphere.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Delpozo embroidery contrasted with Maria Svarbova’s photographs

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Delpozo embroidery contrasted with Maria Svarbova’s photographs

 

In addition, the geometric lines and stillness of the pool, reminds us of the intimate atmosphere at the atelier; cool, architectural and beautiful, a style synonym with the brand.

Lastly, we headed to the Loewe Foundation Craft Prize at the Design Museum, that will be held till 17 June. This exhibition best summarises craft and artistic endeavours all over the world. Exhibiting a range of international works that stretch across practices, such as ceramics, papercraft, woodwork to jewellery. Entering the exhibition, visitors are provided with an audio guide, that gives a detailed explanations about the works, aiding further appreciation and understanding of the craft in view.

One theme that ran throughout all the works exhibited is that there are continued efforts made to revive traditional techniques alongside pushing the boundaries of the skill. An example is a winning piece by Jennifer Lee, who mixed metallic oxides into clay to create colour, a technique that she discovered. Complimenting this avant-garde colouring technique, with an ancient practice of pinching and coiling clay, it resulted in the creation of a beautiful speckled surface. The varying gradient of bands that encircle the piece, resembles time frozen between traditional and contemporary.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Jennifer Lee (Winning Prize) Pale, Shadowed Speckled Traces, Fading Elipse, Bronze Specks, Tilted Shelf, 2017 | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

Another work, that we truly appreciate is by Takuro Kuwata’s Tea Bowl. Unlike traditional potters, who often aims to hide any cracks in their work, Kuwata defies that norm. He enhances the impression of chaos, that is natural to the unpredictable nature of ceramics, by making it the feature point of his work. By combining porcelain with platinum and steel, he challenges the possibility of materials. The melted and crack surface of the work is complemented with the saturated green patina, that makes the work contemporary and elegant.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Takuro Kuwata, Tea Bowl, 2017 | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

 

Embroidery is also celebrated at this exhibition! Richard McVetis, who is captivated by the meditative nature of the process, draws with needle and thread. He embroidered sixty cubes over the duration of sixty hours, materialising time into something tactile and visual.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Richard McVetis , Variations of a Stitched Cube,2017 | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to London Craft Week London Hand Embroidery

Richard McVetis , Variations of a Stitched Cube,2017 | Image: Hawthorne & Heaney

 

Perched on 60 beams, the 60 cubes remind me of the globe of islands, but in a square. It is a rather fun way of curating the world and plays on the idea that the world is not round but square.

London Craft Week is truly a celebration of hands that spans multiple disciplines. It makes us cherish and esteem the time and energy that goes into crafting beautiful objects. Unlike mass produced items that are often regarded as disposable, the work of the hand interweaves personal stories and beauty into everything made. In this age of mass consumption and disposal, we are glad that there is a renaissance in the appreciation of creativity and craft worldwide. We at Hawthorne & Heaney, are definitely standing behind that resurgence and hope to safeguard the shared heritage of craft.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style

Spanning across 8 rooms the V&A museum’s exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, takes us back to an era of opulence and lifestyle travel. Walls painted in moody grey tones, wooden floors, all paired with ocean sounds create an atmosphere of warmth and comfort.

 

Starting off with a brief history of ocean liners and their links to immigration they quickly move forward to when immigration quotas were introduced,and the start of the liners we came to know today. Bold display of large posters and magazines advertising trips and destinations adorned the walls, these originally were to entice the people with money, advertising this lifestyle of travel and luxury that previously they had turned their noses up at. All of the posters touched on a feeling of brightness and a new modern age.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

As you walk around the first room there are models of ships and detailed drawings of the impressive building these companies invested in to further enhance this idyllic way of travel.

Moving on through, the exhibition touches more upon the furniture and interior design of these magnificent ships many of which were inspired by the arts and craft movement and often a showcase of the country’s goods, such as the British Queen Mary was a showcase of British woods. Wall panels and furniture, mainly chairs, continued through the exhibition as these are a good way of tracking style change within eras. There was a sense of nostalgia in each of the rooms, as videos of life on these ships are played throughout.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Further on through they discuss the importance of liners throughout World War 1 and 2 as troop transport and delivering supplies and the addition of new engineering advancements to the liners as aircraft travel superseded them. There is also a Wooden panel fragment from an over-door in the first-class lounge on Titanic.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Embroidery and craftsmanship were very apparent throughout, even more so when it came to the last section which focused more on the liners as they became a vacation/leisure activity. This is when deck chairs were being introduced, lounging by the pool became popular and games such a deck curling were installed on deck.

Amongst the collection of swimwear, and Louis Vuitton luggage cases are outfits and objects from Miss Emilie Grigsby, a well travelled American socialite, who’s wardrobe is not only stunning but ahead of the times in many aspects.

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

 

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney goes to Ocean Liners: Speed and Style London Hand Embroidery

Overall the exhibition is nostalgic and beautiful with a large mix of tastes and periods, taking influence from various cultures. We would definitely say this is one not to miss as it is a masterclass in style.

The Ocean Liners: Speed and Style will be running at the V&A until Sunday 17th June. Prices are £18.00 for an adult and £15.00 for a student with concession tickets available.

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney visits Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia London Hand Embroidery

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.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney visits Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia London Hand Embroidery

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.

 

Hawthorne & Heaney visits Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney visits Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney visits Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

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.
Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

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).

Hawthorne & Heaney Visits the Louise Dahl-Wolfe Exhibiton London Hand Embroidery

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

Hawthorne & Heaney :Dismantling of a Victorian Mourning Shawl London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney :Dismantling of a Victorian Mourning Shawl London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney :Dismantling of a Victorian Mourning Shawl London Hand Embroidery

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

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke London Hand Embroidery

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke London Hand Embroidery

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.

Hawthorne & Heaney Bridal Bespoke London Hand Embroidery

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.

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

 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.

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

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. 

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

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.

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

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