After what you can see was a very busy and sucessful hand event, we can’t wait for our next one. If you would like to be our next event, get in touch!
Embroidery, much like fabric, is not made to last forever. So when we are looking for examples of historical textiles, sometimes, they simply do not exisit anymore as the fabrics disintergrate with age and use. However we do still have a source of what textiles might have looked like in their glory days in the form of painting.
During a recent trip to Amsterdam in the Rijksmuseum, we came across some wonderful examples of historical painting which showed great detail of the textiles that they protrayed.
most likely showing a print of Japanese origin
Demonstrating the fineness and whiteness of her flat lace collar
Depicting traditional goldwork techniques and bullion fringing
We also have had one of our interns, Amy Pickard working on a project for us in house where she chose a painting which featured a beautiful piece of textiles and has been working to recreate it herself.
For the project, she starting point with a visit to the National and National Portrait Galleries. Here she collected primary research of examples of historical textiles. There was a lot of symmetry and geometric shapes as well as a heavy use of floral motifs. It was wonderful to see so many paintings with gorgeous details and being able to name techniques documented.
Having attended a tambour beading class with our partner company, (London Embroidery School) she decided to recreate one of the motifs using this technique.
When you think about personalisation, people usually associate it with garments, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to them. We recently did a project with a tablescape designer extrordinare Fiona Leahy for the Aerin èclat de vert perfume launch dinner in De Crillon in Paris.
(All above Images courtesy of Fiona Leahy Designs)
Here at Hawthorne & Heaney we had a bit of a special project on at the moment for a certain wedding that took place in September 2018. We were tasked with creating the chasuble for the priest to wear for our Director’s wedding.
Approaching a garment like this is a sizeable task because of the importance of the imagery and the congregation that will see it. Designed by our director, the cross shaped design features a large image of the holy spirit as a dove at the top. This was inspired by an old piece of cut work embroidery which we are reinterpreting for machine embroidery. We wanted it to retain some of the original cutwork movement which can be seen in the direction of the running stitches and feathers. This also informed the choice of metallic silver for the details to get that shimmer amongst the sheen of the white machine thread.
The middle section has a series of flowers which we focused on the shading of them amongst the raised scrolls and braid work.
Down the bottom we have the lamb of god: “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” John 1:29. For his imagery we wanted to emulate a similar texture to that of the dove but with a more ‘wooley’ nature.
Each section of the embroidery has to be tidyed and finished by hand which you may be able to see from some of the earlier photos where the design is still on the machine, the stitching looks a bit rougher than the polished finish we were going for.
We also added some crystals and small hamd details at the end which added those final details to make it sing.
But even when we were done with it, that was not the end of its journey as it was delivered to the tailors who made it into the chasuble itself.
Re-interpretting originally hand embroidered designs in machine embroidery can be quite challenging to give it a style of its own and not to look like a lesser version of the hand embroidered piece. We aim not to replicate it, but to reimagine it.
By compairson to last week’s post and the scale of the embroideries that we produced for the patches, this little job may seem insignificant. However we can’t help but get excited about pieces like this whether we are producing 2 pieces or 200 of them in the end.
We were approached and asked to use this tudor rose image to create a pair of freestanding embroidered embelums to go onto a bespoke cape which one of our tailors was working on. By adding raisings into the piece we were able to give the piece some body despite the fact that they are not onto a fabric base.
You can see from the scale of the hand just how little they really are.
Here they are in situ where they will get to live against this gorgeous velvet collar. Aren’t they just so cute?!?
Last month, we had the pleasure of working on a bespoke patches order which pushed the boundaries of what we usually produce as it was for a very fast turn around. With the order being for 900 piece and only a coupld of weeks to the deadline, we really had to hit the ground running with the project.
By the end, with them all lined up, we were very pleased with the results of these freestanding pieces so we thought we would share them with you.
British based Architect of Ghanaian descent, Sir David Adjaye OBE, known for his beautifully and carefully thought out landmark structures within the architectural world, is showcasing his past, present and future work at The Design Museum.
Adjaye’s international recognition comes from his ability to immerse himself and fully understand a culture’s past in order to design and build a structure that not only holds the information and artefacts of that specific time, but holds the memory and tells the story of those that were involved and lost during those times. Throughout the exhibition, every room is dedicated to a specific building that has been designed by Adjaye to hold, preserve and experience the memories of that specific time.
When you first enter the exhibition, you are met with an introductory room with images of well-known historical landmarks. Here, Adjaye introduces himself with a written statement giving his opinion on how structures of remembrance should be designed, as well as what the exhibition will entail.
Gwangju River Reading Room
The first official room of the exhibition was dedicated to the Gwangju River Reading Room which Adjaye was invited to help design. Collaborating with writer, Taiye Salasi, this structure was intended to be designed and made in remembrance of the hundreds of students and citizens who were killed in the South Korean city of Gwangju’s ten day uprising in May 1980. The exchange of book and ideas in this space was intended to keep the memory of those who passed, alive.
The room was dimly lit with the small scale model of the designed reading room, which sat in the middle. Images of the real reading room were lit up on one side of the room and a book shelf on the opposing side. The sombre feel of the room reflected the events, being immersed into the experience of those who suffered all those years ago.
Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture
Moving onto the next room, showcasing a landmark, located in Washington’s National Mall which was solely designed and made to remember as well as celebrate the African American community and their contribution to building America during slavery. Adjaye, knowing and learning about their history, came to know the contribution that African American slaves had in many trades including ironwork. From this information, the exterior panelling of the building honours this trade and the slaves that contribute to it. This is only a small snippet of the how Adjaye and his team designed this building to honour and most importantly remember the lives that were lost during slavery in America.
One of Adjaye’s smaller and temporary structures was the Sclera Pavilion which was made to be a safe space for self-reflection and contemplation for the public, designed in the shape of an eye. Within the room that was dedicated to this building, was a life size version of the design in the corner of the room. Different levels of wood, with different widths, descended from the ceiling gave the room a feel as to what it would have been like within the structure, alongside a smaller scale model of the building which sat in the middle of the room. This room, unlike the others, was lit up changing the feel and overall experience of the room.
UK Holocaust Memorial and Learning Centre
Out of the 22 countries directly involved in the Second World War, the UK is the last to build a memorial to commemorate the horrific event in our history. However, this is about to change with Adjaye’s proposed plan of a national landmark for the remembrance of the Holocaust which is to be finished in 2020. The memorial will sit next to Parliament, with the proposed design including a powerful architectural memorial above ground where 23 bronze fins are located which lead to underground exhibitions which reflect the 22 countries before us who have remembered. This building looks to be architecturally striking and I urge you, when it’s built to go and see this long awaiting structure and exhibitions.
There was so much more amazing things to experience and learn about these structures from this, as well as the other rooms that were dedicated to the Adjaye’s planned proposals for structures such as the National Cathedral of Ghana and the Mass Extinction Memorial Observatory. This exhibition left me in awe. The showcase of all the memorials allowed me to enter that time and learn the importance of remembering the past so that we can shape our future the right way by learning from our mistakes. This exhibition should not be missed!
By Kiah Fisher. All photos taken by Kiah Fisher
Dates: 2nd February 2019 – 5th May 2019
Location: The Design Museum
Opening Times: 10:00- 18:00
Last exhibition entry: 17:00
For ticket pricing see the Design Museum for further details
If your instagram feed is anything like ours then you will not have failed to notice the hugh amount of attention that the Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibition is getting at the V & A Museum at the moment. Following its opening on the 2nd February, the exhibition which is held in the museum’s new Sainsbury wing, it has received an unprescedented amount of visitors.
The exhibition is currently sold out, with tickets being drip released around the 15th of each month and a few kept back each day on a first come first served basis. Members of the V&A however can still visit at their leisure and Hawthorne and Heaney were lucky enough to visit the exhibition on members night in order to bring you our insight.
The London exhibition has a much greater focus on the individual designers of the House of Dior so if you had already seen it at Musee Des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, then this version brings a different angle. Split into a series of sections, this part of the exhibition really gives you a sense of what each creative director has brought to the house. Furthermore it also highlights some of the key aspects of Dior as a fashion house, which holds all the designs together over the years. Identifying these values allows them to keep delivering pieces which are recognisably ‘Dior’.
Each rooms has its own sense of the wow factor with the paper cut flowers room, displaying some of the more romantic pieces amongst the flowers which were dripping from the ceiling. The center piece of which is this gown embellished with hundreds of tiny cut feathers.
We can not cover this exhibition without mentioning the toile room. Probably the simplist room with its ehite cubes, it really brings home the process of producing couture garments and the work that goes into them. It is lovely to look around and recognise some of the dresses you have already seen the final versions of, in their developmental form. As well as taking the time to watch the series of videos they have on display amongst the toiles which show the making process of other Dior producs such as shoes and jewellery from their specialist makers.
From an embroiderers perpective, there is plenty to see and appreciate in this exhibition. The variety of styles and techniques is huge so whilst all the pieces may not necessarily be your taste, you can not help but be humbled by the skill.
Some of the more contemporary pieces provide a different perspective on ‘les petite mains’ (the little hands; referring to the skilled makers that create the designers vision) that we get to see a modern application of traditonal skills such as the use of beads and velvet in this a line evening gown.
If you find the opportunity, then this exhibition is a absolute must see for fashion, design and embroidery fans everywhere. Follow the link for all the booking details.
All photos courtesy of Natasha Searls-Punter
Dior: Designer of Dreams
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London
On now until 14th July 2019 (extended to the 1st Sept 2019)