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Selvedge Issue 113: Raw

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From Polly Leonard, Founder of Selvedge Magazine:

At our recent event Pattern Play, Kirk Brown shared his passion for mid-century modern printed textiles with the Selvedge audience – the recording is available if you missed the live event. Similar cheerful patterns can be seen in the textile designs of Andy Warhol displayed at the Fashion and Textile Museum, London, until 10 September: they capture the optimistic mood of the postwar recovery when fabric was scarce, and consumers were looking for cheap and cheerful prints.

Textiles always reflect the times in which they are made, and now sustainability is at the forefront of our consciousness, ancient fabrics are at the vanguard. We see plain woven structures constructed from undyed yarn used to create textured surfaces. Materials that demonstrate our desire for a connection to the earth, reject the digital age and acknowledge a simpler life are our focus. In this issue, Rachel Baker finds respite from failing health by relocating to the Luberon, France, where she forages for plants to use to dye vintage linens in a regenerative practice. Marjolein Hessels takes a scientific approach to dye her threads with the same plants she chooses to represent in stitch. Regular contributor Magali An Berthon introduces us to artists working at the intersection of hard and soft materials.

Ilama in Argentina and Llanatura in Mallorca exploit the beauty of undyed fibre to form sustainable businesses. At the same time, Karen Selik explains why wild sericulture in central and eastern India exemplifies Gandhian principles written into the Indian constitution in 1950. Designers in Mexico take on the legacy of the once-global sisal industry to find new applications for the fibre of the agave cactus. Closer to home, in a Herculean endeavour, Allan Brown undertakes to weave a dress from foraged nettle. We follow his seven summers of nettle and seven winters of spinning in Dylan Howitt’s documentary, The Nettle Dress, on 28 June – part of our summer screenings season. See the website for details.

I will leave you with the thought Rachel Baker lives by: “Don’t take more than you need,” aptly illustrated in an advertisement by Tate Steel, available on YouTube. If you are out and about, we hope to see you at the Selvedge Fair, The American Museum, Cleverton, Bath, on 9 September 2023.


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