Rockwell Kent

My first glimpse of Rockwell Kent’s art was on a dinner plate: Salamina. My family had a set, and they were my favorite dishes when I was a child.

Kent (1882-1971) was a famous artist and book illustrator, adventurer and political activist. He was well known for his illustrations of Moby Dick.

His prints pack a punch with their strong imagery and high contrast,

..and attention to anatomy.Last week I was looking through a book of his art and was surprised to learn that he also designed fabric! Here are some of his fabric designs.

A Moby Dick Scarf,

and repeating designs for yardage.

The book showed the textile designs in black and white, and described the colors used.  I found a few color examples of his prints on-line.

I like that Kent’s art was part of people’s lives in the form of ceramics, textiles, book illustrations and paintings.

Please click on this link to a biography of Rockwell Kent at the National Gallery of Art if you would like to know more about him.





The tiles of Portugal are rich in patterns. They give a similar pleasure that textiles and quilts give through repetition and the variation. Here are some photos from a recent trip.

Hop on the carriage to see some tiles!

Most of these pictures were taken at the Museo Nacional Do Azulejo (tile museum) in Lisbon, or on the streets of Lisbon and Porto. I hope these pictures inspire you to pick up your brush or needle.

Textile as Art

I’m Laurie Fairman, a long time friend of Julie’s and I had a tough time deciding what aspect of textile appreciation I would focus on when she invited me to say a bit about my love of fabrics. The photos shared here (except for the man’s attire) were taken at Honeychurch Antiques, our shop of 40 years in Seattle. 

I have had the most incredible opportunity over my lifetime as one of the owners of Honeychurch antiques and Glenn Richards to have seen and held textiles from Asia and beyond whose profound beauty fed my insatiable curiosity. Of course the subtle esoteric beauty of Japanese indigo lives on in a special place in my heart. The Japanese use rice paste rather than wax to resist the dye, but whether hand drawn or stenciled; the designs are both compellingly seductive in their simplicity, and impressively complex in their construction.

One of my favorite places to find wonderful antique indigo is at Gallery Kei in Kyoto:


But it is the Ethnic minority embroidered costumes of Southeast China that became a particular favorite of mine early on. The people who made these things were women who had little time to themselves when the long grueling day of tending to the family’s needs were done.  The art of decorative ornamentation on cloth defined women from an early age. The finer the needlework, the more patient, virtuous and desirable a girl is considered to be. Such women are heroines, toiling under rigourous conditions, without electricity in remote areas where all the tools needed to create these garments are hard won; they sometimes enable whole ecosystems to thrive.

Man’s attire Xinzhai Township, Yunnan

The Miao, the largest ethnic group among the many that encompass the Chinese ethnic minorities had no written language. Defeated by the Han Chinese thousands of years ago, theirs became a life of nomadic movement.The symbols woven into their decorative costumes spoke volumes of where they had been, where the aspired to going. Most importantly, they preserved the wealth of cultural heritage that defines a proud group. The costumes are referred to as “totems that are worn on the body, and epic poetry that is recorded on the clothes.”

My love of antique cloth  taught me to look more closely at hand crafted garments. Over decades of travel in search of them, I came to realize that many of these time honored traditions were being challenged by modern times. The young generation in areas we visited; China,India, Laos, Burma, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines often wanted to move to the bigger cities where, it was usually assumed, more glamorous jobs awaited them.  In my trips to buy for my shop, Glenn Richards, I sought villages and artist coops that supported women who chose to stay and carry on their craft. But that’s a different story. More about contemporary fabrics another time!


Oh Roses

Oh – Roses!

You can never have too many roses.

Roses inspired me to paint this picture, which I hope will be fabric some day.

Oh – Roses!

(For several years now Julie Little has shared buckets and buckets of her roses with me. THANK YOU JULIE.)

To see more rose laden blog-posts please click HERE and HERE.

Joy at Aljoya

An amazing show of textiles from around the world is on display now at Aljoya Senior Living – 450 NE 100th St., Seattle. I am rushing to post this blog before I leave town because the show is up until May 28th.  Seattle people can still see it.

The show includes works from the personal collection of Leslie Grace, who used to have the shop La Tienda, in Seattle.

Here are the beautiful textiles on display, with some close ups. You will have to see the show to read the tags! Otherwise just bask in the beauty of these joyful fabrics at Aljoya.


Museo Textil de Oaxaca

Recently a friend and I went on a short trip to Oaxaca. Aaah-Oaxaca.

There were two exhibits at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca that I would like to share with you.

Upstairs you could see Embroidery in the High Lands – Mazahua Textile Art.


This long cloth was beautiful in its spaciousness, and exquisite details.

Here are close ups:

Downstairs at the Museo was an exhibit of clothing from Mexico and Guatemala.

I hope you enjoyed visiting the museum. Here are a few photos from the street.

For more on Oaxaca, here is a link to a post that I wrote last year.

Good bye for now. Hasta la próxima.

Tour de Friends

Today we get to be armchair travelers. In my last post (Homespun) I asked you to send me pictures of textiles in your homes. You did. THANK YOU!
Here they are. Sit on your favorite pillow and enjoy a Tour de Friends.

This was sent by Kitty Harmon in Seattle. The bee pillow (a gift to Kitty) was stitched by a women’s cooperative in Ecuador.

From Kate Harkins in Seattle – a kuba cloth from Africa made of raffia, a framed remnant of her grandmother’s Spanish shawl and a Swedish embroidery.

These narrative lace curtains are from the home of Karla Paschkis (in Cambridge, Mass), as is the couch (that she upholstered.)

From Gloria Urban , a collage from her sewing room in Chestertown, Maryland: 2 kangas from Uganda. An applique Tree of Life throw from Tibet. Silk screen of a Sagauro Cactus by Harwood Steiger used as a quilt back. Segments of 2 of her own quilts.

From Lynn Luck in Denton, Texas: her Christmas skirt, a silk kimono (made by her friend Butch from a shibori that Lynn dyed with indigo), a Zapotec rug, two moles from Panama and a quilt that her mother made. Lynn says: “My mother embroidered like other people draw.”

Clare Dohna and cats sent:

Betz Bernhard of Kirkland, WA sent a vintage kimono piece, and a hanging that she made. For more of Betz’s work, see this post.

Next stop on the tour is visit with Sigrid Jones in Eugene, Oregon. You can see fine quilting, and fabrics from around the world. Sigrid – why is the tea-cosy doll in jail?… She does look comfortable there. Cathy Bonnell invites us into her house in Phoenix, AZ. She lets us join her at her table. I am always hungry for stripes.


Marcia Paschkis (my mother) sent these pictures from Gwynedd, Pennsylvania. You can see a tablecloth in situ, and a piece of Belgian linen that was used as a backdrop for her pottery at craft sales.

Tony Burton from Edmonds, Wa. sent pictures of a quilt, an Indonesian batik,  a Syrian and an Afghani dress, and another quilt (made with fabric familiar to me)!

Margaret Chodos-Irvine (Seattle) has a dog lucky enough to use this placemat that she made. She also made the patchwork on the lazy Susan. Her couch includes African pillows.  (To see more African fabric please check out this post that Margaret wrote.)

Lisa Mersky in Austin Texas wraps us in her shawls.

And the tour ends with this Boomerang bag from JoAnn Early Macken. She made the bag out of a play tent that she had made for her kids. Now she makes bags with recycled fabric and leaves them in grocery stores for people to borrow.

Thank you all for sharing your fabrics. As well as being beautiful, the fabrics connect us to our memories, to our families, to our travel and to each other.

(I have been traveling, so if you sent something and I forgot to include it please tell me and I will update the post.)