A Rose is …

is a rose is a rose.

Here is a blog I wrote in 2014, with a few new images:


Recently a friend, Julie Little, brought over a big bucket of roses from her garden. There were so many roses that we had more than one bouquet.

The roses were achingly beautiful and they smelled good. But roses fade. Alas.
faded roses

Luckily roses on fabric can provide timeless pleasure. Here are some to savor.

This 19th century English chintz border is from the book  Textile Designs , an encyclopedia of historic fabrics compiled by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers.

chintz england 19th

Susan Meller also wrote an amazing book about Russian Textiles . It includes examples of printed fabrics, embroidery, ikats, paisleys and stripes. It shows the cloth and robes made from them. Here are some rose fabrics from that book.

russia 1870s

In the Russian fabrics there are many rich reds: crimson, scarlet, cherry, carmine, rust and maroon.russia 20thrussia mid 20thrussia late 19thRussian roller printed clothTurkmen robe 1930

This Suzani piece was embroidered. The designs were drawn on the cloth, then separated into panels. Various family members would embroider the separate panels which would then be sewn back together. The slight variations in the density of the stitches and the slight flaws in the registration give the piece life.suzani embroidery 19th

Roses line this woman’s mulisak from Khiva.munisak 20th century

Returning to Textile Designs , you can find these roses from France (1922 and 1930):

france 1922

france 1930

And this bouquet, made in England for export to Portugal in the mid 1800’s.

eng for portugal mid 19th

So, gather (and stitch) your rosebuds while ye may.


Here is a poem is by Sandra Gilbert, from her book Kissing the Bread.

sandra gilbert



June Blooms: Indian Textiles

Seattle is blooming – roses, poppies, foxgloves, pinks and peonies abound. To celebrate the florabundance of June wherever you are, here is a selection of Indian textiles.

A Mughal early 18th century embroidered floor spread – a meadow underfoot-

A Gujarat wall hanging, made for the English market c. 1700 –

And a flower plucked from it –

A paithani-style shawl from Dhaulpur, Rajasthan circa 1850

A Kalamkari hand drawn mordant and resist dyed cotton from south-east India, late 17th century-

It blooms so effusively that even the leaves have flowers.

Feel the warmth of the yellow in this skirt cloth from the Mochi community in Gujarat, circa 1850-

Another Mochi skirt cloth from the late 19th century-

An exuberant kalamkari block print created in south-east India for the Indonesian market in the 19th century-

All of these textiles are from The Indian Textile Sourcebook by Avalon Fotheringham, published by Thames and Hudson.

Rumi: “To wander in the fields of flowers, pull the thorns from your heart.”

Banner Days


From 1992 until 2005 Margaret Chodos-Irvine, Deborah Mersky and I worked together as a group. Once a year we designed a series of products based around a theme. We would make them or have them manufactured and sell them at a sale/party.
We called ourselves Troika because there were three of us.
Then we got busy, diverted, and geographically separated; our Troika cart was retired.

Troika Tablecloths 1995

This year Troika will roll again – we are having a show of our art at the Bitters Co. Barn in the Skagit Valley from May 11- 28. Our theme for the show is Still LifeWe are each making our own pieces using different media. We have all meandered and interpreted the theme in different ways.

We also collaborated on some white banners which will float in the middle of the barn.

Embroidery, trapunto, tatting, and lacemaking are fabric arts practiced by early American women. Work that can be described as “white on white” inspired us because of its use of negative space and shadow. Using white ink on white nylon taffeta, we designed and created three giant banners in four busy days.

Margaret and I flew to Texas to work with Deborah in her beautiful studio about an hour from Austin in the hill country.

We planned.

We drew and cut stencils.

We took walks by the river.

We ironed the stencils to the fabric.

We ate.

We stenciled.

As we worked we continued to invent, design, cut and print.

When the prints were dry we removed the stencils and hung up the banners.

UPDATE: Here are the banners hanging in the beautiful Bitters Co. barn. We also made a banner of Troika wheels which hangs on the outside of the barn.

Please come see the banners and our individual work. The show will be up from May 11 – 28, from 12 -4 daily. The opening will be on May 11 from 12-3.

If you would like to learn the stenciling process, please join us for a White on White stencilling workshop at the barn from 1-4 on  Sunday,May 12. (For more information about the workshop please go to www.bittersco.com)





Indigo Intervention

Last week I was in Oaxaca and saw an inspiring show about Indigo at the Museo de Textil (Textile Museum).  It was called Intervention Indigo, by Laura Anderson Barbata, The work was beautiful, breathtaking and political. Here is a statement about the show:

Here are snapshots from the show. It is hard to convey the scale. Many of these pieces are HUGE.


Here is a link to the Intervention Indigo video on YouTube. Watch it to see the scale of the costumes and the ideas. It is exhilerating.

Kudos to Laura Anderson Barbata and to Chris Walker, the Brooklyn Jumbies and Jarana Beat.

If you are hungry to see more indigo, please click on this  link to a post I wrote last year about a show at the SeattleArt Museum: Mood Indigo

Paper Quilt Workshop

Last March I visited the Textile Museum in Oaxaca. While there I talked with the director of the museum about teaching a workshop this spring – 2019.

Inside the Museo Textil de Oaxaca

We looked at my website. The director liked the paper quilts I showed him and suggested that I teach a workshop of paper quilts. Yes!

Here are the images I showed him of the paper quilts that I had done. They are quilts in the sense that separate images are pieced together to make a whole.

Outside of Oaxaca, in San Agustin Etla, is a beautiful paper making workshop. Here are some photos of the workshop. The building is next to a river. The array of natural materials is used for dying the paper. The peanut shells are a mold for a textured paper. The kites by Francisco Toledo are in the gift shop, along with notebooks, paper jewelry and sheets of paper.

I bought paper when I was there last spring. When I came home I made quilts out of that paper. These are the kind of quilts we will make in the workshop.

This one is mostly plain paper with some painted imagery.

The painted  images were inspired by this embroidery that I saw at the textile museum. (Here is a link to a blog post that I wrote about the museum.)

This quilt has stenciled imagery, based on the same embroidery.

Here is the back of the stenciled quilt.

This spring, from March 4-7 I will be teaching a workshop on Paper Quilts at the Textile Museum in Oaxaca. On Monday we will go together in a van to the paper making workshop in San Agustin Etla. We will buy paper there for our individual projects. On Tuesday – Thursday we will return to the museum and make paper quilts – some collaborative and some individual. We will take our inspiration (and some of our materials) from the incredible Oaxacan traditions. The workshop will meet for 3 hours a day, so you will also have time to explore Oaxaca on your own.( I am not arranging housing, food or transportation). The workshop costs $750 pesos (about $39 USD) plus another $20 to buy paper. You don’t need any special skills or talents to come- just the desire to try something new, to use your hands, and to explore Oaxaca.

If you think you might be interested in coming, please email me at jpaschkis@comcast.net and I will let you know how to sign up. Thank you.




Daily Table

In 2014 I wrote a post here about about my love of tablecloths. (Here is a link to Tablecloths: Fabric of Life). This is chapter 2 – a further installment of daily still lives and a noting of the pleasures of the table: tablecloths, dishes, flowers, sunlight, candlelight, food and friends about to arrive.  

Last week I painted a poem on a wooden table for the upcoming Coyote Central auction. Here is the poem Te Deum by Charles Reznikoff.

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: http://byrios.blogspot.com/2010/02/gallery-kei-in-kyoto.html


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.