November 09, 2005

"WHAT IS IT ABOUT FABRIC THAT YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND?"

The Feral Knitters are doing a knit-along of the Floral Fair Isle gloves (a pattern that's available for free from Interweave.com). So Monday night, Devorah and June modeled for us their progress on their respective gloves:

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Here's a close-up:

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June's glove at left in Spindrift, Devorah's glove at right in Harrisville jumper weight.

You can see that we have the creative license to interpret the pattern in our own colors. Devorah even changed the stitch pattern on the cuff -- and those wee flowers are cute!

Now I am going to have get my gloves started. Really and truly.

But not before I recap for you more highlights from San Antonio:

The purpose of our trip was so that Scott (whose business is manufacturing awnings, yurts, tents, banners, bags, etc.) could attend the industrial fabrics convention and trade show. Last year, this show was held in Pittsburgh; coincidentally last year I had bought my first loom and had taken two weaving classes. So last year, from time to time Scott dropped into conversation with suppliers and other business associates, "She bought a loom, can you believe it? She's learning to weave!" He was teasing me, of course, about the irony of hand-weaving cloth when he buys yards upon yards of industrial fabric from commercial mills. Well, I got tired of being teased. And I realized that the businessmen and women hearing these remarks all appreciate fabric, no matter where it's from. (You know the "knitter's handshake?" Well, at these conventions, people will come up to each other and finger each other's clothing, and declare, "That's a nice shirt!") So when we got back home last year, I sat him down and told him that I didn't appreciate the teasing, and demanded, "What is it about fabric that you don't understand?!"

Now, fast-forward to this year, and the convention in San Antonio. Where last I left off, we were just departing for our Western night dinner. This was a dinner hosted by a fabric supplier. The dinner was held at a ranch outside of San Antonio, and we had various entertainments to keep us occupied before dinner:

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Scott pets an armadillo. Scott says, "Chicks dig bolo ties."

After dinner, the fabric supply company put on a fashion show. To my knowledge, nothing like this has been done before -- these dinners are usually very staid and even semi-formal. This was wild!

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The show opened with a parade of serapes made from awning fabrics. This one is being modeled by one of the fabric supply company's sales reps. The serapes showcased the oldest, most traditional awning stripe colorways made by the company.

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After serapes, lots of men's garments made from awning and technical fabrics were shown: chaps with coordinating vests, and dusters. This is one of the vice presidents lassoing one of the other head honchos of the company.

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The saloon girls are wearing the latest and brightest colorways in awning fabrics.

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The schoolmarm wears a dress made from awning fabric.

This fashion show was highly entertaining. It was a memorable way to show off the product, and also to introduce the company's staff to their customers.

Saturday morning I went through a little side exhibit at the convention, which featured artistic uses of technical fabrics. Here is where I saw and photographed the knotted chair -- and probably just at the same moment that I was in San Antonio taking a picture of this chair, my friend Abby was taking a picture of this chair's counterpart, at MOMA in New York city. Yarn lovers are drawn to yarn, what can I say?

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Knotted Chair. (Designer: Marcel Wanders Studio.) "The chair uses a hybrid yarn with a carbon fiber core inside an aramid sleeve. The high strength yarn is knotted and then resin applied and the chair dries into its final shape, hardening at the same time." This chair was touted as being very strong but lightweight.

There were many other items on display, showing unusual uses for technical fabrics (in tote bags; in chair upholstery; in various kinds of curtains to filter light, or provide directional signage, or to absorb sound), but I'm not going to bore you with lots of pictures of these. I'll limit myself to this last one:

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Elastoplast Clothing. (Designer: Shelley Fox) These garments are made from bandaging fabric for the healthcare industry. "The fabrics are printed with an ultrasound technique that is used to burn and scorch the fabric, creating a delicate, distressed lace effect."

(Quotations are from the exhibit display placards.)

Any questions? What is it about fabric that you don't understand?

That whetted my appetite for art. I spent Saturday afternoon in the company of Jessica, the marketing manager for Scott's business. (When I saw the Tiffany Exhibit at Seattle Art Museum, I went at Jessica's invitation.) We went to the McNay Art Museum, where we took in an exhibit called Waking Dreams: The Art of the Pre-Raphaelites.

The McNay Art Museum was originally a mansion, the home of Marion Koogler McNay, patron of the arts. She collected 20th century art, and when she passed away, donated both her mansion and her collection to the city of San Antonio. The mansion was built as a half-oval, and stands two stories tall. The floor plan was very surprising -- Jessica and I felt lost, half the time. The Waking Dreams exhibit just went on and on, for room after room of gorgeous paintings. Every time Jessica and I thought we'd seen it all, there would be another room of paintings and other objets.

The Pre-Raphaelites were a group who did their work in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their paintings are lush, with a Renaissance-like realism; the color palettes I really loved, with lots of teals, purples, golds, and raspberry-reds. Most of their subject matter was based on literature: Greek myths, or fairy tales, or stories from the Bible. Both Jessica and I were intrigued to see about as many female painters as male ones were active in this art movement.

Click here to see my favorite painting in the exhibit, one that was painted by a woman.

Jessica and I spent the afternoon at the McNay, but we easily could have spent the entire day there. The grounds were lovely, with many fountains and outdoor sculptures.

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Jessica takes a break in the museum's courtyard.

We also zipped through the exhibition on Matisse's Jazz, and the McNay's regular collection, which boasts of having works by Gaugin and van Gogh. (I laughed on our way to the Museum: "That probably means one of each!" Lo and behold, I was right.)

The Waking Dreams exhibit is on tour through 2007, going to other venues in the country. It was really a rich exhibit and well worth seeing.

Posted by Karen at November 9, 2005 12:45 PM
Comments

Very nice photos. You have a great eye for color! The gloves looks amazing, and I like the green/brown colorway.

Posted by: Anne at November 9, 2005 02:47 PM

I want that chair.

And that presentation of fabric made me smile. Forty-five years ago my grandmother worked at what was, then, Seattle Tent and Awning and she sewed me a cowgirl outfit for a Christmas present out of the canvas from her workplace. That outfit plus my cap gun and a perch up in the cherry tree? Good stuff.

Posted by: Kit at November 11, 2005 12:05 PM

Oh, Kit, your grandmother was prescient! She must've been at that fashion show in spirit.

Posted by: Karen at November 11, 2005 01:37 PM