Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Back in Australia
The photos above are from a small textile museum in Hard near the Boden See in Austria.This particular area developed as a textile printing area after a person moved to this area from the great Mulhouse printing factories sometime in the 1700's. The area was chosen for it's pure water which was also ultimately to cause its demise in the 1860's with local town councillors voting to close the industry due to the polluting of the water system. The museum is small but well worth a look if you are in the area- they had a very good video showing the carving of the blocks and transfer of designs and showing the actual printing process and mordanting process for silks ( and much of the mordanting of natural dyes uses urine- for example woad uses bovine urine, and workers associated with the industry often had derogatory names assigned to them because of the odour of urine) as well as a very nice collection of printing blocks and fabrics printed in the region.Wood block carving was a much sought after profession in that it paid three times the money than ordinary work in the textile industry and was done in well lit warm and dry environments. One did a three year apprenticeship upon which one was given or bought ( I am not sure which as my German is a bit rusty)a box of tools as seen in the photo. This enabled woodblock carvers to travel with their tools to various areas and of course resulted in a cross fertilisation of patterns and designs.
I am back after a long journey home not helped by a train strike in France ( my intended way of getting to the airport which had to be changed to hire car as I did not want to miss my plane as it had been incredibly difficult to get a fare home in the first place), to being told the plane was too full and that I would have to fly with a partner airline( which was fine by me) to being told at the last minute they did have a seat for me, arriving in Doha late and having to scuttle to catch the next leg of my flight to find my luggage missing on arrival in Bangkok. I was a bit overwhelmed by Bangkok-the noise and dirt and its skyscrapers- giving an outward appearance of western affluence ( why is this so desired- I find modern western cities soulless) but concealing poverty- and the number of shops selling designer clothing ( how many of these outlets are there worldwide of these overpriced items- there are whole cities that exist on selling hotels and designer malls to tourists- Dubai, Doha, Singapore, Bangkok and no doubt many others).I had hoped to buy some silks but I didn't get to the markets . Then I flew home on Jetstar- and from my point of view never again! The plane was fine but having to pay for meals and drinks on a reasonably long haul flight when you are tired and just want to get home is not my cup of tea. Not only that I used my frequent flyers points for this leg- and my grumble is -- I earned those points on more expensive fully catered flights - yet I get to spend them on a lowcost flight with no services!Thanks Qantas!
So I am home- have to finish drawings for my Seventy Two Ways book to send to France- my book contract is signed for the French edition of the book! Also waiting upon my arrival home was lovely already coloured lutradur/polyester non-woven fabric purchased by one of my students from Paris ( Thank You Catherine!)in a Toto of all places ( though in a sense not surprising as Toto's seem to have all manner of things fabric). Catherine sent me yellow, orange and red- which saves me having to colour the first application before applying the next layer of colour/designs with transfer paints.
Marion tagged me for a meme- but as i can't think of an unsual fact about myself and I haven't yet got around to thinking of any other facts.
And I will be going back to Europe in late December/January and giving more classes so if you are interested please contact me!