This is an interesting infographic showing three months of crocheting and when/where each item was sold via Etsy. Click on the image to view it full size.
Photo by rcollona via Flickr
Chinatown in London’s West End is to be made ‘more authentically Chinese’(…)
Lighting designers, as well as landscape designers, architects, artists and craftspeople, are being sought to work on the brief from Prince Charles’ urban design organisation.
Initial plans include creating a timber pagoda in Newport Place, a screen garden, gold lanterns and naming – based on ancient Chinese dragons – for the nine entrances and exits to the district.
Chinese mythology and feng shui will play a major role in the designs, according to Westminster City Council.
A craft enthusiast who posted knitting patterns inspired by Doctor Who characters on the internet has been forced to take them down after a copyright infringement notice from the BBC.
In a statement posted on their website, science fiction and knitting fan Mazzmatazz said they were forced to remove five designs after a notice from the BBC.
‘Thanks to the BBC, I am no longer allowed to distribute any Doctor Who patterns, even for free (not that I was charging anyway). I apologise to any fans who are disappointed by this,’ they said.
‘If you want to see the patterns back up, I suggest you petition the BBC to relent.’
The offending knitting patterns showed how to create small toys resembling Doctor Who monsters such as the Ood and Adipose.
‘The patterns I created, inspired by Doctor Who, were never for sale – they were shared under Creative Commons licenses, to prevent resale, so that other fans could enjoy and share the fun too,’ Mazzmatazz said.
The infringement notice has angered bloggers who claim the BBC is overreacting to fan art, and that the patterns are not a direct representation of their characters.
‘They are misplacing their energies pursuing a fan who has done nothing more than to display their love to the show by making a highly original design,’ said technology law blogger Andres Guadamuz.
However BBC worldwide home entertainment spokesman Philip Fleming said while the designs were not for sale, they had been used for profit.
‘We’re not heavy-handed in any way when it comes to fans creating their own products out of a love for the show,’ Mr Fleming said.
‘If we were sure these patterns were simply being shared with friends, family or fellow fans… then we would have, as often done before, let the matter rest.
‘Unfortunately, in this instance, the patterns which were posted on a website ended up being exploited for profit by people who did not have permission to use the Doctor Who trademark.’
Mazmatazz’s case has been picked up by the Open Rights Group, an online civil liberties organisation.
‘The approach the BBC have taken with Mazz’s knitting patterns demonstrate a distinct lack of flexibility,’ the organisation said.
‘It is quite possible that through transforming the characters in Doctor Who into knitting patterns, Mazz may have infringed upon the BBC’s copyright.
‘But it’s hard to see how Mazz’s non-commercial knitting patterns actually damage the commercial interests of the BBC.’
Instructions for building a robotic pumpkin Dalek remain online.
From The Royal Mint’s website:
The new designs have been chosen via an open competition which was widely publicised in the national media in August 2005 and attracted 4,000 entries. The winning designer is 26-year-old Matthew Dent, originally from Bangor who now lives and works in London as a graphic designer.
After exploring a number of different options, Matthew Dent finally developed the heraldic theme, taking the greatest heraldic device ever used on coinage – the Royal Arms.
Rather lovely and a brave departure. Makes me want to keep the pound!
Yesterday I got some US currency and couldn’t help thinking how boring it was. Turns out I’m not alone.
A world-famous cottage industry, Harris Tweed almost went out of business. But now it has been given a new lease of life. Emine Saner reports
Friday March 28, 2008
Warping tweed by hand in one of the KM Group mills at Shawbost. Photograph: Murdo Macleod/Guardian
Only last year it looked as though the hand looms in cottages and outhouses dotted all over the Outer Hebrides would fall silent, destined to become relics of the Harris Tweed industry that once kept the islands of Lewis, Barra, Uist and Harris going. ‘When times were slack I would have to get jobs on the oil rigs, fishing, odd jobs,’ says Norman Macdonald, who lives in the village of Breasclete on Lewis. ‘It was very bad for a time and a lot of people left the industry.’
Did he think about leaving? ‘Yes, but I stayed, mostly because of my animals.’
Macdonald is also a crofter – he has 60 ewes – but has been a Harris Tweed weaver for 28 years, a job that, in busy times, has kept him occupied for 14 hours a day, six days a week, and earned him up to £500 a week. ‘I can see a future [for the industry], otherwise that fellow wouldn’t have bought the factory.’
That fellow is Brian Haggas, a businessman from Yorkshire who bought the largest Harris Tweed mill in the Outer Hebrides in July last year, and was dubbed the saviour of a local industry dating back to the mid-19th century. The brand is protected by a 1993 act of parliament, which means that tweed can be stamped with the famous orb logo only if it is made from wool dyed, spun and woven on the islands. The yarn is taken to the weavers, who work from home, after being dyed and spun at the mill. The cloth is then returned to the mill, to be steamed flat and checked. Any dropped threads are repaired before it is rolled into a bale. Production peaked in 1966 and has been on the decline ever since.
Haggas has rationalised operations. Instead of the 800 patterns that used to be produced each year, there are just classic men’s jackets in a choice of five designs that sell in upmarket shops for around £300.
At the moment, there are around 100 weavers on the islands, with an average age of 60. John MacLean, 63, lives in the village of Tolsta Chaolais. He has been a weaver for 47 years, but started ‘when I was 14. I used to do weaving when I came home from school to help my dad, who was also a weaver.’ Seeing no future in it at the time, MacLean’s own three sons haven’t become weavers.
MacLean can produce 250 metres in a week on his hand and pedal loom. Is there a sense of pride in being a Harris Tweed weaver? ‘Yes, there is. It has kept this island going. I remember when there were 1,000 weavers’.
Too late for Easter, but maybe these natural dyeing techniques from Curbly.com will be useful for other things…
- Free-range eggs
- Alum powder (available at the supermarket in the spice aisle)
- White Vinegar
- Vegetables and spices, see step one
- Measuring spoons
- Wooden spoon and slotted spoon
- Vegetable oil, wax, electrical tape, leaves, stickers, etc (optional)
1). Choose which colors you’d like to dye your eggs.
• For blue, use red cabbage
• For red, try whole beets (not canned), cherries, or cranberries
• For light green, use spinach or fresh green herbs
• For tan, brew some strong coffee, tea, or a handful of cumin seeds
• For yellow, try turmeric (a spice) and yellow onion skins
• For olive green, use red onion skins (the color is produced by a reaction with the vinegar)
• For purple, grape juice or frozen blueberrie
2). For each color, fill a saucepan with at least three inches of water. Add in your vegetables or spices. It’ll take a lot…around two cups, packed.
3). Bring the water to a boil, and add two teaspoons of alum powder – UNLESS you’re using onion skins, as it creates a funky reaction.
4.) Boil for thirty minutes.
5). Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool slightly. You don’t want to add the eggs to boiling water, because the shells will likely crack.
6). Return to heat, and stir in two tablespoons of white vinegar. Add the eggs, and bring the mixture back to a full boil. Reduce the heat slightly, and cook for 10-12 minutes. Take the pan off the heat, and let the eggs cool in the dye.
7). Remove the eggs from the dye. If you’re satisfied with the color, then allow them to dry. For deeper, richer colors, strain the liquid, and allow the egg to continue to soak for up to eight hours. (Any longer, and the vinegar will start to disintegrate the shell.) If you plan to eat the eggs, put them into the refrigerator.
8). To add this marbleized effect, stir in a few teaspoons of vegetable oil into the cooled, strained dye. The oil will stick to the shell in certain places, preventing the dye from continuing to color the shell in certain spots.
9). Try dripping wax on the shell, or color them with crayons. Dye as above, and then stick them in a 200° oven for 8-10 minutes to melt the wax.
10). For a relief technique, cover the shell with stickers, tape, stencils, leafs, flowers, etc before dying them. On this egg, I added shards of electrical (PVC) tape.
11). Lastly, if you want your eggs to sparkle, polish them with a bit of vegetable oil.
A pitch explained for a sculpture in Yorkshire
Interesting article from The Guardian on a new artwork made from textiles:
What could be the point of such an exercise in futility? The work of art is supposed to defy time but fabric is bound to fade and rot, even when it is kept in between layers of tissue paper and shut away from sight.
There’s nothing new in this kind of heroic pointlessness; women have frittered their lives away stitching things for which there is no demand ever since vicarious leisure was invented. Mrs Delaney was spending hours of concentration making effigies of flowers out of bits of coloured paper mounted on black card as long ago as 1771. Why didn’t she just paint them? You can see her paper mosaics in the Enlightenment gallery of the British Museum, if you insist, but be warned. You could end up profoundly depressed by yet more evidence that, for centuries, women have been kept busy wasting their time.
It is really difficult to make a picture out of scraps of printed cloth. It is not in the least difficult to buy a kit with pre-cut colour-coordinated scraps and toil away at ironing the pieces round the paper cut-outs, pressing their faces together, stitching them from behind and ironing them flat, until you’ve recreated the quilt in the illustration, but even then you can’t read or watch telly or even think while you’re doing it. There was a time when women made patchworks together, in quilting bees, and chatted as they worked. The materials were worn-out clothing and aprons; the pattern was a variant on a stock pattern, learned from the older women and modified to fit the circumstances. Such quilts are dignified, dense and often very beautiful objects. They have no pretensions to being works of art, or had none until some impious philistine decided to stretch them flat and hang them on walls. The same thing happened to the Navajo blanket. Taut against the walls of the Whitney museum, the lightning blankets that used to flash and flicker on the plains are dead as shot crows on a fence.”
Read the full article here.