Saturday, March 24, 2018

Appliqué Creations of the 1980s[1]
Art Review

Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Appliqué, as the name suggests, is the art of applying shapes cut from a variety of different fabrics onto a different background material. As a form of needlework, it can be traced back at least as far as the time of the Crusades when knights wore appliquéd heraldic insignias.

Knight templar tunic - cotton tabard with split sides and rope belt. Large red appliqued cross insignia. Leather dagging at hem and armlets.

There is also evidence of a much earlier type of decorative appliqué dating back to the ancient Egyptians. Excellent examples of appliqué which have survived in good condition can be found on many of the early embroidered vestments: the appliqué was worked in velvets and silks and embellished with gold and silver threads.

An early 17th Century Spanish example of appliqué. Part of a cope, the figure of John the Evangelist is embroidered on satin and applied to a velvet background with additional gold thread decoration.

Appliqué was also used to decorate wall hangings: often linen was richly embroidered and then applied to a background of heavy velvet.

The Art travelled from Europe to America with the early settlers, and some of the finest designs can be seen on coverlets and quilts of this period. The women used every scrap of material to create fascinating patterns, which reflected their homes and surroundings. Sometimes these bedcovers were made up in sections, each decorated with a different appliqué design.

This appliqué quilt's place of origin is easy to determine, since two of the chintz cutouts depict the figure of Liberty and the American eagle. It forms part of a friendship quilt completed in 1862.

Appliqué was very popular in the 1980s, perhaps because it relies more on the imagination and creativity than sewing. It can be used to decorate furnishings and any number of garments and is an ideal way of rejuvenating worn and old garments. Today, in developed countries with a throw-away attitude mending, adorning and rejuvenation are becoming a lost "art".

Appliqué Creations of the 1980s[1]

Artist: Rosita Johanson; Title: The Beach.
Technique and Materials: Machine appliqué; cotton, cotton blends.
Size: 8 x 6.5 inches.
Photography: Lenscape Incorporated.

Artist: Rosita Johanson; Title: Coming Home.
Technique and Materials: Machine appliqué; cotton, cotton blends.
Size: 8 x 6 inches.
Photography: Lenscape Incorporated.

Artist: Martha Cole; Title: Railroad Crossing.
Technique and Materials: Appliqué, free machine embroidery; assorted fabrics, fabric paints, cotton threads.
Size: 72 x 38 x 1.5 inches.
Photography: C. Pittenger.

Artist: Charlotte Kennedy; Title: Bugaku.
Technique and Materials: Appliqué, hand, and machine embroidery, quilting; linen/cotton prints, moire, felt, silk threads, beads.
Size: 20 x 24 x 1 inches.
Photography: Bill R. Jans.

Artist: Martha Cole; Title: Silicon Connection.
Technique and Materials: Appliqué; cotton fabrics, cotton blends.
Size: 96 x 48 x 1.5 inches.
Photography: I. Berg Muller.

Artist: Jo Cosli; Title: Ragsie's Rug.
Technique and Materials: Dyed felt appliqué, quilted with yarn.
Size: 38 x 23 inches.

Artist: Linda Lochmiller; Title: My Life.
Technique and Materials: Reverse and 3-dimensional appliqué; cotton.
Size: 35 x 25 inches.
Photography: Roger Vandiver.

Artist: Star Moxley; Title: No! Not the Dark Dress!
Technique and Materials: Appliqué; cotton, cotton/poly chintz.
Size: 70 x 48 inches.
Photography: Michael Cordell.

[1] Ed. K. Mathews, FiberArts Design Book Three, Lark Books, Asheville (1987).

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