a glorious link

20 Apr

WEEK  FIFTEEN – (april 13 – 19)

Disaster on the feathering front. I have run out of Posca pens and so has every store vaguely close to me. I have ordered online but they won’t be with me until next week.
I could have rung around/driven around but I figured that my time will be better spent prepping for when I do finish all these Laminex samples in the next two to three weeks.
Time now to work on the link between Laminex feathers and doilies – I know that there is a strong one but how do I articulate it?

Off to my book shelves and book piles – I have plenty of references but I’m pretty sure that the link I want is not in them. Jumping online also gives scant info on doilies except that I notice much research lists doilies as crocheted items with no mention of the embroidered  ‘table-mats’ that I know and appreciate.
Still, interesting leads come forth.
An Antimacassar, is an embroidered/ crocheted/ stitched piece that covers the head and often the arms of a chair. I knew that. What I didn’t know was that Macassar was a blokes’ gooey hair gel from the turn of the century.
Any cluey lass back then knew how to decoratively protect her chairs and save a load of cleaning – make a doily in disguise.
ANTI-Macassar is now a very self explanatory word. Lovely.

Not long after delving into this gooey substance, by way of a lovely Wiki line ….. a Jack the Ripper victim, Annie Chapman, “earned some income from crochet work, making antimacassars and selling flowers, supplemented by casual prostitution”….. YIKES….but following that curiously gruesome link started me on the right track.
It lead me to a Museums Victoria link to a little Greek side mat, circa 1950s, made for Irene Soumilas’ dowry. It wasn’t the doily that excited me, it was the handy ‘Tag’ section that awarded me the prize….
The Australian version of a hope chest.
They faded out of favour about the time Laminex was coming into fashion.

My mums glory box was, to me, a beautiful, exotic and mysterious item.
The varnished two-doored little cabinet was carved and it had a lockable ‘secret’ top compartment accessed by lifting the lid.
There is also the ‘idea’ of a Glory Box and its contents, often hand-worked – not something that my generation needed to consider.

There was also the incongruity of this old-fashioned piece of furniture amongst the more modern taste of my parents.
Our interiors were undoubtedly moulded by my father the builder. We lived with open spaces, clean lines, lots of teak and natural colours.
Mum’s taste was a mix of what she grew up with and inherited, by then of course considered old fashioned, and a modern, easy care aesthetic. She was sporty and social gal and didn’t aim to excel at the domestic duties. There was no constant frou-frouing or even moving things around. Where it was put it stayed….forever.

In Warncliffe Road, basically my primary school days, the ‘glory box’ was in my brothers’ bedroom.
At Carlsberg Road, in my high school days, it was in dad’s ‘cubby’, (his backyard office), where it co-incidently held the precious Laminex samples!

Finally I have THE link and the elements are coming together.
This really is feathering the nest….and to think that Jack the Ripper got me there.

With a bit more vigour now I also worked on, and completed, the conversion of Pencilz and Planez now both on Patternspot. Another two down..and another two up.

pencilz planezAnd my half-hearted progress downstairs with machine-stitched feathers on paint chips was combined on and off with sorting some laminex ‘doilies’.

making sense of the samples


I am pining for those Posca’s.

Jan Mullen

B. Ed. Art/Craft (Textiles/Sculpture) Living in Perth, Western Australia Artist, Fabric Designer, Author, Teacher, Mentor.