Italian Minstrel

Italian Minstrel

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

This could be hand-painted velvet

This could be hand-painted velvet - but it isn't! It is the face of a viola, looking for all the world like a wise Chinese Mandarin braving the March winds, and trying to find the watery sun, still weak at the horizon. The good news is, there is enough! And more sun is on its way, slowly rising in the sky, encouraging the birds to find suitable locations for their nests and the leaves to begin to break.

Catkins are flowering (they may look like lamb's tails but they really are flowers) on hazel, the puss-in-willow has shown its soft fur and acid yellow aconites and pure white snowdrops are nearly over, with primroses shyly beginning to show their pure but pale yellow petals. My favourite season is coming and the riot of colour is beginning to build.

The interesting thing about colour is that if it were replicated in exact measures on a textile or fabric we would find it gaudy and unrealistic, but somehow context and scale is all. In our textiles we like subtlety and faded tones, and of course, with the passage of a hundred years or more, that is what happens. The dyes fade, light reacts with materials and we have the equivalent of dried flowers. And we love it.