Notebook Set


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Textile Label V: Textile trading has a rich history in India. Over four thousand years ago, the people of India's Harrapan civilization in the Indus River Valley were weavers and spinners of cotton. Because of India's unique geographic position, many trade lines ran across the country and through the neighboring seas. The silk trade reached India in 140 BC via Tibet, while cotton exports to Nile civilizations date back to the 5th century. During the late 17th and 18th century, Indian cotton was exported to Western countries to meet the needs of European factories during the Industrial Revolution. Textile merchants used colorful labels, such as the one in this St. Frank piece, to market their bolts of fabric to overseas clientele.

Washed Indigo: Since ancient times, from opulent Egypt to stark West Africa, fabric has been dyed a mysterious, beautiful blue. This is a replica of our popular St. Frank textile; the indigo color, or "gold blue," is a symbol of the link between heaven and earth. Through a careful process, indigo can produce a vast palette of blue hues, from the palest sky to the deepest midnight. Dye vats take a full week to prepare and require daily stirring. The un-dyed cloth is pinched, sewn, and tied according to precise patterns. Once dyed, the ties are removed, revealing patterns of lines, shells, dots, or tracery.

Kuba Cloth: Kuba cloth is a unique textile featuring complex designs that are created when various geometric raffia pieces are stitched to a plain raffia background. The resulting rough surface is punctuated by repeated geometric patterns with unexpected interruptions in design. Men cultivate the raffia palm and weave the raffia cloth; women then create the patterned textiles. Traditionally, Kuba cloth was used as a wrapped skirt worn during burials. Later, it was incorporated in ceremonial dress for ritual dances and other celebrations.