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Selvedge Magazine | Issue 97

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November / December 2020

WORDS BY Polly Leonard, Founder & Editor of Selvedge Magazine

"I recently enjoyed the film The Two Popes and was intrigued by the role red played in the depiction of the Conclave. It was everywhere; from the aerial shots of the cochineal ecclesiastical robes of the summoned cardinals, to the scrutineer who ceremonially pierced each paper with a needle - through the word ‘Eligio’ - placing all the ballots on a single red thread. Wherever there is power, you will find red. We see evidence of this in Renaissance Venice, on thebattlefield of the 18th century, and of course, in fashion where Amy de la Hay treats us to a glimpse of the show Ravishing she has curated and that is on display at the FIT in New York until 9 January. Roses are also the theme of one of the episodes of the Selvedge Podcast; you can listen to a new episode on Apple Podcasts and Spotify on the first of every month. In episode five I talk to Renuka Reddy, who creates historically accurate reproductions of Indian Palampores: some of which are exhibited in the exhibition Chintz The Cloth That Changed the World. We are given an insight into the influence of chintz in Sylvia Houghteling’s article, where she unpicks the relationship between Indian chintz and English crewel embroidery.

We explore the natural dyes of cochineal, madder and logwood and see how today’s designers are finding new ways to exploit their inherent qualities. Laura Gray discovered that pink really is the navy blue of India and Sarah Jane Downing explores its use in portraiture. This Christmas, if you want your gifts to have an impact, wrap them in red, maybe even the wrapping paper Cambridge Imprint has designed for us - see the Selvedge blog to find out more about this exciting project.

Thank you to everyone who made the Selvedge World Fair a success, especially to the visitors who bought beautiful products, sustaining the livelihoods of the artisans who trusted me to find new ways of presenting their work. As the nights draw in, our attention turns to the positive effect making has on our mental health. We are launching a six-month-long initiative ‘The Selvedge Winter of Making’ with more online classes, a live chatroom, project kits, interviews with makers and a special issue on community. Enjoy!"


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