Monday, 22 September 2008

Textile Travels Part 2: Mulhouse textiles

While I was in France, I went to the Museum of Fabric at Mulhouse. I have wanted to go there for a long time, since my friend Gerard sent me posters of their exhibitions, which have decorated my workroom. It's quite a small museum, but very detailed. Mulhouse, in Alsace, became a textile printing area when Louis XVI banned the importation of the fashionable Indian chintzes into France, after a cholera outbreak in Marseilles. At this time, Mulhouse was ain independent principality, and the town fathers saw an opportunity. Many Europeans had travelled to India to try to discover the secrets of Indian printing and part of the exhibition at Mulhouse mentions these people and their contibution to European fabric printing. Once the secrets were discovered, chintz printing became the major industry in this area. The exhibition (all in French) describes the technical processes, including the original design books of some fabric designers and three full-sized looms from different periods, and provides lots of examples of fabrics printed in Mulhouse. There are also some examples of garments made from chintz, and several "boutis", French wholecloth quilts, made from Mulhouse chintz fabrics.

When I was there, there was also a special exhibition called Black and White, of fabrics designed and printed in Mulhouse. Fabrics are still printed there today, but mostly as special runs for couture designers, and for IKEA. There were examples of couture outfits made from Mulhouse fabrics, plus IKEA fabrics and other design works. I'll add photos and more information once I'm home again.


Kaite said...

I'm looking forward to seeing the Mulhouse photos Nola. But hey, those 'boutis' sound like 'art cloth'.

sue said...

it sounds like you're having a GREAT time - I'm SO happy for you :-)

I was honestly not expecting to see anything on your blog ... but I'm so glad that I decided to visit. I loved hearing a bit about what you've been up to :-) So now I don't have to keep wondering because I've read up a little bit about it!

Keep having a great time.

Kaite said...

just thought i'd better let you know - Doris L. has passed away. Sept22nd, funeral last Monday. KM.