Process of writing a blog and reflection

Creating this blog was the first time I had attempted to post my writing and findings online. I was pleasantly surprised as to how simple it was. I thought I wouldn’t enjoy the blog writing process as I thought it would be very difficult, however I have thoroughly enjoyed researching a textile tradition, an era and a museum object as I have learned a lot by doing this.

I was quite overwhelmed by all the different layouts and styles of blogs when It came to choosing my own. I wanted it to suit my style and taste and for it to also look professional. I found a design, that I thought was most suitable, after testing a few out. I chose a minimal design as I didn’t want to take the focus off my writing.


Figure 1- My Blog (9/12/16)

Reviewing another colleagues work is a great way to take inspiration and a way to give them feedback so it is very beneficial. Therefore, I will be reviewing a fellow students blog – Shanice England’s blog.


Figure 2 -Shanice’s Blog (9/12/16)

Like me, Shanice has created her blog for the Critical and Contextual module for Textile design. When I first viewed Shanice’s blog, I thought the colours worked well and looked quite subtle which I believe looks better on a blog as it isn’t too overpowering. For each post, Shanice put a clear title at the top, explaining what the contents of the post is. Her writing has been executed to a high standard. She has followed the Harvard referencing method which can be difficult to do. The only negative I must say about Shanice’s blog is that it is missing a couple of posts but I’m sure when they are complete they will be done the same standard as the others!


Figure 3 -Example of Shanice’s Writing (9/12/16)

If I were to continue writing posts for my blog, I think I would like to include my own work and more research into artists I like so whoever visits my blog can get more of a feel of my tastes, style and preferences as a designer.

Word Count: 323


ENGLAND, S. (2016) [Weblog]. Critical and Contexual studies: Textile Design. Available from: [Accessed 9/12/16]

Image References:

Figure 1: An image of my blog

Figure 2: Image of Shanice England’s blog

Figure 3: Example of Shanice England’s writing.


Museum Object

When I recently visited the Victoria and Albert Museum on a Textile Design tip in London, I was instantly drawn to a Japanese Kimono exhibition. There was one kimono in particular that caught my eye which was an satin, embroidered outer kimono which was made between 1870 and 1890. It features ”scenes from two well-known plays… The Uchikake was worn for a kabuki theatre performance. Costumes worn on stage certainly needed to be flamboyant and eye-catching, but the motifs were not normally so literal. It is possible, therefore, that this garment belonged instead to a high-ranking courtesan.” (Anonymous, n.d)


Figure 1-Japanese Outer Kimono/kosode (1870-1890)

A kimono can be defined as a long loose, straight cut, traditionally Japanese item of clothing, which ties with a sash at the waist and has broad, flowing sleeves (Nomura and Ema 2006). It is recognisable for it’s ”T-shaped outline, fluttering sleeves and flowing vertical panels draped from the wearers shoulders”. (Milhaupt, 2014)  The kimono consists of these parts: the right body, the left body, the right sleeve, the left sleeve, the right overlap, the left overlap and the collar. from the wrist to the base of the neck when the wearer horizontally stretches arms. The length of the body and sleeve is different between genders. (Sano and Yamamoto) Kimonos are worn wrapped left side over right and secured with an obi (a sash). The length of the garment can be altered by drawing up excess fabric under the obi. (Anonymous, 2015)  The kimono was often worn with a ‘chinese-influenced hakama (a type of long skirt with or without a division to separate the legs, similar to trousers), or a type of apron known as mo. Later, it became fashionable to wear the kimono-style garment without the hakama.’ This meant the kimono wearer needed a new way to hold the robe closed; and so the obi, the wide sash worn around the waist, was made to fit this purpose. (Joy 2016)

Over the years, the design of the kimono has changed due to change in fashions although it has always retained its recognisable ”T-shape”. The extant kimono measurements reveal that ”the body panels were approximately twice the width of the sleeve panels.”(Milhaupt, 2014) This meant that the garment was a lot more loose on the body which was gathered in at the waist by a narrow sash or cord. In the the mid- seventeenth century, the measurements of the body panel and the sleeve panels were equal, meaning that the body panel became narrower. The obi remained narrow  in order to prevent interruption of the decoration. By the mid eighteenth century, the obi had increased in width in order to break the garment up into lower and upper design spaces. ”Kimono designers responded by concentrating their efforts on patterns that allowed for a visual disruption.” (Milhaupt, 2014) In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, the obi ”covered much of a woman’s torso. Again, Kimono designers responded by balancing the visual emphasis on the obi with designs concentrated around the lower half of the kimono.”(Milhaupt, 2014)

Below is a more recent pattern of a Kimono.


Figure 2- Kimono Pattern (2002)

Due to the characteristics of the Kimono, I believe it fits into the Kosode category of kimono. The Kosode, a particular type of Kimono, was worn by women of women of samurai families in the late 18th century to the 19th century have two characteristic designs which have been seen on the Ukikake (Long over garment) and Katabira (unlined summe kimono). (Nagasaki, 1993) Floral designs are very common on both types of Kosode, such as seasonal flowers of bouquets and flower carriages.Waterfalls were a common motif on Kimonos, especially Kodoes in the Edo period.(NOMURA and EMA ,2006)  In Edo and elsewhere, ‘a dynamic urban culture developed in which fashionable dress played a central role.’ (Anonymous 2015) ‘The art of kimono-making grew into a specialized craft’ during the Edo Period (1603-1868). Some kimonos were literal works of art and could cost more than a family home. People would keep their kimono and pass them down to the next generation (Joy,2016.)


Figure 3- Uchikake/long ovegarment (19th century Edo period)

The figures the kimono, ‘shishi'(refers to Chinese guardian lion) and peonies are made of satin and crepe silk, dyed in vibrant colours, which have been applied to a black back-ground and then outlined with couched gold-wrapped thread. The bridge, clouds, water, leaves and other elements are also in couched gold embroidery. The design is padded in places to add  three-dimensionality, while the eyes of the shishi are made from glass as are the ones on the the main figure on the bridge who also has actual hair, probably from a yak or other animal, and buttons of metal. (Anonymous, n.d) The kimono  also features lions and peonies which are both a symbol of nobility. (NOMURA and EMA ,2006)


Figure 4- Detail on the Kimono (1870-1890)


Word Count: 750


ANONYMOUS (n.d) Kimono. [online] Available at [Accessed 6/12/16]

ANONYMOUS (2015) Kimono [online article] Available at

JOY, A (2016) A brief history of the japanese kimono [online article] Available at: [Accessed 7/12/16]

NOMURA, S. and EMA, T. (2006) Japanese Kimono Designs . Mineola, Newyork: Dover publications

SANO, T and YAMAMOTO, H (2002) Design system for Japanese kimono [Online Journal] Okayama, Japan: Faculty of Education Okayama University. Available from:  [Accessed 6/12/16]

Milhaupt, T.S (2014). Kimono, A Modern History . London: Reaktion Books.

Nagasaki, I (1993). Kosode. Kyoto, Japan: Fugioka Mamoru.


Image References:

Figure 1: ANONYMOUS (1870-90) Outer Kimono (uchikake) [Textile piece-Kimono] Photograph took by me at the V&A Museum

Figure 2: Sano, T and Yamamoto, H (2002) Design system for Japanese kimono [Online Journal]Okayama, Japan: Faculty of Education Okayama University. Available from: [Accessed 6/12/16]

Figure 3: Nagasaki, I (1993). Kosode. Kyoto, Japan: Fugioka Mamoru

Figure 4: ANONYMOUS (1870-90) Kimono. [Textile piece-Kimono] Available at [Accessed 6/12/16]


‘Family Photograph’


Figure 1 – Photograph of my father and his friends (1974)

The photograph above was taken in 1974 in Scarborough while my father and his friends were on holiday. It was taken in a pub before they went clubbing. My father is the man second to the right and wearing the white suit, which is the outfit I will be focusing on in this blog post. As my father and his group of friends were going to go clubbing, they dressed smartly. My father decided to wear a white suit jacket, white waist coat and a navy shirt, and although you are unable to see them in the photograph, white flared trousers which I was told were ‘extremely fashionable at the time.’ (Told in an email from A. Cunningham on the 13th November 2016)

Figure 2-Image from ‘The World of Kays’ catalogue which is advertising casual suits and flares. (1973)

 The navy shirt my father is wearing under is white blazer has a bigger collar than the shirts that are considered fashionable today. This can also be seen on my father’s friends in Figure 1 and in the catalogue in Figure 2, which demonstrates that this was a very popular trend at the time. Three piece suits including big open collars played a huge part in “Disco fashion” in the 1970s. it is said all styles of clothing were affected by the disco style, especially those of men. The three piece suits were available in a variety of colours and were characterised by wide lapels, wide legged or high-rise waistcoats, and flared trousers.”Culottes, bell-bottoms, and cut-off short shorts are all on the most-wanted list.” (Karpetz, 2015)

These trends were later presented in the film “Saturday Night Fever”. “The movie Saturday Night Fever brought out fashions reserved for the disco club scene and popularised them for the rest of the waiting world.” (Marsh, 2006)


Figure 3 – Film theatrical release poster (1977)

When talking to my father about the photograph he said his outfit was most likely from “Cecil Gee”, as this was his favourite place to shop for fashionable clothes. “Cecil Gee” is a men’s clothing specialist, founded in London’s Charring Cross Road in 1851 by Cecil Gee, who quickly revealed himself to be one of the country’s most innovative men’s clothing specialist. (Anonymous, 2015) Cecil Gee’s success came in the 1950s when he recognised that by importing fabrics, he was able to provide suits which could be more lightweight, comfortable and versatile. (Anonymous, 2015) The “Cecil Gee” store my father used to shop at was located in Glasgow, Scotland as he was living in Kilmarnock (not far from Glasgow) at the time. There are still “Cecil Gee” stores around to this day although they are now owned by JD Sports Fashion. “JD said it bought the business and assets of eight Cecil Gee stores in cash, as well as the rights to use the Cecil Gee name.” (Farey-Jones and Reynolds, 2011) The Cecil Gee business had been made up of nine menswear retail stores. One store in Glasgow that is not part of the sale will be converted to a new format Moss Bros store.(Farey-Jones and Reynolds, 2011) More information about the JD take over of Cecil Gee is available here.

My father also mentioned that the “Feather hair cut” was very popular amongst his friends (which is shown in Figure 2) and in the 1970’s in general. My father explained that David Essex was a style icon in the 70’s and he had the “Feather cut” which made it popular amongst men. (A. Cunningham on the 13th November 2016) The Feather cut was all about adding volume which created more width and fullness to the top. (Heimann, 2006) The feathered hair cut may sound like a layered hair cut but a layered hair cut is to add dimension and thickness whereas a feathered hair cut was to look edgier and add more drama to the overall look which is what the 70’s was all about; making a fashion statement. (Anonymous, 2012)


Figure 6: Photograph of David Essex with a ‘feathered hair cut’. (1970s)

Word Count: 631


ANONYMOUS (2012) Feather Cut Hairstyles for long hair [Online] Available from:

ANONYMOUS (2015) Cecil Gee – About the Brand [Online] Available from:

FAREY-JONES, D and REYNOLDS, J (2011) Moss Bros offloads Cecil Gee to JD [Online Article] Available from:  [accessed 16/11/2016]

HEIMANN, E (2006) 70’s fashion vintage fashion and beauty ads. Köln, Germany: Taschen

KARPETZ, S.J (2015) A ’70s fashion flash back’  [Journal]

MARSH, M (2006) 70’s Fashion Fiascos. Portland Oregon: Collectors press inc.


Image References:

Figure 1: Photograph from Andrew Cunningham’s photo album, Scarborough 1974.

Figure 2: ANANYMOUS (1973) Advert from ‘The world of kays’ catalogue displaying men’s suits and flares. [Online image] Available from: [accessed 15/11/2016]

Figure 3: ANANYMOUS (1977) Film Theatrical release poster of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ Available from: [accessed 15/11/2016]

Figure 4: ANANYMOUS (1970s) advertisement for Cecil Gee [online image] Available from: [accessed 15/11/2016]

Figure 5: ANANYMOUS (1970s) photograph of Cecil Gee Available from: [accessed 15/11/2016]

Figure 6 : ANANYMOUS (1970s) Photograph of David Essex [Online Image] Available from:


Textile Tradition – Banarasi Sari



Figure 1 -Banarasi Sari (n.d)

The sari is worn by females to represent cultures of the Indian subcontinent. “The sari is the quintessential Indian female garment”. (Lynton, 1995) Saris are worn by women in all different countries but especially in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. (Lynton, 1995)

There are a lot of different types of Saris that come in different shapes, sizes and patterns but the specific Sari I will be focusing on in this blog post is the Banarasi Sari. The Banarasi Sari originates from Varanasi, a city which is also called Benares or Banaras which is located on the banks of the Ganges in Uttar Pradesh, North India. The Sari was named after the different names of the city; Varanasi and Banaras.(Lynton, 1995) The Banarasi sari is known for its gold and silver brocade or zari and for its “heavy working of gold, small detailed figures, metal visual effects and compact weaving as well”. (Lynton,  1995) These decorative techniques are still popular amongst women to this day. “Indian embroidery has had a long and rich tradition, it demonstrates the highest skills and allows for diverse creative expression.” The standard of the work produced in India has clearly been remarkable and maximum standards have been produced in both professional workshops and in a home environment. (King, 2005) The saris are made from finely woven silk and due to these intricate decorative techniques they tend to be very heavy.(Lynton,  1995)


Figure 2 –Example of gold brocades on a Banarasi Sari (2015)

The Banarasi Sari varies tremendously as weavers create different designs of the saris in order to suit different regional markets and changing fashions. (Lynton, 1995) Although, the Banarasi Sari can still be identified by its characteristics such as the “heavy working of gold, small detailed figures.” These details on the sari are one of the factors as to why the saris take a while to produce. It is said that it can take up to 15 days to 6 months depending on the detail and size, as they can range from 4 to 8 metres by about 120 centimetres (13 to 26 feet by about 4 feet). (Lynton, 1995)

The Banarasi Sari usually has strong Mughal design influences, such as floral and foliate motifs, kalga and bel. (Lynton, 1995) Babur, who was the first Mughal emperor of India (reigned 1526-30), was a lover of plants and organised the building of many pretty gardens. His love of flowers was shared by later generations of Mughal emperors, particularly Jahangir (reigned 1605-27) who asked his artist Mansur to paint over 100 spring flowers. These paintings evolved into a widely used decorative motif. (Anonymous,2016)

Below is an image of a Mughal Empire Scabbard mount which was produced within the Mughal empire in the 18th century. “It is the piece that covers the end of the scabbard to protect the tip of the blade and also to protect the wearer from accidental injury. It has been fashioned from a single piece of nephrite jade.” (Anonymous, 2016) This is the type of Mughal art that would inspire the design and pattern on a Banarasi Sari. Read more about the Scabbard mount here.

It is said that the earliest mention of the brocade and zari textiles of Banaras is found in the 19th century.(Lynton, 1995) Traditionally the saris were made from finely woven silk on hand silk looms.(Roy, 2007) Due to economic and technological factors, the textile tradition has changed over the years. The early twentieth century witnessed what appears to be a technological ferment in the artisan industries. The threat of machinery to much of the skilled handloom weaving in the early  twentieth century was a remote one. It was in the context of growing intra-artisan competition that changed production methods, such as the introduction of a whole variety of new hand-driven looms, assumed particular significance. (Roy, 2007) The result of European achievements in the shape of new organisations of labour and the development of technologies also had an impact on the hand-loom trade.(Riello & Tirthankar, 2009) The demand for hand-loomed textiles declined. It is said that tens of thousands of weavers left the trade to obtain a new profession such as rickshaw-drivers, vegetable vendors and carpenters. This crisis has brought large changes to the industry. In order to compete, weavers and traders in Banaras have resorted to unethical strategies such as depressing wages, compromising on quality of designs and dyes, and most significantly for our purposes, passing- off synthetic fibres for silk and power loom fabric as handloom.(Basole, 2015)

Word Count: 740


ANONYMOUS (2016) Introduction to Indian Textiles  [Online] Available from:

ANONYMOUS (2016) Scabbard mount [Online] Available from:   [Accessed 27/10/16]

BASOLE, A (2015) Authenticity, Innovation, and the Geographical Indication in an Artisanal Industry: The case of the Banarasi Sari [Online Journal] Available from: [Accessed 27/10/16]

KING, B.M. (2005) Silk and Empire. Manchester: Manchester University Press 2005

LYNTON, L. (1995) The Sari: styles, patterns, history, Techniques. London: Thames & Hudson.

ROY, T. (2007) Out of tradition: Master Artisans and Economic Change in Colonial India. [Online Journal] Available from: 27/10/16]

RIELLO, G & TIRTHANKAR, R (2009). How India Clothed The World – The World Of South Asian Textiles, 1500-1850. Leiden, Boston : Brill Publishers.

Image references:

Figure 1: ANONYMOUS (N.D) [Online] Available from: [Accessed 27/10/16]

Figure 2: ANONYMOUS (2015) Authenticity, Innovation, and the Geographical Indication in an Artisanal Industry: The case of the Banarasi Sari [Journal]. [Accessed 27/10/16]

Figure 3: LYNTON, L (1995),Banaras brocade patterns and motifs. Available at: The sari: styles, patterns, history, techniques. pp. 36-37 [Accessed 29/10/16]. pp. ??

Figure 4: ANONYMOUS (originates back to the 18th century) Scabbard mount [Online] Available from:  [Accessed 27/10/16]

Figure 5:ANONYMOUS (2011) Silk Handlooms in Varanasi Available at:,_Varanasi.jpg

All About Me


My name is Faith Cunningham and I am currently studying Textile Design at De Montfort University. Having lived in Nottingham, my favourite things to do there are to visit the tourist attractions such as The Nottingham Contemporary and Attenborough Nature Reserve. These are all places where I get a vast amount of inspiration from, especially Attenborough Nature Reserve which was created on flooded gravel pits in 1966. (Anonymous, March 2015) “Working with the local Wildlife Trust, CEMEX UK has turned disused gravel pits at its Attenborough quarry in Nottinghamshire, UK, into a 145-hectare nature reserve that attracts rare wild birds and has an award-winning education centre.” (Anonymous, 2015) Because of this, CEMEX was presented with a “prestigious award” for its restoration work. (Anonymous, August 2006)

Figure 1- Attenborough Nature Reserve (n.d)

I often use black fine liner pens to record my findings. My favourite fine liner pens to use are the “Derwent Graphik Line Marker pens” described as “smooth, free-flowing line work, with quick-drying ink to prevent smudging”. (Anonymous, 2014). I think the monochromatic effect is classic. Although, I do add colour to some of my designs through the use of watercolour, as I think the contrast of the harsh black lines and delicate watercolour is particularly effective. They can be brought online here.


Figure 2 – Derwent Graphik Line Marker (2014)

One of my main inspirations for this style of work is Bodil Jane. An illustrator from Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Her work is mainly black outlines filled in with colour. it states on her website she uses “mostly ink and watercolour” (Jane, n.d). Her practice is heavily plant and nature based which attracted me to her work. Some of my favourite illustrations of hers are from her “Plant Journal”.


 Figure 3 – ‘Botanical Scenes’ By Bodil Jane (2016)


Figure 4- ‘The Plant Journal’ By Bodil Jane


Figure 5-‘Wild Life’ By Bodil Jane (2016)

Another inspiration of mine is Orla Kiely. “Using a blend of starkly graphic prints and geometric shapes, Kiely’s passion for 1950s, 1960s and 1970s-inspired patterns has become the basis of her distinctive brand look.” (Hosea, 2008) Orla’s inspiration is “mid-century modern design”. (Kiely, 2012). In her book, “Pattern”, Kiely states that she keeps a “scrapbook or a digital file of images helps with any kind of creative decision making”. (Kiely, 2012) I completely agree with this statement which is why I decided to keep an online file of all my inspirations. This helps me with ideas for drawings, sketches and samples.


Figure 6- ‘Pattern’ By Orla Kiely (2012)



Figure 7 – ‘Stem’ By Orla Kiely (2010)

Word Count: 327


ANONYMOUS (March,2015) Attenborough Nature Centre celebrates 10th birthday  [Online] Available from: [Accessed 10/10/2016]
ANONYMOUS(2015) Nottinghamshire – Attenborough Quarry [Online] Available from:
ANONYMOUS  (2006) CEMEX scoops top award for restoration at Attenborough nature reserve [Article]
ANONYMOUS(2014) How to: New Graphik Pens [Online] Available from: [Accessed 10/10/2016]
HOSEA, Maeve (2008) Profile: Orla Kiely  [online Journal Available from: [Accessed 10/10/2016]
JANE, Bodil (n.d) About [online] Available from: [Accessed 10/10/2016]
KIELY, O (2012) Pattern. London, England: Conran Octopus Publishing


Image References:

Figure 1: ANONYMOUS (n.d) Attenborough nature reserve  [Online] Available from: [Accessed 10/10/2016]
Figure 2: ANONYMOUS (2014) Derwent Graphik Line marker (set of 5) [Online] Available from: [Accessed 10/10/2016]
Figure 3: JANE, Bodil (2016) Botanical Scenes [Online] Available from:
Figure 4: JANE, Bodil (2016) The Plant Journal   [Online] Available from:
Figure 5: JANE, Bodi (2016) Wild Life  [Online] Available from:
Figure 6: KIELY, O (2010) Pattern [Book] Available from:  [Accessed 10/10/2016]
Figure 7: KIELY, O (2010) Pattern [Book] Available from:  [Accessed 10/10/2016]