Saturday, May 9, 2009

Perfect Pairing: Altar Cloth & Gothic Revival Chair

I saw it and knew we had to have it in our shop: the French silk, hand embroidered altar cloth pictured below was not something my uncle was at all interested in purchasing. He, like myself, had gone to the same Catholic school on Maui, and was quite familiar with the symbolic imagery embroidered on all the altar cloths and priest's robes etc. This one was not too old, probably from the 1950s, definitely from France, as it was in the midst of a larger shipment of antique textiles that had just gotten in from there. I convinced him of the novelty of and interest in religious textiles, and in no time I found a client and use for it.

It was at this same that another one of my favorite clients came in with a Gothic Revival chair on which the upholstery had shredded and exposed the inner fillings. The arch and trefoils on the back of the chair whisked me back to my Gothic Architecture class at UC Santa Barbara, and after trying to he predictable combinations of red velvets, it suddenly dawned on me to suggest to her with sincere enthusiasm none other than the altar cloth. She completely agreed that it would make quite a statement, and she liked that. All I had to do on my end was to remove the embroidered appliques as well as all of the trim. That left me with a good sized piece of embossed silk, lots of trim, and 4 good-sized hand embroidered appliques.

I restuffed the chair back and seat, upholstered the chair using the cream silk (centering the design, of course), hot glued the trim, and hand sewed 3 of the 4 appliques to the chair. The fourth applique I centered on a pillow i made with the same fabric and trims (not pictured). The client was overcome with excitement and extremely pleased with the results!

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