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    Dating paisley shawls

    By the seventeenth century it was springing up on textiles woven in Kashmir.The beautiful array of colors and intricate combinations of them, in the complex designs of the borders and stripes, shows the fine quality of French mills adapting the designs of Indian and Persian shawls.These objects were hand woven and extremely costly which inspired European manufacturers to attempt to produce cheaper copies for the masses.The primary center for machine woven reproduction Indian shawls became Paisley, Scotland.Shawls were popular during the age of the crinoline, the mid 1800s. In order to get a good length, I had to piece the fabric. I may take off the patches and go with embroidery around each hole.They were huge and rectangular in shape, and were used as a warm wrap over the voluminous dresses. Finally, I backed the paisley with a length of black wool flannel.Such exhibition shawls frequently had little to do with common examples which carried the "cone" or "boteh" motif; rather they depicted naturalistic botanical subjects or exotic motifs populated with animal and human forms.The composition and complexity of this shawl point to its having been conceived as an exhibition piece, possibly the harlequin banded border would indicate-the 1855 Universal Exhibition in Paris.

    Although it was originally called , meaning “flower,” in paisley people have seen resemblances to a lotus, a mango, a leech, a yin and yang, a dragon, and a cypress pine.My own fascination with paisley patterns was sparked by an exhibition of Kashmir shawls at the Textile Museum of Canada.While there, inspiration struck me—how could I interpret the Paisley patterns in a knitted form?In weaving this chinoiserie fantasy, a three-by-one twill, approximately sixty wefts per centimeter was used.The Jacquard loom would have been fitted with about 200,000 punch cards to direct the wave of the pattern, which is unique over two-thirds of the shawl.

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