8.16.2009

Smuggling Molly Hatch's cup into the south.



At the Watershed pottery sale this summer I picked up a tumbler by Molly Hatch. I have been thoroughly enjoying it. I think she is doing some form of Mishima to get this amazing line quality. She is very deliberate but not forced. This quality is something that I shoot for with my drawings. I have really come to enjoy the same quality in Julia Galloway's Autobahn series.

The pattern on Molly's work is reminiscent of the french Idiennes roller printed fabric from the 1800s. I found a great explaination of the sumptuary laws that surrounded this print in the time of its origin (http://hollisterhovey.blogspot.com/2008/02/isabella-blow-chic-house-of-flora.html)



Some people should be punished for their decorating choices, but the French were especially penally passionate about fabric, especially when the economy got involved:

"It is a rare print that can claim a history of persecution. Indiennes are French interpretations of Indian hand-painted cottons. Introduced to Europe by the East India trading companies in the seventeenth century, the foreign cottons grew to in such demand that they threatened local weaving industries and were banned. In France from 1686 to 1759 and in England from 1700 until about 1764, they could neither be imported nor worn. Accordingly, they became immensely popular, even though in France the punishment for breaking the laws included the death penalty. In the French free port of Marseilles, which was protected from the import laws, Indian cottons were both traded and copied, and then smuggled throughout the country. Since they could not be worn publicly they were worn in private, lending domesticity the pleasure of the illicit. Even after they were legalized they remained in great demand. Indiennes became a specialty of the Chrisophe Philippe Oberkampf mill in Jouy and survived the French Revolution to endear themselves to Napoleon and Josephine - and to the public ever since." - Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout and Period by Susan Meller and Joost Elffers.

I couldn't help but think about the implication of smuggling fashion or any art into a banned area. I like when art becomes so powerful and effective in stirring emotions that it must be regulated. How funny would it be to have a customs official stop you at the border and say " That cup isnt allowed into the country. Its too controversial to be used here."