Tag Archive | art history

Day 15 – I survived!

First of all, I want to take this chance to thank my Mom for helping me so much. I don’t know if she’ll ever read this, but I’m going to write this just the same. If it wasn’t for her, there is NO WAY I could do this course. She picks little man up from daycare when I have to stay late. She feeds him supper and gets him ready for bed for when I arrive to pick him up. Yesterday when I was so sick, she showed up on my doorstep with some cough syrup and vapor rub on her way to get little man. She told me to call her when I woke up. I called her at 9:45. She ended up keeping little man overnight. As much as I miss little man, I really did need the uninterrupted sleep. Tuesday night when the cough really hit me, I was talking to her on the phone. She asked me if I had any cough syrup, which I did not. Since we’re in a small town, the stores close at 6. She drove 20 minutes to my place around 9:30 at night just to bring me some cough syrup, some pop and cough drops even though I told her I would be okay. So I want to say…


My presentation went as well as could be expected. Actually, I need to raise my expectations because I think it went better than I had expected. My voice was really raspy and I lost it a couple of times due to my cough, but I got through it. Thank goodness!

I have to say that I am VERY grateful that Patricia recognized that I did everything I could do in my power to be there and complete everything. I really do put my all in. A lot of times in the past, that has not been recognized. Normally I don’t care what others think of my effort. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and know I did my best, that’s all that matters. But when it comes to being graded, that is one time that matters. Well, sort of.

A classmate said something to me this week that sat really well with me. She said that when it comes down to it, as long as we pass, our grades don’t matter. She pointed out that when we go out looking for jobs or starting our own businesses, people aren’t going to care what our marks were in Art History or Weaving or Spinning. With that said, that’s not an open invite to slack off. But it was a really valid point and a rather large stress reliever. Thank you, Anneke 🙂


Assignment: A Brief History of Tartan

A Brief History of Tartan
I have chosen tartan as the subject for my research paper. I have always been curious about the history of the Haliburton Highlands tartan, given my deep family roots in the area. After being introduced to weaving and deciding that it is something that I would like to pursue down the road, I thought it would be interesting to attempt to weave my own version of the Haliburton Highlands tartan. I am taking full advantage of this topic so that when that day comes, I will have resources at my fingertips.

Tartan has also been referred to as plaid and twill. For most people, when they see a tartan or hear somebody speak about tartan, it is automatically associated with Scotland. While tartan was adopted as an essential piece of Scotland’s national dress in the 18th century, the earliest tartans discovered have been dated as far back as 4,000 years in some rather surprising places.

Along the Silk Road, in the Xinjiang province of China, there have been mummies discovered. Some of them are known as the Ürümchi mummies. They have been dated as far back as 1500 B.C. They were wearing woven tartan clothing and appear to be of Caucasian descent. Their hair colours ranged from red to blonde to brown. The shape of their eyes and faces also contain Caucasian features. Nobody knows for sure where they came from, but it is suspected that they may have been Celts.

From 1200 – 550 B.C., the Iron Age occurred. The mummies discovered in a salt mine in Hallstatt, Vienna were estimated to be from that time period. They were also discovered wearing tartan. Their bodies were perfectly preserved because the high content of the salt in the soil helped pull the moisture out of the air, which helped the bodies dry out before they had the opportunity to rot. The textiles were also very well preserved.

Many people are familiar with the story of Joseph and his “coat of many colours” or in Hebrew, “cotonet passim.” According to a group called Brit-Am, there is a high probability that Joseph’s coat was actually a tartan pattern. This group is dedicated to the research of the tracing the Lost Ten Tribes to Western culture. They claim that Joseph’s descendants went into exile in the British Isles. There were tartan designs found amongst this group, leading the researchers to believe that they had maintained the same kind of dress as their ancestors.

In 1746, the British government banned tartan. There had been a rebellion by the Jacobites and many of the Highland men fought by their side. The British government decided that wearing tartan could be viewed as a sign for support of the Jacobite rebellion. The punishment for breaking this law was 6 months in prison with no bail for the first offense. The second offense carried a punishment of: “being convicted for a second offense before a court of justiciary, or at the circuits, shall be liable to be transported to any of His Majesty’s plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years.” This ban only lasted 36 years. In 1782 it was abolished. It was then that tartan was promoted as Scotland’s official dress.

Tartans are quite often used as a form of identification. Regional tartans started to appear in the 1600’s. There are also tartans representing various clans. Within those clans, there were also a variety of tartans to identify their rank. The clan tartan was a sett that was able to be worn by anyone in the clan. The word sett refers to the sequence of threads as the tartans are woven. There was a sett for hunting, which was usually a more muted version of the clan sett. There was the Chief sett which was worn by the ranking members of the clan. The dress set is a bright version of the clan sett, usually with a white background. There are district sets which are based on where one lives. This sett does not affiliate the wearer with any clans. Another sett is called the free sett. These setts can be worn by anyone. Examples of free setts include the Royal Stewart, Hunting Stewart and Black Watch.

Haliburton County has its very own tartan, as I mentioned at the beginning of this paper. In 1963, the Highlands of Haliburton Tartan was commissioned by the Haliburton County Chamber of Commerce. The colours of the tartan were carefully chosen to represent the beauty of the county. The green represents the forests; blue the lakes; white for the Trillium and the snow; red and gold for the beautiful autumn colours and brown for both the work of the early pioneers and the fur bearing animals that live here. There was even a poem written about the Haliburton Highlands tartan:

Colour speaks a chieftain’s name
Strength and valour, pride of family
Tartans flaunt abroad his fame.

Such a voice lauds Haliburton
Wide proclaims a Highland birth
Speaks of love and pride enduring

Heritage of sky and earth.
Green of forest, blue of water
White of Trillium, pure as snow
Brown-furred creature, brawny worker
Red and gold for autumn’s glow.

Spun and tinted, loomed and blended
Tartan’s pride rings down the years.
Here’s to Haliburton Highlands
Promised land of pioneers.

By Nila Reynolds

There are an estimated 7,000 variations of tartans. Each tartan has four variations of hues of its original design: “modern,” “ancient,” “weathered” and “muted.” That puts the number of tartans up to over 14,000. There are numerous organizations around the world that document and record tartans. The Scotish Register of Tartans is Scotland’s official registry.

The Mummies of Urumchi by Elizabeth Wayland Barber
History of the Tartan http://www.kinnaird.net/tartan.htm#ban
Tartan (Wikipedia) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tartan
Tartan Clans and Colours http://www.phouka.com/misc/kilts/kilt_tartan.html
Tartan Identification http://www.ehow.com/about_6132764_tartan-identification.html
Haliburton Higlands Tartan History http://www.highlandtreasures.ca/tartanhistory.htm
Haliburton Highlands Tartan http://www.mindentimes.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=1765561&archive=true
Brit-Am http://www.britam.org/tartan.html#Introductione
Re: Joseph’s Coathttp://www.messianicisrael.com/sheepfold-gleanings/2010-2011/vayeshev.html?Itemid=400016
Textiles from Hallstatt http://dressid.nhm-wien.ac.at/textile_e.html
Xinjiang Mummies http://www.mummytombs.com/mummylocator/group/urumchi.htm
The Birth of Tartan http://www.tartansauthority.com/tartan/the-birth-of-tartan

Day 13 – Please Sir, may I have another… LUNG!

I didn’t update at all yesterday because frankly, I didn’t feel like doing anything at all. I forced myself to though. If I have one thing to be thankful for, at least I wasn’t sick last week. I won’t even go there if I had to have missed spinning and weaving!

We were to pick an embroidery design, draw it out and stitch it up. I ended up going home half way through the day because I was coughing so badly. I missed the part where it was supposed to be a pattern of historical significance (it wasn’t clearly written down anywhere on our assignment sheets and I didn’t hear anything about it… Fortunately, she accepted what I had done!). So I chose a design that was similar to a pillowcase my Granny Girl had done for me, but unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get when I fled. So at least it was historically significant to me. I swear to God, if I had have heard her, I would have did what was requested. I started embroidering around 9 pm and I didn’t finish until 5:45 this morning. I know, that doesn’t help the cough any, but what was I supposed to do? I can’t say that I was overly happy when I walked into class this morning after getting less that two hours sleep to see others still working on theirs! Ugh…

Oh well.

I will post pictures here later. I just wanted to write a quick base post so that I can keep track of what happened, when. I have a MAJOR paper and presentation due tomorrow. I just pray that I can stay awake long enough to finish it. I’m thinking this may be a Red Bull night… And hopefully more than two hours of sleep.

This is what I had printed out and then transferred onto fabric. If you would like the link to the design, you can find it here.

I left the finished piece at school. I will post it next week.

Edit: As promised, here is the finished product:

Day 12 – A History Class I Can Appreciate

The Neo Citran is brewing, so I’m going to keep this short. I managed to get through the day, but this morning was just horrible. Yes, I have my whiny pants on.

Today was a VERY informative day. Patricia discussed ancient textiles, particularly the weaving discovered in South America. Peru has a lot of ancient textiles due to its ideal climate. She said that Mexico probably had textiles from around the same time period, but we’ll never know because they rotted in that climate. She was also saying about how archeologists initially just threw the textiles away because their eyes were on another prize. For shame! I never had any real reason to go to South America until this past week. Or at least I didn’t know I had any real reason… Heck, I haven’t seen this country from sea to shining sea! That may have to wait now 😉

She gave us a few interesting links. One that I plan on exploring is The Textile Museum of Canada – In Touch. It is an interactive site where you can learn about the history of textiles and see their collections. There’s even a game where you get to be a “textile special agent,” stopping the diabolical Dr. Hande from destroying ancient pieces of textile art. I haven’t tried it yet, but Patricia gave us a wonderful demo. I’m excited to play it! Yes, it’s a game, but you’re also learning about textile art. Sneaky, eh? It’s almost like not telling your preschooler that cherry tomatoes, peppers and celery are actually referred to as vegetables AND they are good for you. Now who would do that? Hehehe!

We also made a class “quipa” today. (Since I’m feeling under the weather and don’t feel up to explaining, here’s a link for the curious). It was rather cool. I was thinking about making a bracelet based on this idea dedicated to my friend (it was four weeks ago today). Our other assignment was to do a four strand and 8 strand braid. This was to give us an idea of how a Ceinture Flechee is constructed. (In the word “Flechee” there are accents over the e’s… I thought I would mention this because I didn’t want anyone to think I left them out on purpose. I just feel too lousy to fiddle with my keyboard settings to get it correct).

We also discussed the topic of our research papers. I decided to research the history of tartan. I may have mentioned somewhere along the line that I would love to attempt to replicate the Haliburton Highlands tartan once I get a loom (for personal use and just because I like a challenge!). Patricia wanted us to choose a topic that would relate to some future works we have floating around in our heads, so I thought that would be perfect. I haven’t sat down that long to research it, but I’m finding some really interesting stuff in the little time I did surf. I will be completing that assignment for Friday and will probably post it on here over the weekend.

Other than dinner with Mom and little man, I think that covers most of the highlights. I’m off to curl up in a blanket, drink some Neo Citran and call it a night. I did look over the comments and I will respond to them when I’m feeling better (I have lots to say and the brain won’t co-operate tonight). Again, I want to thank you for taking the time to visit. The comments that are left keeps reassuring me that I have made the right decision to follow my heart this time *HUGS*

Day 11 – Art History

Never in a million years did I ever imagine myself voluntarily taking an art history course, let alone enjoying it! Art and history were to of my most-hated school subjects ever (of course a majority of my teachers in these subjects certainly did not help the matter).

This is the part where a lot of things are over my head. Uncharted territory for me. That’s okay. I’m making it my mission to ace this subject too!

One of our assignments today was to “make a warp reeling from an oriental carpet.” What the…?! Basically, it is your interpretation of an oriental rug and what the warp yarns would look like if you were to make it. Initially, I had no clue what she was talking about. I just winged it and it turned out well (or at least that’s what I was told!)

The carpet

My warp reeling of the carpet

I can see how this would be really handy if you’re going to try to replicate a rug. Or even to just give you an idea of how certain colour combinations may look together. I can see myself using this method down the road.

And on the happy news front… The support workers’ strike is over! Yay!

And on that note, I am retiring for the night. I think I caught little man’s cough. Not a good scene. I don’t have time to get sick!