CIBA Sunday: Apologies From a Slacker, and the First Article

Ahhh, my master plan to create the CIBA archive for students! It was so well intentioned, and yet, fell apart so completely by my inability to figure out how to make a multi-page PDF file.

It’s such a lame excuse.

I have figured out how to make a PDF, now, and I have been slowly, but surely, scanning all 175 of my CIBA Reviews. It’s a process.

I apologize

Now, on with the first article!!!

Spanish leather hanging

Spanish leather hanging

I think I may have said, many, many, many months ago that I am starting off with the first volume in my collection. That is to say, I’m starting off with Volume 3, because I don’t have volumes 1 or 2.  Volume 3 is all about wall coverings. Tapestries, wall hangings, wall paper, curtains. If it can cover a wall, it’s covered in the articles.

 17th cen spanish hanging

17th century Spanish hanging

The first article is a fairly informative one, by Grete de Francesco, in November of 1937. In fact, at least for this volume, she appears to have written the majority of the articles. The first article, which you can download at the bottom of this post, in a PDF, is entitled “The History of Mural Hangings”. It sounds a little dry, but the pictures in the article are stunning, dating back at least as far as the 16th century.  The article briefly explains the practical functions of mural hanging, as well as the aesthetics; it then goes on to trace the evolution of wall paper from the “humble” origins as hangings.

 17th cen wallpaper

17th century wallpaper

There is a detailed explanation of the method of creating Cordova leathers, which were popular as wall hangings from the 11th to the 16th century. These were gold or silver leafed leathers, which were then painted with various colored lacquers. De Francesco compared the resulting works to silk and gold (or silver) weaving, which at the time, with silk being a costly import from Asia, would have been even more expensive than the Cordova leather panels!

 Embossed leather and flock paper

Embossed leather and flock paper

The Rococo and Baroque eras departed from the costly tapestries, silks and leather hangings, and instead favored painted panels on the walls. De Francesco accredited the popularity of this style to Marie Antoinette. In addition, this painted wall panelling trickled down to the middle classes in the form of wallpapers, which were more affordable, if not as intricate and detailed, as the paintings in the homes and halls of the nobles.

The History of Mural Hangings (Full Article PDF. Zoom to read!)

CIBA Sunday: Welcome to Volume 3!! :)

Good afternoon!

As promised MANY MANY months ago, I have finally started working on my CIBA Archive for the fashion design/art history/textile design/history of fashion/history student everywhere. I don’t have every single one of the volumes, so I am starting with Volume 3, which is the first one in my collection. It’s all about the wall. From ancient hanging, tapestries in castles, and murals, to the invention and politics of wall paper, this volume covers quite a bit!

How many of us actually pay attention to the walls around us? We see them everyday, but they are often dismissed quickly. What color are they? Do they have photos, or paintings, or posters on them? Painted or wallpapered?

I remember how important my walls were growing up. At my mom’s house, when I was very young, I had pink wallpaper, with unicorns frolicking among castles. At my dad’s house, my stepmother spent countless hours to give me an ocean themed bedroom, complete with a gorgeous hand painted mural of fish.

When I grew up and went to big, bad Jr. High school, I moved up to the attic bedroom in both houses. At my mom’s house, we painted the walls white, and I would sketch out huge murals in charcoal, scribble notes on my wall in brightly colored markers, and for some reason glued a deck of cards on the wall. At my dad’s I taped the back artwork from all of my CD’s to the wall, and since I owned quite a few CD’s (this was back before iPods), I managed to cover half of one wall.

Then I went to boarding school, where I duct taped a 10ft. x 7ft. movie poster for “The Lord of the Rings” to my ceiling, and painted a Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings themed mural on the wall.

Now as an “adult”, I have key lime pie colored walls, with eye popping pink, aqua and yellow detailing.

Why does this matter? Through out history, the wall has been used to represent something. It breaks up space into rooms. It’s used to display family history, or achievements. It can be turned into a focal point with a piece of artwork, or to set the mood of a room. For being so versatile, in modern times, the wall is often taken for granted.

So the next time you walk into a room, look around you. Before you sit down in front of the TV tonight, just take a second. Look at your walls. Because for the next few weeks, I will be covering them in the CIBA Sunday Reviews!

Figuratively, of course. I’m not going to break into your houses to paste pages from the articles on your walls. That would take entirely too long! 🙂

Next week’s article review: “The History of Mural Hangings”, by Grete de Francisco.