Blog Post: Katie Schwab

This Interesting and Wonderful Factory_Still_KS.jpg

This Interesting and Wonderful Factory Victoria Hughes- Crosnier at Porthmeor Studios, St Ives Production still by Alban Roinard (2018)

Blog Post: Katie Schwab

Studio research notes to accompany upcoming projects


15 October 2018

The building chosen to house the Cryséde enterprise at St. Ives was the old Western Pilchard cellar at the base of the ‘Island’, actually a grassy promontory linked to the town by a low lying area.[1]

Patterns come from everywhere; from shadows, from scrubbing wood, from writing, from birds in flight, from cooking and raking, from scraps of paper and bits of metal, houses, rain, wind on the sand.[2]

A craftsman taps down a woodblock on a long length of partially printed cotton. The cotton has been stretched over a soft blanket and clamped down to create the right surface for printing.[3]

The basis [of the print] is an alternate line of triangles, printed in rust with a potato block (a potato because its surface is strangely willing to pick up the mineral dye and make an even, flat and sharp-edged print).[4]

Janet: It turned out that in the later twenties, rather rich women wanted to have their clothes on the beach. And you wouldn’t go out in a Crêpe De Chine outfit… so linen clothes, linen designs were perfect.[5]

The canvas has a curious and interesting variation in colour secured by a combination in the weaving of linen and jute which [are] dyed in the piece… This variation of colour affords the same joy to the thinking beholder that the uneven weave from a hand-loom does, or the uncertain texture of a hand-made paper.[6]

[1] Hazel Berriman, The Silk Factory on the Island, 1926-41 in Cryséde: the unique textile designs of Alec Walker (Truro: Royal Institution of Cornwall, 1993) p.25

[2] Susan Bosence, Patternmaking and Designing in Hand Block Printing and Resist Dyeing (Newton Abbott/ London: David & Charles, 1985) p.89

[3] Edmund Hort New, Textile Printing Workshop, Merton Abbey, about 1898, ink on paper, on display at The William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow

[4] Susan Bosence, Patternmaking and Designing in Hand Block Printing and Resist Dyeing (Newton Abbott/ London: David & Charles, 1985) p.98

[5] An Interview with Janet Axton and Maggie Davies, St Ives Archives, Carbis Bay, July 2018

[6] Gustav Stickley, Craftsman Fabrics and Needlework from the Craftsman Workshops. Razmataz Press, 1989. eprint of original catalogue c. 1908 p3 in Helen Douglas,The Emergence of Donald Brothers as Manufacturers of Decorative Fabrics (The Feel for Rugged Texture), (phd. The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, 1997) URL: [accessed 10/10/18]