Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Coptic Textiles: A History Containing Vestments

I have been thinking about the Coptic Christians as we are hearing much about them in the news. I think their history is remarkable. My wee bit of knowledge takes me back to my collegiate art history classes. 
It is interesting to note that an unusual number of Coptic textiles survive today, due to the Coptic
contemporary Coptic art
custom of burying them with the dead, and to the aridity of Egyptian graves. The textiles are commonly linen or wool and use the colors red, blue, yellow, green, purple, black and brown. The dyes were re-markedly created from madder, indigo, woad, saffron, the murex shell, and the kermes insect.The basic garment was the tunic, which would become the dalmatic, similar to what deacons wear today. To
day I can associate this to our interest and passion for liturgical textiles that has grown into our business at Carrot Top Studio.
Regardless of the time in history we know that artists are influenced by their environment. Case in point, the early Coptic craftsmen had at their disposal a vast storehouse of images, many of which circulated in the form of patterns. They used pictorial motifs from the Greco-Roman tradition, including pastoral scenes related to the Nile River and mythological characters such as dancers who evoke Dionysian celebrations. Of Egyptian lineage are hieroglyphic figures such as the hare, signifying the verb, "to endure." Eastern motifs from Syrian and Persian fabrics were also incorporated which combined oriental hunters on horseback with running lions and leopards, and with Christian crosses. As they integrated the images into their weaving  the artisans created a distinct style, in which the figure and ornamentation are treated equally. 
Young Christ
This "Young Christ" panel is an example of Christian imagery on linen fabric from the 5th century. The youthful orbed Christ, seated on a throne, raises his two fingers in blessing. Christ gazes towards a haloed figure with short hair and a beard, whose Greek inscription names him Simon Peter. The figures are placed within arcades resting on columns; the arched canopies and upholstery are marbled.This hanging may have had a liturgical use. 

The cloth was dyed by the resist printing method. The creator of this linen cloth would have spread a protective layer of wax or clay on the area intended to be left undyed, or reserved. The technique is similar to the making of the batik fabrics that we love to incorporate into our clergy stoles today. When the resist was dry, the cloth was plunged into a vat of indigo dye. 

In the worship service I attended this past Sunday we concluded by singing the hymn "O Day of God, Draw Nigh" and the words do not escape me as I pray for Christian brothers and sisters around the world today...

Bring justice to our land,
That all may dwell secure,
And finely build for days to come
Foundations that endure.

Bring to our world of strife
Your sovereign word of peace,
That war may haunt the earth no more
And desolation cease.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Studio's Frequently Asked Questions

May I order a Carrot Top Studio stole in a color or length other than what is shown?
We would like to meet your needs and will gladly consider an alternate stole fabric or creating more of an existing design in a different length.  Please make an inquiry directly to the studio by emailing jenny.gallo@CarrotTopStudio.com.  

commissioned stole
using client's fabric
from the mission field
May I commission a one of a kind stole?
Commissions can bring great joy to the recipient and are a wonderful creative challenge for our studio. The process consists of you feeding us some ideas and then we'll email you a sketch.  Pricing begins at $130 + S&H.  Work commences after both parties are in agreement on design, fabrics, and cost. This is 2-8 week process depending upon your needs and our schedule. 

What is your return policy?
We offer 100% satisfaction guarantee on all pre-made Carrot Top Studio products.  If you are not completely satisfied  with your stole simply return the product to us within ten days of delivery.  We will immediately provide a refund or a product exchange. 

Due to the unique nature of commissioned stoles we are unable to make returns.  We will however be glad to work with our clients to make sure they are completely satisfied. 

Do you have a mail order catalog?
Not at this time. We hope you'll bookmark us (www.CarrotTopStudio.com) and check our website often because we create in limited editions the inventory is updated frequently. The best way to learn what's new is to like our FaceBook page here.

May I visit the studio?
We must confess,the studio is nothing glamorous even though it works well for us. If you're in the Pittsburgh, PA area and are just dying to see what we have in inventory please email or call (412-480-4193) and we'll see how we might accommodate you.

feeling blessed that
I can consider my "work" a joy!
Why do you call it Carrot Top Studio?
Awwwww, good question!  I'm still proud to have my natural orange hair and love using the childhood nickname of "Carrot Top" to label the studio where I have so much fun working! As a child that was teased often for appearing a bit different I had no idea that I would embrace this difference as an adult. With this lesson learned and as the white hairs are integrating themselves I suspect I will always identify with the name "Carrot Top!"