Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Traditional Hungarian Embroidery (2) Siogard

Colourful folk costumes from Siogard in Hungary; fantastic socks, slipper shoes and brightly embroidered blouses , waistcoats and aprons with pleated skirts. Veronika Vargaine Kovacs, has written a book on the embrodiery of Siogard and the embroidery museum that has recently opened there. Typical of the embroidery from Siogard is cut work bordered by blue and purple embroidery.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Grain sack upholstery

These two images are from the October issue of The World of Interiors in a feature Anna Wintours Long Island Home. The chairs upholstered in Grain Sack fabric are good example of how a mixture of fabric can be use to good effect

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rare Brand Market at Goodwood

Parna will be a the Rare Brand Christmas market along with 80 or so other bijou brands . The market takes place ( indoors) at Goodwood Race Course 17 and 18 November with late night shoppping on Wednesday. Click on the title bar to take yiou to the Rare Brand website for more information.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Selvedge Christmas Fair

We will be exhibiting at the Selvedge christmas fair December 4 in Highgate London. There will be 30 or so textile related stalls, handpicked by the Selvedge team. We are honoured to have been asked and it should be a fabulous day!

For those of you not faimilar with Selvedge ; they publish a fantastically beautiful magazine- a must have for textile lovers!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Mary Dress

This is the Mary dress created by Gemma Buxton from a vintage hemp sheet from parna and two beautifully appliqued and embroidered panels.

Gemmas work brings together an interest in the history of art of embroidery with concerns about how we interact with the physical world in the 21st century. She uses narrative from everyday life , in this case the struggle between pests and food production.

The Mary Dress was created for a woman who struggles with the nature and the environment to survive. The dress is made from home grown, spun and woven hemp, the same fabric that was worn by peasants working in the fields. and is adorned with the two finely panels and the piece as a whole represents the struggles and glories in a ordinary working life.

The dress is on display at weekends until the 17th October at St Marys in the Marsh , Kent and is part of the "Art in Romney Marsh" event 2010.

There is more about the dress and Gemmas other work on her blog
Contact Gemma for more information

Friday, September 24, 2010

Textile Society Fair this Sunday

A reminder that the The Textile Society is holding its first London Fair at Kensington Hall on Sunday. There will be lots of very interesting antique and vintage textiles from many parts of the world. Parna will have a selection of Vintage Hungarian grain sacks, Transylvanian embrodiery, grain sack cushions amongst other things.

Doors open at 10.00 ( 9.30 for trade ) Admission is £7.50

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Hungarian Embroidery (2) Kalotaszeg

Kalotaszeg is a region in Transylvania which was once part Hungary. This area has retained many folk traditions and is famous for , amongst other things its embroidery.

The traditional embroidery from this area is called "written" embroidery, the designs were originally drawn in freehand by the writing woman of the area, who were skilled and memorised many designs. The embroidery was traditionally done on home loomed hemp and in one colour using wool or cotton thread, most commonly red or blue or white.

The second from top image is of one of our cushions, drawn by a writing woman on home loomed vintage hemp and embroidered in cotton. This is a traditional design but embroidered in a non- traditional coloured thread.

The other images are Kalotaszeg embroidery patterns . I was lucky enough to find a book containing hundreds of these, we will be trying some more out soon.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Traditional Hungarian Embroidery (1)

Today one of the very talented and patient women who embroider for parna gave me a region by region lesson in the traditional embroidery of Hungary.
The images above come from a piece from the village of Buszak in west Hungary, a village first settled 500 years ago and now with a population of 1200 people or so. Buzsak has a rich folk heritage.
In Buzsak embrodiery patterns are geometric and embroidered in red and blue with small amounts of yellow and green. The colours have to be absolutely spot on , a shade or two out simply wont do!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Living Etc.

This is from Julys Living Etc. Spoons by Nic web, vintage linens by parna, Khadi linens by The Conran Shop , Glass bottles from Egg. Click on the images to enlarge and read the text

Monday, September 6, 2010

Textile Society London Fair

I will be exhbiting at the Textile Society London Fair, September 26th. 10.30-16.30.

In Kensington town Hall the Fair promises to be a textile extravaganza with more than 60 dealers of antique textiles.

Admission is £7.50

For more information email me kath@parna.co.uk or click on the link above

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Monday, July 26, 2010

Hand embroidered sheepskin waistcoat

I have seen a lot of these embroidered sheepskins recently. Some as long coats , some as jackets I think they are typical of the Paloc area in North Eastern Hungary. This one was on display at Skanzen.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


In the Pillis hills about 30 minutes drive from Budapest, Skanzen is a massive open air museum where traditional Hungarian villages have been re-located and re-created with enormous care and attention to detail, preserving the folk architecture, interior decoration and way of life from the mid 18th century to the mid 20th century. This is one of my favourite museums, walking from house to house and "village" to "village along grassy paths and open meadows one gets a sense of Hungarian peasant living in the mid 18th to 20 th century.

More photos on the parna facebook page here

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New website!

Its been a long time coming but the new parna website is now up and running. Still a few tweaks needed but I hope it clearer and easier to use...

Friday, June 25, 2010

Vintage Rag Rugs

The weaving of recycled cloth to make floor coverings was once common place in many parts of the world. Old, worn clothes amd textiles were torn or cut into thin strips and kept to make rugs, wall coverings and even table mats.
In Hungary traditional floor coverings include rag rugs and rush matting, both woven on a loom.
The rags used in these rugs are much finer than those commonly seen. The designs feature vertical and horizontal stripes, the vertical stripes being formed by the use of different coloured warp threads.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Indigo resist dyeing

Indigo dying first came to Hungary with German immigrants in the mid 1700s. There are a few workshops remaining. Janos, who dyes for us owns and works in one of these.

Janos works in the same studio, using the same traditional techniques with much of the same equipment as his father and his grandfather before him. One of the huge mangles was once operated by horses! With swathes of drying fabric in various shades of indigo , stone dyeing tubs, mangles and beautiful printing block its an awe- inspiring sight and the resulting fabric has an extraordinary depth of colour.

As well as the beautiful range of indigo shades Janos also uses traditional resist dyeing techniques. Patterns are applied using wax using blocks, the fabric is then hung and dipped repeatedly, the number of dips determining the final shade. The wax is then removed. Janos can resist dye 300 patterns, most are traditional, applied using wooden printing

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Choosing vintage fabrics (2)

These images show a mixture of vintage linen rolls, grain sacks, mattress covers and cart covers.

The linens pictured above were all hand woven in Hungary.

These toffee and caramel stripes were not as commonly woven as the red or blue stripes and as shown were sometimes woven with pinkish red or blue. They usually have a very light sand or cream ( rather than grey or stone stones) backgrounds and often mix and match well.

Cart covers and rolls can be used to upholster large pieces and mattress covers for chairs. Sacks can be used to make cushions, the red and caramel striped sack in the picture above is 150 cm long and could be used to make 3 small cushions.

For upholstery fabrics with close weave are more hard wearing. Generally thes fabric are very strong and hard wearing.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Choosing vintage fabrics (part1)

It is sometimes difficult when choosing fabrics online to get a clear idea of the subtleties of weave, weight and tone. This can be especially tricky when considering which fabrics complement each other and/or colour schemes.

Most of our antique and vintage linen has either a stone/oatmeal or cream/wheat coloured base. We try our best to accurately describe tones. When choosing fabrics to be used together the background tone is probably the most important consideration and going for either the grey/stone/ porridge tones or the wheat/cream/yellow tones is a good starting point

Mixing striped linen with plain often works well and for larger projects using any combination of grain sacks, cart covers, mattress covers, sacks and sheets with the same tones can produce stunning results.

Over the next few weeks we will be presenting examples of combinations of vintage linen which could be used for interior projects. We will also be suggesting complementary Farrow and Ball paint colours as we aware that like us many of our customers use Farrow and Ball.

(Farrow and Ball is an English company producing environmentally friendly paints with a fantastic range of neutral (and other) colours. They go particularly well with our vintage fabrics.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Period Living

Featured in Junes issue of Period living (UK). This shows one of our cushions from grain sack fabric ( not a chunky hemp cushion as it says in the caption!)

Monday, May 10, 2010

Bespoke cross stitch embroidery

Our bespoke, hand embroidered cross stitch pictures are featured in this weeks Country and Town House magazine ( bottom right in the image above)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Kalocsa Embroidery

Kalocsa , 88 miles South of Budapest is a small town famous for its paprika and its folk art.

Colourful motifs including flowers and paprika were traditionally painted on walls, furniture, eggs and embroidered to make clothes and home furnishings

This style of embroidery using bright colours was popular at the beginning of the 20th century. Before that the embroidery of this area was generally done with white thread on white cloth.

The examples above are all vintage and embroidered on home woven cloth.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Vegetable dyed yarns by Renaissance dyeing

I first came across Andie of Renaissance dyeing sometime ago when I was seeking advice on dyeing vintage linen with vegetable dyes.

Andie is passionate about using plants to create the most wonderful coloured yarns

Andie and her Dutch husband Adrian have settled in the foothills of the Pyrenees, enabling Andie to indulge her life long passion for natural vegetable dyeing and colour.

Her atelier in is packed full of plants, wool and lots and lots of wonderful colour. Blues from woad and indigo, reds from madder, cochineal and brazilwood, yellows from weld, fustic and onion skins. Add oak bark, oak galls and logwood and you have a palette that produces over 150 different naturally dyed shades.

The dye-house and winding machinery are housed in a converted barn in an ancient hilltop village. In this traditional textile area amid wild dye plants and newly cultivated woad fields.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stenciled vintage grain sacks

Stenciled vintage sacks. Home woven. Twill weaves. These come from villages in Southern Hungary. Some have the name, town and house number stenciled on them. Others just the owners name. As you can see some of the names are German. During the rule of the Habsburg empire Germans were encouraged to settle in Hungary and to work the land. 800 villages were founded in Hungary between 1711 and 1750 ( some of these are now outside the border of Hungary)