Thursday, October 30, 2008

Subversive Stitching

When the subject is the Warhol environs, you can’t help but find a studied mix of high/low culture: heiresses who become “factory girls”; young men of modest backgrounds who become princes of the nightlife.

As readers may remember, I’ve had a long relationship with the book Edie: An American Biography, and today I came across a recent story about one of the feature players in Edie’s world.

The relatively new blog Deep Glamour posted on Brigid Berlin, one of the daughters of Richard Berlin, the very successful CEO of Hearst in the 1960s. During that time Brigid was known for her extraordinary collections: the anatomical books that she would compile, for instance, as well as for her, shall we say, vitamin injections.

Berlin has been turning her needle to artistic use these decades since, becoming prolific and accomplished in needlepoint. Most recently she’s designed a subversively compelling series of pillows based on the front pages of the Daily News and the New York Post. One of the least sensational ones is pictured above.

As I’ve mentioned before, I do have a soft spot for artistry that combines jarring juxtapositions—such as the infamously over-the-top NYPost headlines with the demure, ladylike stitching. I might not want one in my home, but I do appreciate the idea very much.

And in case you’re wondering how Brigid lived after she left those tin-foil factory walls behind, here’s a glimpse into her gracious pug-and-floral world from the NYSD. She’s still collecting, as you’ll see. (Deep Glamour also posted this link.)

I’ll bet that the only tin foil these days is in Berlin's kitchen cupboard.

5 comments:

Kate Coe said...

Thanks for the link-love. I was enchanted to see that Berlin's pillow designs weren't one-offs, but were commercially available. I know there's some software that converts images in to needlepoint patterns, but I'm too addled to use it.

WendyB said...

I'm so fascinated by Brigid. Did you ever see the documentary on her? Enthralling. And that is some brilliant embroidery! Holy cow.

miss cavendish said...

I'd love to see the documentary--I know of it!

I wonder how many people will be purchasing Berlin patterns to add texture to their home . . . they're terrific conversation pieces! I'm far too impatient to follow anyone else's design, though; I like to make my own.

Anonymous said...

All of the newspaper covers in the show were hand-painted by Woolworks Needlepoint NYC for Brigid. We also designed almost all of the pieces in her home. The floral rug is one of our standard designs, as are many other pieces featured. They are available at our store.
Andrea Fonyo
Woolworks
1045 Lexington Ave.
New York, N.Y. 10021
212-861-8700

enc said...

She has a beautifully cluttered world.

Those pillows are perfectly subversive.