Sunday, November 26, 2006

Purple and hand painted but faded

I quickly loaded this image this past Sunday, but didn't have time then to write any commentary, as my wife and I were leaving on a road trip from which we only just now (Thursday afternoon) returned.

Since then, I came back and loaded a different version of the image, on which I applied less color balancing. I think the painting is slightly easier to see in this version.

This tie is somewhat similar to the much nicer specimen I posted last week, sharing a purple background, and hand painted image featuring leaves. However, the paint has faded over the years, and the image is barely discernible these days.

My best guess is that the leaves are grape leaves, as there appears to be a gnarly old grapevine stem extending below the small leaf at the lower left, and running up into the third leaf from the bottom.

So are the three globes supposed to be grapes? That is possible, I suppose, but they seem large in comparison to the leaves, and grapes usually appear in bunches, not singles. Not to mention that the two barefly visible leaves placed highest on the tie are a different shape altogether than those further down on the tie.

So the intended subject matter remains ambiguous, at least in my view. The tie preserves only a faded remnant of the glory it presumably once had. There is one label, sewed into the large end of the tie which, strangely, is sewed right across the middle of the label, making it difficult to read. I read it as follows:
Exclusive creation
by Rapsons
Dry clean only

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Autumn Leaves Number Eight

This beauty really IS hand painted. You can actually see AND feel the texture of the paint on the fabric, or you could, if you were me, and you were holding the tie in your hand.

The tie's label confirms it, although you can't prove it by the scan, because the label has, over time, folded itself upside down, and I didn't notice when I scanned it. I would have turned it over otherwise, but now that the scan is completed, and the image adjusted and resized for the web and all, I'm not going to redo the scan just because of that. So you'll have to take my word for it.

The tie's one and only extant label reads, and I quote:
of California
Hand Painted
The term "hand painted" is used more loosely these days. I recently bought a modern tie featuring the Seattle Space Needle on eBay. You may be able to see it still, searching by its item no: 130044997222. This tie's label says that it's "hand painted" but it very clearly is NOT. The label apparently means that the design itself was painted by an artist by hand (how else would someone normally paint a picture, than by hand?). But the design is clearly printed on the tie for mass production.

I'm not complaining mind you; it's a beautiful tie, and I'm delighted to have it, since one of my other collections is Seattle Space Needle kitsch, and this tie fits both categories: ties and Space Needle. But it's NOT hand painted, not in the traditional sense of someone sitting down with this very tie in hand, and painting directly onto its surface, the way today's autumn leaves tie is.

This tie that I've posted today is very reminiscent of one that my father had, but which did not survive the fire that burnt the old farmhouse I grew up in. That was in the spring of 1971. Dad's tie was purple, like this, with hand painted leaves, like this one, but it's been so many years since it was destroyed that I honestly don't recall how close in resemblance the leaves actually were. Still, I was delighted to find this tie, since it is reminiscent of the one that was lost.

I apologize for cutting off the pointed end of the tie in my scan. The image loses some of its grace, and "tie-ness," by not having the traditional pointed end completely present, but I just HAD to get all of the painted leaves on, and given the size of my scanner bed, that meant I had to move the tie down a bit, so that some of the end was off the scanner bed, in order to insure that all of the hand painted art was included in the scan.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Autumn Leaves Number Seven

This used to be one of my all time favorite autumn leaf ties, and still would be, if I hadn't ruined it. Accidentally, but even so . . .

I can't even remember what I was trying to do; I might have been preparing a display of my ties, or something, but I was cutting something, maybe a paper background, with the tie on top of it, or very nearby, I just don't recall. Carelessly, I cut about 3/4 of an inch into the tie itself. I've been kicking myself ever since.

You can't really tell in the picture. The cut begins on the left side, just about even with the top of the first dark blue square nearest the bottom of the tie. You can see kind of a little jog in the edge of the tie where the cut begins. You can't see it, but the cut extends almost all the way in to where the dark blue square begins. It stops short about one and a half of those little grid marks short of the dark blue.

VERY ANNOYING! And there doesn't seem to be any easy or safe way to fix it. So I don't wear the tie any more, but I still love the design. That wonderful close-hatched grid of lines across the entire surface of the tie, which appear to be hand drawn--that is, the original design would have been hand-drawn, I would imagine, not the design on the fabric of each individual tie. (That last is an incomplete sentence, but I don't care.) And of course, the leaves themselves, bright red, close-set inside the white diamond shape to make them stand out, then surrounded by the deep blue square, all together creating a rich and dramatic feeling.

You'll note the solid red portion near the top of the tie in the full length image I shot with my digital camera. This is another of those ties in which the knot appears in a complimentary color. That's the purpose of the solid change in color, to make the knot appear red.

Of course, they wore their ties much shorter back in the forties than we do today. To make this tie long enough to reach my belt buckle, the modern requirement, I have to tie it with the small end really short, and the solid red end extends several inches below the knot. Unfortunate, but that's the way it is. Moot point, since I can't wear the tie any more. But it's still worth showing off here.

The tie is also one of those high quality models which includes a pattern woven into the fabric itself, what I refer to--rightly or wrongly--as a brocade. It's difficult to see in the pictures here, but it's most visible near the bottom of the short end of the tie, where you can see another diamond shape, almost exactly the same size as the white diamond surrounding the red leaf, but just below it, located between the blue square and the slash of red across the bottom of the tie.

There are four smaller diamond shapes, themselves arranged into a diamond square, in the center of each of these brocade diamonds. In the example I refer to above, you can see them hinted at as slightly darker blobs in the middle of the larger diamond.

The tie has two labels, both sewn into the back of the large end of the tie. The seller's label reads
Fairbanks, Alaska
while the maker's label states
Made in California

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Autumn Leaves Number Six

The leaves on this beauty are somewhat more restrained than on some of the previous entries. Just three of them, one in each panel. They appear to be oak leaves. The ones on the yellow panels are half red, half white, in a pattern reminiscent of a harlequin costume.

The one on the red background is half yellow, and half white, the same color as the scalloped designs running up the right side of each of the three panels, although it is difficult to see the color difference on such a small leaf, even on the original tie. I've posted a closeup of one of the leaves, to make it easier to see.

The fabric of the tie contains a beautifully visible brocade pattern of leaves and vines, although they are not necessarily autumn leaves. One could argue, I suppose, that this is not an autumn tie at all, and perhaps I am guilty of excessive association, putting almost all of my ties that depict leaves into the autumn category. Your comments are welcomed.

At any rate, this is a spectacularly gorgeous tie any way you look at it, in my humble opinion. There are two labels to transcribe. One, attached to the inside of the wide end, has in large letters:
and in smaller type, on a separate line:
The other label, sewed directly onto the fabric of the small end, reads as follows:
Resilient construction
Towncraft Deluxe Cravat
Fabric Loomed in U.S.A.
I've separately scanned and loaded a picture of the labels for your edification. These labels are somewhat unusual, in that normally when two labels are present, one represents the manufacturer, and one the seller. In this case, it's not clear to me if the ARCO ROYAL label represents a seller or not. There is no location listed, as a seller label usually has. "Towncraft" is, of course, the well-known JC Penney men's apparel brand name.