Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brick Red with Leaves

This is one of the newer autumn ties in my collection. If I remember correctly, my wife found it somewhere sometime within the past year or so. It's a nice tie, but showing signs of its age. Primarily, because it's lost most of its resiliency, and is kind of limp.

But also, because it seems a bit off center. If you look closely at the pointed end of the tie, you will notice that one side of the point is longer than the other side. This is even more noticeable on the short end, where it looks quite lopsided, indeed.

I'm not sure what caused this lopsidedness. It could be that the tie was refolded and narrowed at some point, but it's still a generous 3 1/2 inches wide, if you measure straight across. If you measure from the spot where the tie ends its straight descent, and angles toward the point, to the equivalent spot on the opposite side--which on this tie, is not straight across at all--you get 3 3/4 inches.

The tie does have a fold over of the frontal fabric on the inside, on the left side, but I've seen this on so many ties now, that I'm beginning to wonder if that isn't standard practice, and has nothing to do with the tie having been refolded for a narrower width. Someone who knows about tie manufacturing in the 40's, please help!

The tie has two labels, and I need to transcribe them before discussing another important feature of the tie, one which you may have already noticed. The first label reads
Wilcrest Batiks
Individually hand painted
while the second label says simply
Larry's men's shop
San Carlos, Calif.
It's the "indivdually hand painted" part that I wanted to mention. The only indication of hand painting that I can see on this tie is that four of the leaves are painted with a reddish stained appearance, and this does look like hand painting. My guess is that the leaves were all originally the same tan color, and that four of them were hand painted.

I don't personally see the attraction, as the painting job looks a bit sloppy to me, with bits of the tan still showing here and there, and the color having a fairly uneven quality to it. I think I would probably prefer the leaves to all still be the tan color, rather than painted as they are. To me, this hand painting makes the tie look amateurish, and contributes to the tie's appearing old and worn out, rather than enhancing the appearance, as you'd expect hand painting to do. My wife doesn't agree. She thinks the tie is gorgeous. I like it too, but it's not one of my top favorites.

Finally, there's that word "batik" in the label. Batik, in case you're not familiar with it, is defined as
"A method of dyeing fabric where some areas are covered with wax or pastes made of glues or starches to make designs by keeping dyes from penetrating in pattern areas."
I am personally quite doubtful as to whether any REAL batik techniques were used in the production of this tie's fabric, but I will admit that when you look at the leaves, picked out as they are in a reverse color, that is, the leaves are light spots in a dark background fabric, this does suggest a batik kind of coloring. But my guess is that this fabric design was produced in a more straightforward manner, not using a true batik technique. Just my guess.

The tie also has a lovely brocade pattern, somewhat visible in the scan. The overall brocade design consists of closely crosshatched lines running approximately parallel to the left pointed end of the tie. Over the top of this pattern is an extensive archipelago of smoothly surfaced oddly shaped patches, which appear as darker spots in the scan. You can't really see the cross hatching in the whole tie scan, so I've scanned just a small portion of it at a higher resolution, and loaded it here.

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