The history of Polka Dots & other patterns

In the early days of Lente Designs we talked a lot about the origins of the polka dot and now there is a new book to be released on the 3rd December which deals with the origins of many of today’s accepted  and well loved patterns from polka dot to camouflage. 

As we have a few weeks to go before it’s release (and because I can be quite impatient at times!) I thought I would scour the internet to see if I could pick up some interesting facts that the book covers.

Whilst at Lente we’re fully familiar with the face that the polka dot became a well known pattern after designers tried to capitalise on the 19th centre polka dance craze and they did a good job because the name stuck, but prior to that, well the polka dot was a symbol of the plague…I’ve got some more information on the polka dot coming soon – bet you can’t wait ??!?!?

Anyway back to the book, the author also discusses wallpaper and how essentially it confirms to a  basic set of 17 patterns.  Why then when choosing wallpaper or our homes are their soooo many wonderful designs to choose from lol!

The author also talks in detail about the 1812 campaign of industrial disobedience when technical improvements to the jacquard loom prompted soon-to-be unemployed weavers to join Ned Ludd  - hence Luddites & that by throwing their wooden clogs, or sabots, into the newfangled machines during this time, it let to the new word  “sabotage”.

Finally – promise to stop here (!!)  did you know that the West African wax batik patterns ( for those not familiar, they are a mix of narrow and thickset black lines that are repeated in a geometric pattern)  were originally Dutch inventions, making their way to West Africa solely as a result of the fact that the Dutch used West African slaves.

I can’t wait to get my copy .

If you want to read more the book is available on Amazon & Waterstones

Author: Helen Rolfe

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