Illustrated Vancouver Vol 19 – Pillowcase Throw Down


Today on Illustrated Vancouver I present to you, A Souvenir of Vancouver, BC, on glorious printed silk. I have posted souvenir plates before, but I have to admit I’m even more captivated seeing this type of artwork printed on fabric. In fact, it’s given me a thought. I’ve only featured textile arts once in the past with this piece called Slocan Park by Culture Crawl artist Bettina Matzkuhn. Frankly, and I’d like to see more folk art on fabric dedicated to the city, so I’m throwing down a challenge.

Anyone who submits a handmade DIY fabric inspired work of art to Illustrated Vancouver by JUNE 30th, 2012 is entered to WIN this vintage silk pillowcase! Note you don’t need to surrender your handmade craft to win – just send a picture of the artwork. Whether it’s knit, needlepoint, crochet, cross stitch, or fabric collage, all are eligible as long as there is some sort of depiction of the city of Vancouver. There are no age limits for either entrant or entries. I have elected DiYVR ambassador Kim Werker and VIAwesome president and editor-in-chief Bob Kronbauer to act as the official judges (provided we have more than one entry!). Shortlisted works will be featured here on VIAwesome, and the grand prize winner gets to take the pillowcase home!

Closeup of City Hall resembles a scene from a comic book; I can totally imagine Tintin blazing onto the scene!

Back to the pillowcase itself, I’m having a hard time accurately dating this piece, but I have a hunch or two.

The Museum of Vancouver has a pillowcase of City Hall on permanent display, which I think it’s safe to say would have been from 1936, the year construction both began and was completed. The year 1936 was also the city’s Golden Jubilee, a fitting year to celebrate in spite of being at the height of the depression.

Three years later, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth came to Vancouver, but I expect any souvenirs from this time period would have made great fanfare of the 1939 Royal Visit.

City Hall Pillow Case, from the Museum of Vancouver Permanent Collection

Following the end of WWII, the next big celebration was in 1946, the year of the city’s Diamond Jubilee, but a clue in the Medical Dental image reveals 1946 is a bit too early.

Two beige trolley buses are heading up Howe Street; Vancouver’s first trolleybus service began on August 16, 1948.

There’s a chance this could have been made around 1958, the year of British Columbia’s colonial Centenary, but again I’m just guessing. It’s probably safe to say this was made some time during the 1950s, or at the very latest, early 60s. Unfortunately, I can’t really guess any more accurately than that, since there are no markings to confirm origin. I’m not even really sure where it’s made. Have I missed any clues? Someone more knowledgeable on the history of the textile industry may be able to shed more light on the subject.

The Marine Building

Whatever the age of this work, the city rendered in silk does look marvelous, and I hope these images inspire you to break out your sewing kits and get started on your very own local textile treasure. Good luck!

Traffic is light on the Lions Gate Bridge