Jun 20, 2010

Illustration Friday: Paisley

Paisley: An Ancient Swirling Pattern from a Town With Celibate Brythonic Origins?
Or a Green Summer Leafy Vegetable?

from our National Geographic Consultant, George Carrey-Urdu in Urkanistan

Well, for a start, why celibate?

 Hmm --- my personal feeling is that paisley (the design) is what people who are inordinately attractive to the opposite sex wear, to ameliorate the possibility of them reproducing.

That is, to me a 'paisley' design on any item of clothing - especially if it has the colour green, or red, or yellow, or blue - is the ultimate anti-aphrodisiac. Unless of course, you were into "gamete fusion" in the swinging sixties - then paisley is 'hot' - especially when combined with LSD, mari-juana and BEX.

Meanwhile, back in the swinging 400's (AD) in Britain just south of
the Firth of Forth, apppeared a group of languages called the
"Brythonic languages" - which eventually evolved into the Welsh,
Cornish, Breton, and Cumbric dialects.

"So," you ask, "what's that have to do with Pailsey?"

Well, it just so happens that Pailsey means paddock in the Brythonic lingo.

So if someone comes up to you and asks you in Brythonic, "Where are my cows? (Tá áit mo bha?). A great answer would be "In the Paisley." (sa Pailsey) - assuming the cows were actually in the "Pailsey'.

"Okay, okay, but what's this have to do with 'pailsey' design?"

Well, if you've researched this weeks illustration prompt as I have, the first thing you would have googled is 'paisley' (well I actually googled 'parsley' because of my dislexia -which made me was very confused for a while).

If so, you probably already know that the paisley design originally came from Titszxatasgan in Persia where it was known as "mankolam". For some reason, historical design kind of people think paisley designs from Titszxatasgan resemble a mango.

Consequently they relate the paisley pattern to Hinduism (the Kalasha – coconut circled by mango leaves on a pot - is one of the ten most important symbols in Hinduism.) Wow, what a jump in thinking.

To me, as a post modern abstract expressionist, I find paisley designs look like, not so much a bunch of mangoes, but a bunch of dried eggplants that have been flattened by a bulldozer then ornamented with a pattern of flowers sprinkled artfully over the remains, the whole lot being coloured in Neo Magic Textas by a colour blind chrom-satyriasis, (from the Greek σατυρίασις, from σάτυρος - meaning an unatural excess of colour-lust).

Leaving the Hindus aside and fast forwarding to the 17th century,
when the East India Company bought paisley and other Indian
patterns into Europe. There they became so popular that the poor starving Capatalistic East India Company was unable to import enough to meet the demand.

Hence, on 7th May 1640, smart locals in Marseilles hopped on the 'paisley' bandwagon and began to mass-produce the patterns via early textile printing processes. England, then Holland, soon followed (in England it was the House of Lords attempt in population control by way of introducing the "anti-aphrodisiac paisley pattern for poor people act" - AAPPFPPA for short).

So, in keeping with the AAPPFPPA, exactly 100 hundred years later, on 2nd March 1859, the overpopulated Scots stepped into the 'paisley scene.".
Not content to just let their men wear dresses or get slaughtered by the
English at  Battle of Culloden, the Scots actually volunteered to make
cloth in paisley design.

Hence, in honour of their sacrifice, the sleepy town of  "Swamp-ben-loch" in Scotland was renamed "Pailsey', after Sir Ian Pailsey, who invented the washing machine - and hence made washing garmets like Paisley less of a nightmare for the modern child less woman......

And so history was rewritten on my blog.

Tommorrow I'll tell you how, on the 12th March 1964, the world famous "Chinese Gosberry" was grabbed by three wily New Zealanders, who after a remarkable marketing strategy which lasted fourteen days and fourteen nights,  released it back into the world as --- "The Kiwi."

Stay tuned, and thank you for looking. Sorry about the formatting.


  1. Dear God! I'm here early again??? Ackh! You'd better give me something better than coupons this time.

    Now, is that Brian??? And is that Matilda Theresa what's her name??!! Oh, I am heart broken... They look pretty serious too, considering she has a baby trolley and he doesn't seem to mind at all.

    Well, you sure went all the way with the information this time and I now have a headache, thank you very much. Titszxatasgan? σατυρίασις? Mankolam? Not to mention mangoes and flatten eggplants.

    Excuse me, I'll just go sit down a minute...

  2. I always thought paisley looked like sperm, which kind of goes against the idea of your celibate cat. I can see the flattened eggplants though. I love the bright colors, and nice composition.

  3. Very good this, Andrew, you know that reading for me is difficult, and little trust in Google Translator
    The illustration is wonderful.
    I really like the three layers are clearly visible. Especially through the small space behind the bird. I have not seen all your works but I think this is the most successful.
    Very good play of light and shadows.

  4. I really hate paisley - I had a pass on this week's IF needless to say :D

    But if I had done anything it would have been something in your cat's line for sure, which I love BTW.

    It might be a compliment or it might be a strong critique from me, who knows ;)

  5. Ok now, I'm back. Minus the headache... :)

    You know what I love most about this piece? (Other than Brian, of course...hehe) Is the ever so enchanting age old tree with a peculiar looking 'paisley' pattern on its bark. Now, THAT's the only way to go with paisley, don't you think? :)

  6. ... and here I thought paisley was just a fancy fabric!

    Love your illustration and I love the writing that goes with it equally! Very clever!

  7. oooooooooookaaaaay, as I sloooooowly remove and hide my paisley garments....... Perhaps that photo of myself dressed all in paisley on Match.com was not such a hot idea after all. Explains a lot.

    Good grief. All this talk of paisley and pailsey and parsley has given my brain palsy. I'm stuck on trying to figure out how anything can be descended from a celibate town.

    What an incredible piece! Just fantastic how you've tucked in the flattened eggplants into the flora and the fauna. And it's wonderful to get an update on Brian. He looks quite smitten. His date has impeccable fashion sense, in my opinion. I mean, just look how her shoes match her dress And those glasses are faaabulous!

    See, SHE would do well on Match.com.

  8. One, I'm thoroughly entertained, and two, I can't even imagine the time and effort that you put into this wonderful piece! Just the writing alone and keeping 'pailsey' and 'paisley' straight made me nuts ;P

    The cat reminds me very much of a fundraiser I was part of back in California. Many artists were invited to paint cat sculptures which were then auctioned off for various causes. It was a lot of fun and a great success.

    Anyway, super job Andrew! Once again I've enjoyed my visit here. When I see work such as yours, I kick myself for never wanting to learn digital art. I've recently changed my mind but I can't imagine I have the patience at this tender age of...ahem.

  9. I want that book. Please let me be the one to buy the first printed copy. Please sign it though and write something inside it that would make my head swell. I remember these two lovers. His long wait is over and he doesn't look like a stalker after all. He looks normal. It's the girl who looks like... well a devilish controlling, needy woman. Poor purr guy. I believe he sould run before he runs his life... Paisley rocks. I have several silk scarves or scarfs with paisley pattern. Take care Andrew. Focus on the book, please.

  10. Okay I notice the name on the left side. I want to be on top. I hope this will make me on TOP!

  11. Oh crud, I am still underneath Mita. How can I be on top? How does that work?

  12. i like cats.
    and i like your cat, with or without paisley pattern.

    i'm like cat here, a no-name slob. We belong to nobody, and nobody belongs to us. We don't even belong to each other.
    ~Holly Golightly

  13. Grandewitch wants to be on top :D
    ok i shut up, lol.

  14. I definitely want to be on top of you. I hope this will make me. Of course Andrew may not like this. Spam is fattening...

  15. But for once I want to be on top at Andrew's place. This will make it. I think.

  16. Not to make light of your work, because I think your writing is as good as your art, and I have enormous respect for you, but all of a sudden I am obsessed with this apparently shallow goal of being on top of that list of yours. However, I know the great watercolorist Lakhsmita Indira will eventually squash squish me and put me in my place.

  17. Crud! Never mind. Sorry Andrew. I made a mess. I am going back to bed. Goodnight/good morning.

  18. Hahahaa... You are hilarious Ces. (^-^)

    Ok, there's no way I'll ever get to the top, so I'll just suck it up here on third. Hey! What are you doing below me, Monsieur?? Shouldn't you be on top??

    Ah, well, I suppose you're strong enough to support the three of us? We should join the circus...(^-^)

  19. OOOOOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! I AM ON TOP! YES! YES! Probably not for long. Mita will knock me down and who knows Amalia may kick out butts!

  20. Isn't this fun, Ces?? We're making a mess in Andrew's blog. Ooo... I hope Brian's "devilish controlling" girlfriend doesn't ambush us!! That would get ugly... :D :D :D

  21. Mangles? Parsnips? It's always too much fun in Andrewland. Those look like hanging trees, Auntie Fig has brought her nephew Ralph there to give him a warning about where he will end up if he doesn't start minding his peas and curly Q's .
    "Another thing young man,....are you listening to me?" She shrills.
    Ralphie dreams on knowing there is a picnic lunch in the pram. The day will come when he makes big changes in his world.
    The cat smells rodent pie and sings his mutant plea for sustenance. Neow? Neow? Neow!!!

  22. ¡¡¡Excelente!!!...Muy buenos tus trabajos.

  23. Hey Andrew! You are hillarious and so talented! Love ALL the paisley in your work. Never been a parsley... I mean paisley fan myself, so you animals are a perfect compliment to a strange design. Love that bird! I'm glad to see that Brians date apparently went well. i was so nervous for him. Great stuff as usual Andrew! (should I have said "stuff' to an Aussie?) Doesnn't that mean something?

  24. Andrew - another masterpiece! Your work is amazing - makes me want to look and look and look and then come back later for some more. I swear, this is the blog I spend the longest time on simply because I'm constantly scrolling back and forth between writing the comment and your images. Keep up the eye-candy!

  25. Are we in a competition of posts? Maybe I should break mine up into multiple posts I seem to be falling behind now. Believe it or not I actually looked it up too. I even read all about the town of Paisley, and that it is Pàislig in Gaelic, yep, I learned that too. Dyslexia aside, my son and I are dyslexic also, and Aspie's to boot. yay, we just consider ourselves "quirky and unique". Because of this I read over my posts over and over and over again to make sure I am being very careful what I say and I use spell check religiously. So there is my excuse for inappropriate or poorly written comments LOL.
    So despite my critique I do love this illustration and although you may be correct in your opinion that it is an anti-aphrodisiac I love it. I don't actually wear it, but I must admit I did in the 80's.

  26. ooops., I meant comments, not posts, see no matter how many times I reread what I write I still mess up! I am actually just trying to get my number up ;)

  27. Heh, thanks very much for all your comments. I must say that I think I need glasses as I type by sound. Which explains a lot of things.

    But luckily I can read the comments and am laughing my bottom off! (can I say that?)

    Pailsey and paisley and parsley all look the same to me. (I guess I need to get my comments up as well!!!)

    But seriously, your comments on my work mean a lot. It keeps me honest!!!!!!

    cheers and see you soon!

    By the way, I didn't mean anything by dislexia (excuse for my bad spelling) or saying parsley was unsexy. Parsley gives you fresh breath and is great in taboulie.

    And Austin Powers looked so good in it ----- :)

    I guess I was so just bad confused.

  28. How on earth do you come up with this stuff Andrew??? Go gravy these are the most awesome pieces ever. How gorgeous and imaginative. You have busted open the box! I'll never look at my cats the same after your post he he he he! Thanks for stopping by too.

  29. no.
    i dont know, i just want to be beautiful like Audrey.
    wasnt she beautiful?

    but thank you very much, i believe you!


  30. correct!
    i am a cat and under Grandewitch :D
    do you like it?

  31. Really stunning Andrew!! Love them all!!

  32. Bonjour Mr. Finnie! Ca va? (oh I don't know how to do those little thingies under the c on this laptop...) Aww thank you so much for singing that tune! It was lovely ^_^!! I'm not back just yet I'm afraid! Soon I will be!

    *here kitty kitty kitty* I guess it's a special cat, maybe you need to have an intellectual convo before he will listen? Aah I always enjoy reading your little stories accompanied by those amazing illustrations! Paisley patterns...not sure what to think of it tho...

    Keep on creating mr. Finnie!! Ciaoo


Hya! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I appreciate your time and thoughts.