Author: Mae Colburn

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Sample, USA, 1958, designed by Alexander Hayden Girard, American, 1907–1993, screen printed with discharged on 40% cotton, 15% rayon, 45% mohair, Gift of Alexander H. Girard, 1969-165-165
City Blocks
Alexander Girard produced over three hundred textile designs during his almost thirty-year tenure at Herman Miller, an important American furniture company and promoter of modern design. That Girard was trained as an architect should come as no surprise – like many architects of his generation, he had experienced firsthand the challenge of finding textiles appropriate...
Hanging: "Syrian Olive Tree," made by Lydia Bush-Brown (American, 1887–1984), ca. 1922, silk batik
Inspired by Her Travels
Batik, or resist-dye, is an ancient craft often associated with Indonesia, but practiced in regions throughout Africa and Asia. It became popular in United States in the 1910s and 20s, with artists such as Arthur Crisp, Pieter Mijer, and Lydia Bush-Brown attracting national attention. These artists worked in the traditional manner, painting paraffin and beeswax...
Handkerchief, early 19th century, France
A Loom[ing] Controversy
In the center of his handkerchief is a portrait of Marie Louis Jacquard (1752-1834), inventor of the jacquard loom. Patented in 1804, the loom included a punch-card mechanism for controlling the action of the warp, greatly simplifying the production of complex fabrics and revolutionizing the French silk industry, symbolized by the caterpillars and cocoons nestled...
Textile: Taliesin Line: Design 107, screen printed cotton textile designed by Frank Lloyd Wright
Design 107
Toward the end of his life, in 1955, Frank Lloyd Wright produced the “Taliesin Ensemble,” a line of home furnishings for those who did not live in one of his houses. Wright partnered with numerous firms to complete the project, among them Heritage-Henredon, with whom he produced a line of furniture, and the Martin Senour...
Falcon's hood, England or France, early 17th century
Fit for a Falcon
Falconry is an ancient hunting method wherein falcons and other birds of prey are trained to attack wild quarry in its natural habitat. Requiring significant investments of time and money, the sport was largely limited to the upper rungs of society, and the birds themselves were held in high estimation. Hoods were an important article...
1980-31-6 Matt Flynn 001
Hey, Batter Batter
Printed fabric novelties were popular promotional devices in the early twentieth century, a signal of the growing influence of marketing in American material culture. This souvenir square, dating from 1912 and featuring baseball greats Christy Mathewson and “Home Run” Baker, among others, was a premium offered by Helmar and Turkey Red Tobacco companies in exchange...
43111_e37b871b879ff829_b
A Jazzy Print
Between 1925 and 1927, the Stehli Silks Corporation produced the Americana Prints, a series of nearly 100 artist-designed dress silks for the modern woman. American artists, designers, celebrities and cartoonists were selected to create the prints, among them photographer Edward Steichen and cartoonist John Held Jr., who produced the piece featured here. Taken together, the...
1974-23-6
Lydia’s New York
Batik, an ancient craft often associated with Indonesia, became popular in United States in the 1910s and 20s, with artists such as Arthur Crisp, Pieter Mijer, and Lydia Bush-Brown attracting national attention. These artists worked in the traditional manner, painting paraffin and beeswax on their cloth to create a resist, but expanded the traditional design...
Handkerchief, World's Fair, 1939, screen printed silk
A Souvenir from the Fair
The 1939 World’s Fair at Flushing Meadows Park in Queens was themed the ‘World of Tomorrow.’ Visitors came away with visions of radio-controlled highways, mechanical milking machines, and the 7-foot-tall Westinghouse robot. Many also left with Fair memorabilia, from the pins given away at the Futurama exhibition that read ‘I have seen the future,’ to...