46048_ee1c27cdeff4168b_b
Big Wave 2
Junichi Arai is one of the world’s foremost innovators in textile design. He was born in Kiryu, Japan, an important center for textile production with over 1,000 years of silk-making tradition. As the sixth generation of a mill-owning family, Arai learned at an early age the customary Japanese weaving techniques for obis and kimonos. However,...
Sanitary wallpaper with repeating design of a large ship at sea, framed within rolling waves and dolphins. Printed in blue and green on white ground.
Sailing Around the Bathroom
This design of tall ships surrounded by dolphins in a turbulent sea was first used as a cretonne design, or printed cotton fabric, produced by Steiner & Co. This was published in The Studio magazine in 1899. The design re-surfaced years later as this sanitary wallpaper. This is a classic pattern for a bathroom, a...
View of a masquerade in a fantastical hall
Let’s Dance!
Dancers in outrageous costumes and masks mingle in a lavish interior. This finished drawing likely depicts a Parisian vauxhall, which were public entertainment spaces, often set in, or near, pleasure gardens. They were first popularized in seventeenth-century England, and became fashionable in France in the late 1760s with the construction of the Colisée (The French...
Bottle-form: globular, with straight slender neck, short foot. Coated from white rim to foot with monochrome oxblood color glaze of pear skin texture.
Elusive Oxblood
The deep red glaze on this porcelain vase is derived from copper, a metal which is notoriously difficult to control under the heat of a kiln. The distinct oxblood color is created when copper is starved of its oxygen during the firing (in a smoky, oxygen reduced kiln) and re-oxidized in the cooling. The resulting...
1998-75-105 lo res
The Rosetta Stone of Wallpaper?
Pretty and pleasant, this unassuming wallpaper plays an important role in the scholarship of early American design. In 1821 Adrian Janes and Edwin Bolles opened a wallpaper business (creatively named Janes & Bolles) in the bustling industry town of Hartford Connecticut. In the American Mercury, June 1st 1824, they advertised they had an “extensive assortment...
91459_f7fd310f5dc598fb_b
Two Squares
By the mid-nineteenth century, both Glasgow, Scotland and Manchester, England were producing huge numbers of bandannas, printed cotton handkerchiefs imitating earlier tie-died silk handkerchiefs from India. The success of that industry was the result of perfecting two chemical processes: the so-called Turkey Red process for dying cotton a brilliant, washable red, and discharge printing, a...
Office interior with figures standing along walls; and figures sitting at desk at left; map on wall and screen; waiting area at center of floor.
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to America
In his famous book, On The Road (1957), Jack Kerouac relays a cross-country adventure he undertook in 1949:  “…. eyes bent on Frisco and the coast, we came into El Paso as it got dark, broke. We absolutely had to get some money for gas or we’d never make it. We tried everything. We buzzed the...
Tulip laid horizontally, with upper and lower portions of dish composed of full length petals.
Strewing Flowers on the Table
This tulip-form small tureen or covered dish must have appeared a wonderful bit of nature, as if fallen from a bouquet, on a dining table. Porcelain started to take the place of sugar sculptures on the most elegant tables of Europe in the eighteenth century. It came at a time when nature was being observed...
Fanciful, organic shapes, printed in orange, green and pink, on a light blue ground. The large floral motif has a hand-like appearance.
Wallpaper Sure to Come in Hand-y
This machine printed wallpaper features a repeating pattern of orange hands and pink feathers floating down a light blue background like snowflakes – or does it feature flower buds and tiny balloons? Or, wait, maybe it’s actually a portrait of microbes having a party. The only woman who knows the true inspiration behind this funky...