Susan Brown

Beware of Armed Women

Among the Fante people of coastal Ghana, small local militias known as Asafo play an important role in community and political life. Rivalries among the Asafo companies are common, and many flags are specifically designed as challenges or insults to rival companies. Others are based on proverbs, with subtle references to local events or personalities.
Fante, militias, flags, proverbs

Oversized Samplers

In 2004, the Museum commissioned the Dutch designer Hella Jongerius to create a series of ten textiles, collectively titled Sampler Blanket, in conjunction with the exhibition Hella Jongerius Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection, shown in the Nancy and Edwin Marks Collections Gallery March 4 to September 4, 2005. Each work in the series is inspired by designs found on historic samplers in the Museum's Textile Department. Embroidered samplers are one of the richest areas of the collection; the department has over 1,000 examples from all over the world.
Hella Jongerius, Maharam, samplers, needle-punch felting

Digital Silk

Hitoshi Ujiie is a textile designer as well as educator and founder of the Center for Excellence in Digital Inkjet Printing at Philadelphia University. Ujiie’s work is an exploration of the aesthetic implications of digital inkjet printing for textiles, which is bringing about profound changes in the approach to design for this medium.
Hitoshi Ujiie, digital inkjet printing, Phildelphia University

American Modern, made in India

Sheila Hicks has lived and worked in many countries, and always immerses herself fully in the culture. In 1965, she was approached by a representative of Commonwealth Trust of Calicut, Kerala, India. CommTrust was (and is) the longest continually operating hand-weaving mill in India. The mill had thousands of highly skilled weavers, but their fabrics were rejected by European buyers as incompatible with modern furniture. Hicks had been suggested more than once as a textile designer whose ideas were at the forefront of contemporary design thinking.
Sheila Hicks, CommTrust, Kerala India, hand weaving


The London-based design studio Wallace Sewell was established by Harriet Wallace-Jones and Emma Sewell after graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1990. Both women trained as weavers, and all of their products are designed by hand on the loom. The fabrics are then woven on power looms, with careful attention given to maintaining the qualities of a hand-weave. All of their yarns are sourced from British companies, and are woven at a mill in Lancashire. The studio also works with a finisher in Yorkshire.
blanket, Wallace Sewell, Royal College of Art, weaver


Wolf Bauer studied textile design under Leo Wollner at the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Stuttgart, and served as his assistant from 1963 to 1965. Both men were prominent textile designers in Europe, creating work for the top firms: Tanus Textildruck, Heal Fabrics, Weverij de Ploeg, and most importantly Pausa AG, a printer known for its technical skill and innovative approach.
Wolf Bauer, textile, Leo Wollner, Knoll Textiles

Embracing spontaneity and chance

TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc., founded in 2006 by Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher, is an experimental textile hand-printing studio in Harlem.
Tillett, TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc., hand-printing

Casements with more structural interest

As glass-walled office buildings proliferated in the mid-1950s, Knoll’s collection of casement fabrics, as a category distinct from draperies, expanded rapidly. Casements are defined as open-weave or sheer fabrics which filter light without blocking it. Fishnet and Minnow were early experiments, both being literal translations of simple net structures.
Knoll Textiles, Anni Albers, casement

Abstracted loom heddles

Eszter Haraszty was head of Knoll’s textile division from 1950 to 1955. She also served as color consultant to Knoll Associates, and frequently collaborated with Herbert Matter on the company’s promotional materials. Her strong color sense had a major impact on the ‘Knoll Look,’ as she moved the company away from the earth tones popular at the time and developed a coordinated palette of bright, clear colors across the entire textile line.
Eszter Haraszty, Knoll Textiles, photography, Color

Interplay between 2-D surface and 3-D structure

Grethe Sørensen is an artist and weaver who designs according to architectonic principles. Her interest in photography, cinematography, animation, optics and illusion is expressed in textiles which show a deep understanding of the weaving process, constantly exploring the interplay between two-dimensional surface and three-dimensional structure.
Grethe Sørensen, textile, pattern, illusion, Kvadrat