Design Within Reach
The Cooper Hewitt’s American Chatelaine (ca. 1860) may seem like a completely foreign object at first glance but upon further study, it is more familiar than it might seem. If we look at the history of chatelaines we see that they are part of an archetype of tools to carry on one’s person that is...
Gold Swag
Designated as the “Royal Porcelain Manufactory” during the mid-eighteenth century under the reign of Louis XV, the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory needs little introduction as one of Europe’s most innovative and influential porcelain manufacturers during the eighteenth century. Eight years before Sèvres manufactured this cup and saucer in 1780, Louis XVI had become king, and the...
Healey Gold Tableware; ca. 1893; Decorated by Emily Healey (American, born 1852) and Mary Healey (American, born 1854); Manufactured by Chryso-Ceramics (Washington, DC, USA); Gilt porcelain; Gift of Elizabeth Taylor, 1991-11-1/7
Healey Sisters Strike Gold
In the early 1890s science teacher Emily Healey was working in her laboratory in Washington D.C. when she accidently dropped a certain uranium salt into some heavy oil. When she fired this compound onto a scrap of china, the effect was a brilliantly colored surface. Many experiments with the uranium followed and Emily determined that...
Octagonal shape with gold-banded edge. Heavily gilded, incised water plants in center, with space-filling floral and leaf forms of gold, with enamel color dots and smaller gold dots. Porcelain with blue underglaze decoration, overglaze enameling and gilding.
Nineteenth-Century Glitz in Greenpoint
In the last quarter of the nineteenth century the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn was a hub for ceramic production and home to at least a dozen major firms. The beaches of the East River offered plentiful white sand and underdeveloped land near the shore accommodated the building of large factories. These firms produced a broad...
Deep red velvet with offset repeat pattern of gold disks. The foundation is plain weave formed by a red silk warp and tan silk weft.
Velvet with Gold Disks
This sumptuous red velvet with gold disks embodies what we can learn from textiles by looking, comparing, deconstructing, reconstructing, and then interpreting our observations.  Milton Sonday, my predecessor in the Textiles department at the Cooper-Hewitt, is a master of this methodology and has spent years employing it and teaching it to researchers and curators around...
Innovative Design at NYPL
Yesterday Design Watch Members toured the 10,500 square-foot library branch in Battery Park City, New York Public Library’s ‘greenest’ location. NYPL wanted a forward-looking design to emphasize their commitment to the 21st century. The bright and open spaces create a welcoming sense of community, while the design of everything from the furniture to shelving and...