Author: Susan Brown

Sampler, 1730, England, Embroidered by Mary Finkel (English,  n.d.), silk and linen embroidery with needle-lace fillings on linen, Bequest of Rosalie Coe, from the collection inherited from her mother, Eva Johnston Coe, 1974-42-3.
School Exercises
Samplers originally served as sketchbooks where women could record stitches and design ideas for future use. With the advent of printed books of patterns for lace and embroidery in the 16th century, this practice became less common, and samplers evolved into exercises for girls learning the techniques of needlework. Several samplers of nearly identical format...
Textile: "Leaves," 1931, designed by Robert Bonfils (French, 1886–1972) and manufactured by Bianchini-Férier, Inc. (Lyon, France), damask woven silk and viscut, Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2016-31-1
Lush Leaves
Robert Bonfils (French, 1886–1972) was a prolific illustrator and designer who is perhaps best known for his fashion illustrations for the Gazette du Bon Ton and Modes et Manières d’Aujourd’hui. He also contributed to Arts et Métiers Graphiques, and was commissioned to create the cover for the catalogue of the enormously influential 1925 Exposition Internationale...
Cold Wax
The Tillett Cold Wax System was one of the techniques Jack Lenor Larsen covered in detail in his 1969 book, The Dyer’s Art. Leslie Tillett explained, “I began serious research on a screen-printable resist material about three years after arriving in this country in 1947… I was after a formula or substance that would easily...
Americana Bandanna
The red cotton bandanna so closely linked to the American west was originally a tie-dyed silk scarf from India, and later the product of a number of European innovations. The Turkey-red process for dyeing cotton a brilliant, wash-fast scarlet red was mastered in Europe in the 18th century, but it was incompatible with printing processes....
Textile, 1840, USA, cotton printed by engraved roller, Bequest of Elinor Merrell, 1995-50-200
The Fabric of a Campaign
The election of 1840 is considered to be the first modern political campaign – the catchy slogan “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too” lingers in the public consciousness 175 years later. It refers to Whig party candidate William Henry Harrison’s early military victory over the Shawneee Indians at the battle of Tippecanoe, which the party used to...
Textile, ca. 1966, USA, hand-pulled strié ground, screen printed, on cotton plain weave, Gift of Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher, 2015-16-3
Bold Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace recalls the simple charm of a photogram, but it is technically multi-layered and complex. The brilliant red background is entirely hand-pulled with the drag-box. Slight overlapping of the bands of color creates pinstripes of darker red. The flowers are screen printed in opaque white ink, while a second screen of just the...
Darning Sampler
When we talk about sustainability, why don't we talk about mending?
Color blanket, 2014, designed by Paul Maute (German, 1897–1982), produced by Knoll Textiles (USA), manufactured in Scotland, wool and rayon plain weave, Gift of Knoll Textiles, 2015-30-10
Cato’s Appeal
Knoll introduced Cato in 1961 and it has been in continuous production ever since, making it one of the most successful designs the company ever produced. It was designed and woven by Paul Maute, a German designer/weaver whose contributions to Knoll Textiles were both influential and lasting. In 1927, Maute established his weaving workshop in...
Textile, USA, 1949, designed by George Nelson (American, 1907–1986), manufactured by Schiffer Prints (a division of Mil-Arts Co.), founded 1945, Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2015-19-3
Revitalizing An Industry
In the aftermath of World War II, a number of textile producers attempted to revitalize the industry by enlisting recognized personalities in art and architecture to design screen prints. “Perhaps the most outstanding name collection is Stimulus Fabrics produced by Schiffer Prints,” Alvin Lustig wrote in American Fabrics Magazine in 1951. “There was not a...