Author: Matilda McQuaid

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Textile: Shibori Stripe, Fireworks colorway, 2015, USA, 100% polyester digitally printed by heat sublimation/dye transfer, Gift of Designtex Group, 2016-14-6
Affordable, Cleanable, Sustainable
One of the greatest challenges in designing commercial textiles has been creating durable, cleanable, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing fabrics for highly trafficked and 24/7 environments like healthcare facilities, theaters and airports. In addition, there is more demand for textiles with sustainable manufacturing practices, and companies like Designtex are taking on this responsibility and producing some...
Textile, 1934, France, supplementary weft cotton pile (velour), Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2006-6-1
Plush Travel
This modernist velour furnishing fabric designed in 1934 was produced in an area of northern France where weaving centers like Lille, Roubaix, and Tourcoing manufactured fabrics for use on airplanes, trains, and boats. During this era, escalating industrialization facilitated mass transportation, which led to an increased emphasis on travel. This cultural shift not only introduced...
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Starry Indigo
Starry Indigo embodies two vital Japanese textile traditions which derive from the kimono: indigo dyeing which can achieve the darkest and lightest of blues through repeated dipping in the dye vat, and woven silk accentuated by luxurious metallic coated washi thread (silver in Starry Indigo). The appearance of starlets twinkling in a midnight blue sky...
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American Bauhaus
This printed textile, Campagna, by Angelo Testa epitomizes his distinct design vocabulary. Likely named after Testa’s friend, Paul Campagna, Testa designed it around 1950 for Knoll Associates. Campagna utilizes Testa’s preferred linear and geometric forms, commonly associated with his Bauhaus training. The hard edges of the concentric rectangles in this textile, however, have been softened...
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Cooper Hewitt Short Stories: A Gift from J.P. Morgan
Last month in Cooper Hewitt Short Stories, we galloped through Sarah’s equestrian passion. In December’s short story, written by Matilda McQuaid, Deputy Curatorial Director and Head of Textiles at Cooper Hewitt, the sisters receive an important gift to their museum’s collection from family friend, J.P. Morgan. Margery Masinter, Trustee, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum Sue...
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Bizarre Textiles
Silk designs of 1695 to 1715, commonly termed ‘bizarre,’ were characterized by sinuous lines, strong diagonal movement, and motifs in strangely juxtaposed scales, which might include architectural elements, chinoiserie, and fantastical fruits and flowers. The seventeenth century was the age of exploration, and fashionable novelty was found in the rare and strange. Botanical gardens such...
Textile, "Feathers," 1961, designed by Alexander Hayden Girard (American, 1907–1993), manufactured by Herman Miller Textiles, screen printed on cotton plain weave, Museum purchase from General Acquisitions Endowment Fund, 2015-20-1
Color Transparency
Alexander Girard was the head of the Textile Division of Herman Miller Inc. from 1952 to 1973. During this time, he created over three hundred designs for textiles coordinated for use as upholstery fabrics and draperies for private and commercial interiors, exhibitions and corporate identity programs. His exuberant use of color, texture and pattern drew...
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No-waste Cotton Cape
Japanese resourcefulness embodied in a nineteenth-century cloak.
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A Textile Collage
Designed by Reiko Sudo, one of Japan's most important contemporary textile designers.