Author: Jessica Walthew

Evolving Digital Collections and Their Stewardship: Stamen’s Watercolor Maps
A curator, a conservator, and a designer discuss the continual maintenance of Watercolor Maps, a born-digital mapping tool in Cooper Hewitt's digital collection.
Two glass vessels lit from above causing dramatic and intricate patterns of light and shadow to be cast around them.
Year of Glass: 3D-Printed Glass
Neri Oxman's 3D-printed GLASS series may contain answers for the future of the medium and its use.
Glass table formed by a circular top on tripod base composed of three angled, oval legs. Glass iridizes and changes color depending on angle of view.
Year of Glass: Specialty Glasses with Special Effects
Laminated glasses have many practical and aesthetic uses, and, when combined with modern applications of ancient technologies, can have dazzling effects.
A sleek table consisting of a slender arc joining two legs and a table top. The table is deep red in color and from the table top descends a column of 32 stylized black feathers.
Year of Glass: Feathers from Volcanic Glass
Gloria Cortina creates stylized feathers from black obsidian in contemporary homage to Mexico's past and present cultures.
Screenshot from iOS app Planetary. "Artists are stars" reads text next to a brilliant sun. "Albums are planets" says text near a planet.
A Love Letter to Planetary
We’ve written before about Cooper Hewitt’s first acquisition of an iOS app, Planetary: first Seb Chan and Aaron Cope described their unique and unusual way of “collecting” the app in 2014, and then we wrote about why Planetary was no longer functioning in 2019. In 2020, however, software developer Kemal Enver remastered the work and...
A large textile with a grid of blue, purple and white squares is shown in a gallery display.
Imaging Indigo with Multiband Reflectance Subtraction
by Jessica Walthew (objects conservator), Kira Eng-Wilmot (textile conservator), and Pauline Nguyen (conservation intern) Nebula by Eduardo Portillo and María Dávila is made with a beautiful variety of fibers and dyes, including indigo in different intensities and in combination with the red dye cochineal to yield a dark purple color. This woven textile features an...
Textile with step motif in reds, oranges, and natural colors shown next to an ancient clay pot depicted wearing a tunic with the same motif.
Multiband Imaging of Cochineal-dyed textiles
by Jessica Walthew (objects conservator), Kira Eng-Wilmot (textile conservator),  and Pauline Nguyen (conservation intern) Several contemporary designers featured in our current exhibition Nature by Design: Cochineal (November 16, 2019–May 25, 2020) were inspired by historic materials and chose this fascinating cochineal dyestuff for their work. James Bassler’s textile Six X Four II is made with discontinuous warps...
Gallery view showing a selection of textiles and objects on display, with pink variegated wallpaper surrounding the room.
Spotlight on Current Research: Multiband Imaging for Dyed Textiles
by Jessica Walthew (objects conservator), Kira Eng-Wilmot (textile conservator), and Pauline Nguyen (conservation intern) Cooper Hewitt’s Conservation team recently acquired a Multiband imaging (MBI) photography kit, a useful tool for investigating pigments, coatings, and other artistic materials. In preparation for the exhibition Nature by Design: Cochineal, we worked with our summer intern Pauline Nguyen to...
X-Ray Vision: Exposing 40 Years of Gadgets
Digital Collection Intern Nicolai Garcia recounts the experience of producing x-ray images of electronic objects from Cooper Hewitt's collection.