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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...
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Green Glossary: G for Greenwashing
Sustainability has become fashion’s hottest topic – at least in words and marketing campaigns. Green, clean, organic materials, natural fibers and dyes, recycled products, eco-conscious… In the abundant sustainability lexicon used by fashion companies for branding and marketing, customers can easily get confused. For instance, natural fibers are not necessarily organic, and chemical fibers such as polyester can...
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A Surreal View of the Land
I have always been fond of landscape friezes and I sometimes wish I lived in a nice bungalow where I could actually use some of these different wall treatments to best effect. I’ve probably mentioned before that wide landscape friezes were popularized by Walter Crane when he introduced his May Tree frieze in 1896, and...
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Designing Recovery Housing
Jaunita Valdez-Cox is the Executive Director of LUPE (La Unión Del Pueblo Entero) and Brent Brown is the founder of bcWORKSHOP. Brown and his team at bcWORKSHOP ‘s project, RAPIDO Rapid Recovery Housing, is featured in the exhibition By the People: Designing a Better America, curated by Cynthia Smith, Curator of Socially Responsible Design at...
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Drafting Justice
This large, circular drawing (1959-69-9), nearly three feet in height and width, is a study for a glass mosaic installed at the Wisconsin State Capital Building in Madison, Wisconsin.  Designed by Kenyon Cox (American, 1856-1919), this drawing was probably one of several preparatory works that Cox made before cutting, arranging, and gluing tiny glass tesserae, or pieces, to translate the drawn...
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Master of the Chair
Hans J. Wegner was a pioneer in modern Danish design in the 1950s and 1960s. Having designed more than 500 chairs throughout his career, with 100 of them being mass-produced, he has been affectionately known within the design world as the “Master of the Chair”.  His ingenious use of natural materials, in particular his admiration...
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...
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Facial Features
At first glance, this design drawing for the tapestry Our Mountains by Trude Guermonprez (American, b. Germany, 1910–1976) may appear to be a simple mountain landscape. A closer look reveals that the cool blue-green peaks and valleys are actually formed by three reclining faces in profile. In the background, the face of Guermonprez’s husband John...
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Call for Adventurers
During the 1920s and 30s, child-rearing experts pointed out the negative effects of mass recreation, especially movies, to the growth of American children. They argued that as passive spectators, children would likely bring home images of glamour and a sense of the social power of consumer goods after attending movies since what they saw in...