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Coors Porcelain Company Vase
Even though the stamped marking on the underside of this vase reads “Coors Golden Colorado Pottery,” its coloring is not that of a pale ale. Rather, the exterior is painted with a cream-toned glaze, while its interior is coated in a light teal. This choice of matte glazing further calls attention to the stepped form...
Afternoon at the Museum
Little is known about this dress-weight cotton fabric, which arrived at the museum in a padded envelope with no return address. It was probably an inexpensive “novelty print” intended for the home-sewing market. This piece had been previously made up as a dirndl skirt, which requires very little shaping, so there is an uncut rectangular...
Calvin S. Hathaway: Museum Director and War Hero
In last month’s Cooper Hewitt Short Story, the exuberant personality of Robert Winthrop Chanler unfolded in a large gift of illustrated books to Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Library. May’s Short Story celebrates the curatorial vision that brought a professional edge to the Cooper Union Museum for the Arts of Decoration, that of Calvin Hathaway. Margery...
Hand-Beaten for Hand-Tossed Salad: Kalo Shop Salad Servers
Founded by Clara Barck Welles in 1900, the Kalo Shop was one of the most successful workshops of the Arts and Crafts movement. The name “Kalo” derives from the Greek word for beauty and the motto of the Kalo Shop was “Beautiful, Useful, and Enduring.”[1] The output of the Kalo Shop lived up to this...
Metals and Materials
This striking drawing, titled Altar Mensa for the Borghese Chapel in the Santa Maria Maggiore, is by a lesser known but influential architect, Mario Asprucci the Younger.  Using water color paint to achieve vibrant illustrations of various, colored marbles and metals, Asprucci captures the architecture’s sumptuous materials and allegorical themes. The Borghese Chapel was originally...
A Wall of Calligraphy
In this beautiful sidewall, layers of white, dark brown, and tan lines swirl into compositions reminiscent of chopped-up calligraphy. No words seem to be spelled out, and stylistically the calligraphy hovers between Arabic and Gothic scripts. The layering of the “words” in the paper causes us to see them primarily as ornamental forms, leading us...
Let There Be Light: Table Candlestand
One of the most precious household commodities before the advent of electric lights was the candle. Candles were typically burned at night, and only when necessary, as they were laborious to make and costly to buy. The best candles were made of pure beeswax, because these burned cleanly and emitted a pleasant honey odor. Another...
The New Architecture
Gail Davidson discusses Hugh Ferriss's process for crafting a 1920s skyscraper under strict zoning laws.
Earth Optimism at Cooper Hewitt
A Smithsonian celebration of Earth Day will focus attention on effective solutions for saving the planet.