Object of the Day

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Modern Velvet
In composition, Kaleidoscope closely resembles Larsen’s famous design of concentric squares, Magnum. But whereas that design was machine-embroidered around mirror-like squares of Mylar, Kaleidoscope is a durable, hard-wearing upholstery in a technique called epinglé velvet – so named for the wires which are inserted into the shed during the weaving and over which the pile...
Bound but not Broken
Frank Karslake introduced the Guild of Women Binders in 1898 after meeting an influential group of female bookbinders in various parts of Britain; many of whom worked in shops under men or even from their own homes.  Karslake first became interested in these makers in 1897 when he visited the Victorian Era Exhibition at the Earl’s...
Hesse’s Study
This figure study of a nude male depicted from the rear in contrapposto, bears the geometric massing and imperfect proportions of the work of a student.  Made in 1957, the drawing is a vestige of the collegiate days of renowned artist Eva Hesse (b. Hamburg, 1936-1970). From 1954-1957, Hesse was a student at the Cooper Union...
Travel in Style Without Clashing
Innovations in transportation and mobility were to become a common theme in wallpaper design. Similar images frequently appeared on bandboxes and hat boxes starting in the 1830’s. A sign of mobility themselves, these boxes were used for the safe transport and storage of men’s removable collars and hats. Early designs include historic hot air balloon...
Ribbons
Alexander Hayden Girard made an indelible (and colorful!) impact on 20th century modernist textile design. At the helm of Herman Miller’s textiles division, his playfulness provided a warm complement to the stark simplicity of furniture designs of Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson. As its title suggests, Ribbons features overlapping, irregular vertical rectangles reminiscent...
A Hunt and a Chase
  Born in Hungary in 1884, William Hunt Diederich spent his childhood on his family’s estate, where his father bred and trained horses for the Prussian Army. Diederich’s mother was American and a member of the prominent Hunt family in Boston, whose relatives included the painter William Morris Hunt and the architect Richard Morris Hunt....
The Age of Gold
Rasch and Company is a West German wallpaper manufacturer known for producing papers designed by celebrated fine artists and designers. In 1929 they created a line of papers designed by the Bauhaus called simply “Bauhaus wallpapers.” Incredibly successful, the line never fully went out of print. In 1950, Rasch developed its Kunstler Tapeten “artists’ wallpaper”...
Tea of Two Styles: Christopher Dresser’s Kettle and Stand
After American Commodore Matthew C. Perry forcibly opened trade relations with Japan in 1854, a cornucopia of Japanese goods flooded into Western markets. The groundbreaking use of perspective and asymmetry in the prints of Japan influenced artists that included Mary Cassatt, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh. In decorative arts, imported items like fans, kimonos,...
Samoan Bark Cloth
The ancient craft of creating bark cloth is shared by numerous cultures around the world. In Samoa, this textile tradition has been passed down for generations and is an integral component of gift exchange. The textile we see here is a prime example of a siapo tasina, a type of bark cloth (siapo) that has...