about

The Object of the Day blog is written by Cooper Hewitt’s curators, graduate fellows, and contributing researchers and scholars. Posts are published five times a week (Monday through Friday) and present research on an object from the museum’s collection. With over 210,00 objects spanning thirty centuries of decorative arts and design, Object of the Day explores the material culture of textiles, graphic design, furniture, products, architectural drawings, wallcoverings, and much more. You can also subscribe to our Object of the Day email for a daily dose of design delivered to your inbox.

Image feature a colorful wool border depicting birds and flowers. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
The Complexities of Cross Looping
During the period from around 100 B.C. to 400 A.D., Nasca needleworkers from the South Coast of Peru mastered the complex art of three-dimensional cross-looping. A number of colorful and complicated border fragments like this one have been preserved. The few garments that remain intact show that they were used as the outer edging attached...
Image features a six-sided bottle-form vase with a bulbous bottom, ascending into a narrow neck, and a rounded arrow like top. The white body is decorated with a symmetrical pattern of diamonds in black, yellow, and mint green. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Fennia for America
The remarkably graphic, geometric pattern of bright yellow and sea-green crystalline forms that map the surface of this elongated, arrow-like vase appear definitively modern. The origin of this decoration, though, is decidedly not. This vase was made by Arabia, the principal industrial pottery in Finland during the opening decade and a half of the twentieth...
Image features a wallpaper frieze with a bucolic scene of rolling hills, while picket fences, and groves of trees. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Dining with the Poppies
This is a fun frieze, also known as a wide border, produced in America during the early years of the twentieth century. It captures a bucolic scene of rolling hills, white picket fences, and fields of red poppies. I almost expect to see horses trotting by, or cows grazing. The design has a deep perspective...
Image features a brochure with a diagram of the overall menstrual cycle on the front cover in pink, red, yellow, white, and black against a black background. White numbers representing days of the month are arranged in a circle, and different types of moons appear in white in the four corners. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Herbert Bayer, Master of the Universe
Herbert Bayer is known for his work as a student and teacher at the Bauhaus, the famous German art school that integrated art, design, and daily life. During Bayer’s formative years at the Bauhaus (1921–1928), he helped create the modern discipline of graphic design by using photography, type, and geometric systems to promote products and...
Image features embroidered picture showing five women representing "The Five Senses" with their attributes. Hearing, playing a lute, is in the center, Smell is upper right, Touch is lower right, Taste is upper left, and Sight is lower left. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Raising the Bar for Intricate Needlework
Author: Katherine Diuguid The wealth of needlework techniques on display in 17th century English raised-work embroideries is a reminder that these pictures functioned as samplers, in which amateur embroiderers would test out different techniques as they progressed in their needlework skills. Whether depicting Biblical or mythological characters, female figures rendered in contemporary dress often enjoyed...
Image features a pitcher composed of a globular, translucent green glass body with a cylindrical neck covered in silver-plated metal with an inverted U-shaped handle, short spout, and an inset circular lid. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
“Without Light Everything is Lifeless”
Designer Massimo Vignelli was known for the sense of sophistication and refinement he brought to the product, graphic, and furniture design that he produced first in Italy, and later in the U.S. working with his wife Lella, also a designer.  While a student at the School of Architecture in Venice, Vignelli learned about glass from architect and glass...
Image features an Empire-style wallpaper with two figural landscape views. Please scroll to read the blog post about this object.
Roses and Music, or Cat and Mouse
This wallpaper format is fairly typical of a new genre that appeared following the upheaval of the French Revolution. The designs consist of one or two landscape views which alternate with one or two smaller secondary elements. These are almost always printed over a spotted or otherwise patterned ground. This particular design contains two each...
Le Corbusier’s Serbian Vase
As a young architect in search of inspiration, Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (Swiss, 1887 – 1965) traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Mediterranean.[i] Early in the summer of 1911, Jeanneret (today better known by his adopted name, “Le Corbusier”), then twenty-four years old, set out on a five-month journey that would take him through the Balkans,...
This object features: Small, square weaving with a grid of stepped motifs alternating off-white with a palette of soft shades: violet, blue-green, brown, terra cotta, and yellow. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
James Bassler, Thread by Thread
Paired sets of stepped blocks in harmony and balance echo an ancient process. James Bassler (American, b. 1933), in his work Six by Four II, incorporates an aesthetic of pure color through the interlacing of warps and wefts in a special way. By changing the colors of each block, linked one to the other, thread...