Image from a panel discussion at Cooper Hewitt. Three women sit on a stage, holding microphones.
Nature Salons: Materials of the Anthropocene
Designers Shahar Livne and Charlotte McCurdy in conversation with Caitlin Condell, Associate Curator and Head of Drawings, Prints & Graphic Design. Join us for a discussion exploring the ways in which designers consider the abundance of materials available to them in the 21st century. As the boundary between ‘synthetic’ and ‘natural’ materials becomes increasingly blurry,...
image from Cooper Hewitt triennial nature salon panel discussion with Curator Andrea Lipps
Nature Salons: Encouraging Growth
Talk on What role does biological growth play in 21st-century design?
Image features the opening spread of William Morris's book, The Wood Beyond the World. The pages include an illustration of a willowy maiden stepping forward in a lush meadow and elaborate ornamentation. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Reclaiming & Enlivening the Book
William Morris’s The Wood Beyond the World (1894) relates the adventures of Golden Walter, a man who seeks to escape his mundane life and sets out on a sea voyage, eventually gaining control of the kingdom of Stark-Wall and the love of a beautiful maiden. The book was published by the Kelmscott Press, a private...
Image festures porcelain etui in the form of a naturalistic asparagus tip with hinged lid at base. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Asparagus to Go
Trompe-l’oeil ceramics such as this porcelain étui modelled after an asparagus tip were all the rage in Europe and England during the 18th century. Etuis are small ornamental personal cases that were used to carry toiletry items or sewing tools, and would have been used primarily by women. Other examples of trompe-l’oeil ceramics included tureens...
Image features a square ceramic tile with the large image of a fly seen from above, rendered in back and green glazes on a white ground. Please scroll down to read the blog about this object.
Pretty Fly for a Tea Tile
Author: Victoria Jenssen I grew up with Carol Janeway’s animal-themed tiles in my parents’ home, but only since my parents’ death at the turn of this century did I start researching Janeway’s career. My family’s amusing tiles were leftovers from my father’s career of the post-war 1940s when he crafted Janeway-designed hardwood frames for her...
Image features: Dark gray and orange fish swim up and down on a purple and light gray ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Natural Talent
Behold how black skimmers fish for their finny food. As the tide falls and the moon rises, a squadron of skimmers shimmers over the glassy cove, shallow-plowing the shallows with their razor-thin lower mandibles, scooping up minnows by the many from the mini furrows. It’s a little like seeing with a string, and you have...
Image features a four-tined silver dessert fork, its form suggesting a tulip on its sinuous, leaf-encased stem. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Tulip for the Table
This silver dessert fork from the “Tulip” pattern, was designed by Henrich Vogeler in 1898-99, and produced by the firm of M. H. Wilkens & Söhn  in Bremen, Germany. Vogeler’s Tulip pattern is one of the most graceful German flatware patterns of the Jugendstil period, and this particular piece shows the pattern well. Vogeler, trained as...
Image features an ornament in the form of a butterfly alighting on a blossom, depicted in bright blue kingfisher feathers, brown resin, and red and green foil-covered beads mounted on a sheet silver backing. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Symphony of Shimmering Iridescence
Author: Morgan Albahary Made in China around 1900, this small yet striking ornament depicts a delicate butterfly alighting on the plush petals of a blossoming flower. With its profusion of iridescent kingfisher feathers, which have been deftly cut and inlaid into delineated segments of silver sheet, the ornament’s materiality firmly grounds it within the tradition...
Image features front Cover of Morris wall-papers by Morris & Company. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object
William Morris Wall-Papers
I could wax poetic on the virtues and talents of William Morris (1834-1896), such as his renowned association with the British Arts and Crafts movement, his contribution to the revival of textiles, the way he established concepts of modern fantasy, and his socialist endeavors. Instead, let’s view this rare trade catalog published by the Morris & Company...