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Image shows a narrow wallpaper border with green ivy and red berries. Please scroll down for further information on this object.
Fast and Easy Decorating
“Fast and easy” is how this collection of borders was marketed to the public. Designed especially for the do-it-yourself market, these narrow borders were packed in individual boxes, sold in twelve foot lengths, and all were pre-pasted. They just had to be dipped in water and stuck on the wall, though consumers were advised to...
Image features: Fragment of a mantle with close-set horizontal rows of stylized warriors' heads, each with different headdress and color combinations. In the top row, upright front-facing heads alternate with upside down heads in profile. In the next row, upright heads in profile alternate with upside down front-facing heads. Rich muted shades of brown, gold, tan, blue, green, purple, and white on a rust-red ground. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Portrait Heads
The production of this type of cloth was confined to a brief period of great artistic achievement in the Nasca region. The portrait heads appear to be of human rather than deity figures, and seem to represent individuals of varied status and perhaps ethnicity, signaled by the wearing of certain accoutrements. Features of the figures...
Reinventing Functionality
A version of the Heatwave Radiator is included in the exhibition Joris Laarman Lab: Design in the Digital Age, on view at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum through January 15, 2018. Radiators have long been used to exchange heat, transfering thermal energy from one medium to another for the purpose of space heating. Their primary...
Mourning the Memory of Ill-Gotten Gains
This reliquary vase, created by Matt Nolen, is featured in the exhibition, The Virtue in Vice, currently on view at Cooper Hewitt. The vase was selected as a visual interpretation of greed, here defined as the acquisition of large sums of money, universally recognized as the hallmark of avarice. Though tongue-in-cheek, Nolen’s reliquary pointedly illustrates...
Behind the History of Chinese Ornament
Examples of Chinese Ornament Selected from Objects in the South Kensington Museum and Other Collections (figure 1) was written by Owen Jones (1809-1874), one of the most influential English architects, designers, and design theorists of the nineteenth century. Jones selected 100 full-color plates sourced from the motifs of Chinese ceramics, cloisonné works, and carpet designs,...
Surface Patterns
Frederick Krieg’s colorful design for a two-part part tile pattern is depicted in a three by three grid.  The result is an alternating composition that maintains unity through repeated colors (light blue, bisque, and charcoal) and angles (hexagonal and inverted).  Krieg’s precision is all the more impressive given the medium: watercolor paint. A self-taught designer...
If I were a carpenter…,or a builder or woodworker
Title: The Architect, builder and woodworker. Publisher: New York [etc.] C.D. Lakey [etc.] 1868- Smithsonian Libraries Reference Number: NA1. A43 CHMRU   Builder and Wood-Worker Masthead. Vol. 18, no.2 Feb, 1882. NA1. A43 CHMRU The Cooper Hewitt Library collects a variety of trade periodicals, especially those dealing with architecture and the building trades. The Architect,...
Printing A Name
What is the importance of being able to place a name upon the things we create? Perhaps it gives one the ability to become more than just a faceless member of a crowd, to leave behind a mark of what they have made. Historically, women have often remained nameless with the things they create. This is...
Louie Louie
Louis Sullivan’s ornament can be appreciated on both a large scale—think Chicago’s Carson Pirie Scott building—and a small one—this cast iron doorplate. Having been removed from its original location during the mid-twentieth century, this doorplate is from Adler & Sullivan’s last commission, the Guaranty Building (now called the Prudential Building). The building became a National...