I went to a Barbara Brown exhibition at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester last week. I was already quite familiar with her work, but seeing them up close and in the flesh I was completely blown away!
Seeing images of her designs in books or online can never do them justice. The sheer scale of the many op art patterns – 1¼ metres wide – make the mind boggle!
Originally from Manchester, Barbara Brown attended Canterbury College of Art and then on to the Royal College of Art. It was at her degree show in 1953 that she was discovered by Tom Worthington, Artistic Director of Heal’s. The rest, as they say, is history. She produced many designs for the company (where she was a contemporary of Lucienne Day) in her two-decade career with them. Her designs won the Council of Industrial Design (COID) award on three occasions.
You can usually find lengths of her fabrics (and ready made soft furnishings if your sewing skills are anything like mine) on eBay and Etsy.
Additional image credits:
Pinterest | V&A
Today’s Designer Desire choice is someone we’ve written about in the past. Tammis Keefe (1913-1960) was a prolific, mid century designer whose output was primarily in the textile sphere. Handkerchiefs, scarves, place mats, cocktail napkins, tablecloths and tea towels can all be found sporting her playful illustrations. There are hundreds of different designs in existence.
Her work is highly collectable was included in a 2000 exhibition at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York entitled A Woman’s Hand: Designing Textiles in America, 1945-1969. She’s also included in the book, Collecting Handkerchiefs.
There are always examples of her work available for sale online – mainly from the USA – on eBay and Etsy. Seeing as they weigh next to nothing, overseas postage shouldn’t add too much to the price of the item.
Etsy | Flickr
Image credit: Vintage Seekers
This amazing Aquarius pattern is from a sample of vintage fabric designed by Jacqueline Groag in the 1950s – it’s a design we’ve not seen before.
It forms part of the Designing Women: Post-War British Textiles exhibition currently on at the Fashion and Textile Museum in London (ends 16 June 2012).
The exhibition celebrates the work of, amongst others, Groag (1903-86), Lucienne Day (1917-2010) and Marian Mahler (1911-83).