Posts Tagged ‘textiles’

Creative Collections: Bobbins

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

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collection of vintage bobbins and spools of thread

What a load of old bobbins! :-)  Welcome to the second of our new series of Creative Collections posts.

collection of vintage bobbins

We love these old mill bobbins and think they make a lovely display for a craft room or similar. All the different shapes, sizes & materials work really well together to form an interesting collection.

collection of vintage bobbins from above

We’re in the right part of the world to pick them up, but they’re getting harder & harder to find – especially the brightly coloured ones with their original paint.

collection of vintage bobbins with string and threads

A single, large bobbin is great for storing ribbon or twine. It will earn its keep while you hunt for others!

Tammis Keefe teatowel

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

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detail from a Tammis Keefe teatowel with red & white hearts and the words, "Home is where the heart is"

We’ve long admired the designs of Tammis Keefe. No relation to Justin, although you may not have to go too far back in history before their family trees meet. It’s interesting that her middle name was Thomas – and her father’s name was Thomas – and that she adopted the name Tammis which we think is a Gaelic form of Thomas. Justin has the same marked tradition of Thomas Keefes & O’Keeffes in his family. Father, grandfather, great grandfather, great-great grandfather – stretching back to the 18th century.

Tammis Keefe teatowel with red & white hearts and the words, "Home is where the heart is"

Anyway, we’ve promised ourselves an example of Tammis Keefe’s work many times and it arrived recently. It’s very dangerous buying that first piece as it can be the start of a mad collecting frenzy. We’ve resisted for years, but this gorgeous “Home is where the heart is” tea towel was just the final straw! We had this piece shipped over from the States where most examples are to be found. It will look great when framed and be perfect for the kitchen wall – combining a vintage touch with warm sentiments. There’s also something very Christmassy about it so we might even save it for festive season appearances.

Tammis Keefe teatowel showing her signature

Tammis Keefe was born Margaret Thomas Keefe in Los Angeles in 1913 and, after initially studying maths at college, transferred to the Chouinard Institute of Art where she studied painting. Her early career was spent at Disney Studios – she then moved onto the influential Arts & Architecture periodical. Then followed a spell in the studio of textile artist Dorothy Liebes who was well known for developing the work of young designers. This was obviously a significant move with regards to her future career.

detail from a Tammis Keefe teatowel with red & white hearts

Her work from the 40s & 50s is very distinctive – full of wonderful graphic detail, colour, charm & wit. It was used on a great variety of home furnishing textiles, tea towels, place mats, napkins & handkerchiefs. Also clothing, crockery & glassware, wallpaper, stationery, product advertising & packaging. Sadly, she died relatively young in 1961, but has left such a wonderful legacy. And we’re pretty sure that this won’t be the last piece we acquire!

Here’s a list of further reading and examples of her work:

NWFestival | Making it Fun | Tammis Keefe | Flickr group

Tuesday Huesday: Ampersand Design Studio

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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Selection of Ampersand Design Studio fabrics available on the Hawthorne Threads website

I discovered Ampersand Design Studio’s Cream and Sugar range via the Hawthorne Threads webshop and immediately fell in love!

I had my Bernina sewing machine serviced recently but alas it’s been lying dormant ever since. This fabric is just the thing to make me get off my proverbial and get creating!

Bookmarks: Jacqueline Groag: Textile and Pattern Design: Wiener Werkstatte to American Modern

Saturday, June 1st, 2013

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cover of Jacqueline Groag: Textile and Pattern Design: Wiener Werkstatte to American Modern surrounded by antique wooden bobbins

It’s been a while since we did a Bookmarks blog – we have a trio of textile design books to review – the first being Jacqueline Groag: Textile and Pattern Design: Wiener Werkstatte to American Modern.

portrait of Jacqueline Groag

We did a very short taster blog post about Jacqueline Groag last year but we’re going to delve a bit deeper here and share many more examples of her fabulous work.

Jacqueline Groag design for David Whitehead and used at the Festival of Britain in 1951

Many of the plates in the book are taken from the vast collection (over 300 examples of post-war British design) of Jill A. Wiltse and H. Kirk Brown III who are customers of authors, Rayner & Chamberlain’s Target Gallery. As well as Groag they have extensive examples of the work of Robin & Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Evelyn & Jerome Ackerman and other post-war, mid century modern artists & designers.

Two Jacqueline Groag designs using urn motifs

The collection formed part of the exhibition Designing Women of Postwar Britain which toured the Fashion and Textile Museum London; Michigan State University; Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs and Textile Museum in Washington.

Jacqueline Groag design of columns and urns

Groag was a very versatile and prolific designer; her textile designs included dress fabrics, upholstery material and carpet. She designed on paper – wrapping paper, wallpaper, magazines and even playing cards; and from the 1950s, her designs were used in plastic laminates for use in furniture such as tabletops and cabinets.

Jacqueline Groag cover design for "Design Magazine"

She’s been associated with may big companies and organisations. If you’ve ever taken public transport in the UK you’ll probably have seen her work. She designed for BOAC, London Transport and British Rail…

Jacqueline Groag design for Associated American Artists London Underground upholstery designed by Jacqueline Groag

…her designs were retailed by the likes of Liberty, John Lewis, David Whitehead Ltd

Jacqueline Groag design for David Whitehead inspired by her Festival of Britain design

…they were published within and on the covers of magazines such as The Ambassador and Interiors Magazine…

Jacqueline Groag design for "Ambassador" Magazine

…and she was commissioned by greetings card companies such as Oxfam, Hallmark and American Greetings.

Jacqueline Groag design for Oxfam Christmas cards Jacqueline Groag Jacqueline Groag hearts design for valentine card

Much of her work is very distinctive with many of her designs encompassing fine-lined grid patterns and simple, stylised human forms.

Jacqueline Groag bird design showing fine-lined grid patterns Jacqueline Groag design showing fine-lined grid patterns and simple, stylised human forms
Jacqueline Groag bird design showing fine-lined grid patterns Jacqueline Groag design showing fine-lined grid patterns and simple, stylised human forms

Her designs were inspired by colour and nature and also by Austrian folk art dolls the latter’s whose influence appears frequently in her work over the years.

Jacqueline Groag design inspired by Austrian folk art dolls Jacqueline Groag design inspired by Austrian folk art dolls

If we’ve sparked your interest there are a few more examples to be found in the V&A’s Jacqueline Groag archive.

Jacqueline Groag design inspired by Austrian folk art dolls

And if you happen to be in the vicinity, there’s currently an exhibition of her work taking place in Denver from 19 May to 22 Sept ’13.

Jacqueline Groag's monochrome "Cleo" textile design

As well as the publishers, the book is available online from Hive and Amazon.

[Many thanks to Antique Collectors’ Club for the review copy]

Bookmarks: Miller’s Mid-Century Modern

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

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"Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller surrounded by vintage Mid-century modern homewares including a West German fat lava vase, bright orange pedestal cigarette lighter, small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl and still life oil painting

In today’s Bookmarks post we’re taking a peek at Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design by Judith Miller.

title page of "Mid-Century Modern" by Judith Miller with a small Cathrineholm enamelware Lotus bowl

Well, a bit more of a peek really , as we linger over some of the wonderful pieces on display!

interior view of the mid-century modern design Kauffman House sitting room

Mid-century modern is one of our favourite eras for interior design, illustration, textiles and product design…

Arne Jacobsen "Ant" and "Swan" chairs

…so as the pages turned, there was a soundtrack of many oohs and ahhs!

selection of vintage Mid-Century Modern glassware including a kingfisher blue "Drunken Bricklayer" vase designed for Whitefriars by Geoffrey Baxter

Judith Miller is most famous for her all-encompassing antiques & collectables guides which are published annually.

collection of colourful West German "Fat Lava" pottery pots and vases

In recent years, they’ve include an ever-increasing number of 20th century pieces in response to interest & demand.

collection of GPlan furniture including a nest of pebble tables and "Butterfly" chairs designed by Lucian Ercolani

This book concentrates solely on mid-century modern – 1950s to the 1970s being the period generally accepted.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases

A wonderful introductory chapter covers its evolution and influential designers.

collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs including examples designed by Charles and Ray Eames and Carlo di Carli

The movement perfectly encapsulated a new mood of optimism after the war years with revolutionary designs, materials & techniques.

collection of vintage mid-century modern pop art chairs including examples designed by Egon Eiermann and Günter Beltzig

The fresh ideas, and indeed disposable income, of a whole new generation began to soar.

vintage mid-century modern chair designed by Eero Saarinen and folding cube radio designed by Richard Sapper

There are examples of houses & interiors that encapsulate the era – less cluttered and designed for modern living.

vintage mid-century modern George Nelson "Spike" wall clock, Tommi Parzinger-designed sideboard and mahogany credenza and aluminium armchair designed by Harvey Probber

A broad array of objects are included, with chapters given over to furniture, lighting, glass, ceramics, metalware & textiles.

collection of vintage mid-century modern glass vases produced by Riihimaki of Finland

In addition, an extensive section covers the people responsible for these wonderful & iconic designs.

collection of vintage mid-century modern fabric

There are about 200 familiar & not so familiar names who are given a short, individual write up.

Mid-Century Modern text

We’ll just scratch the surface by mentioning Arne Jacobsen, Verner Panton, Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto, Robert Welch, Stig Lindberg, Lucienne Day, Per Lutken, Charles & Ray Eames.

view of a sitting room with black Barcelona chairs and sofas

The book is packed with quality, full colour photographic references throughout…

vintage "Valentine" typewriter designed by Ettore Sottsass, Peter and Alison Smithson chair and Ronald Stennett-Wilson green glass candlestick

…and as with all Miller’s guides – estimated values to accompany each item image.

vintage mid-century modern Marcel Breuer reclining chair and Holmegaard "Gulvase" designed by Otto Brauer

There’s also a useful directory included of international dealers and their contact details – broken down into categories such as ceramics, glass, furniture, lighting etc.

collection of American-designed vintage mid-century modern furniture

As well as auctions & fairs and museums if you fancy going to see or sometimes handle wares in the flesh

vintage mid-century modern posters by Saul Bass and Herbert Bayer

The book is well researched and accessible – a perfect coffee table browser or excellent source book for your library.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramic pots, vases and plaques

Mid-Century Modern – living with mid-century modern design is available from the publishers Octopus, Amazon and Hive.

collection of vintage Scandinavian mid-century modern ceramics designed by Stig Lindberg

[Many thanks to Octopus for the review copy]