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