Browsing articles in "American Textiles"

Mariska Karasz –

Mar 30, 2008 | 1 Comment


Titled “Skein” this print dates to 1952 and was designed by Mariska Karasz, a woman “among the pioneers of modern fiber arts in the 20th century.” I love its self referential / meta nature and also how wacky and off-kilter the whole composition is. I’m also surprised she did it for F. Schumacher as the company today seems rather staid and traditional (not that that’s a bad thing!).

Rosie Lee Tomkins –

Mar 19, 2008 | 2 Comments


Since my previous post featured a quilt with an unknown maker, here’s another impressive quilt with a known maker, Rosie Lee Tomkins. She’s a new name for me but is apparently quite well known. Here’s an article about her life, 1936-2006.

International Quilt Study Center –

Mar 18, 2008 | 2 Comments


I relish the New York Times‘ seasonal publication of their design magazine and was treated to their Spring 2008 issue this past Sunday. Inside, the image above accompanied a brief write-up by Stacie Stukin about the University of Nebraska’s International Quilt Study Center and Museum. It houses “the world’s only graduate program in quilt studies and the world’s largest collection of quilts.” Wow! Unfortunately nothing was included to describe this chevron stripe quilt so I can’t offer anything about date, origin or artist — except to say that it’s incredibly striking and timeless. Click here for the Museum’s website — maybe you’ll have better luck than me finding the image in their database.

Update: Thanks Megg for your comment and for finding the quilt on the site!
Zig Zag Result #: 1906
Quiltmaker: Maker unknown
Geographical Origin: Possibly made in Pennsylvania, United States
Date: Circa 1880-1900

Tammis Keefe –

Jan 30, 2008 | 3 Comments



Here’s another textile designer discovery for my files: Tammis Keefe. From what I’ve seen on-line, she produced a plethora of thematic (and quite whimsical) textile designs during the 1950’s, illustrating such subjects as: dragonflies, cats, santas, acrobats, lion trainers, chairs, bottle collections, etc.! While I didn’t know her name before this week, her patterns seem intimately familiar. I don’t know if this is a function of the direct scope of her own work or whether a slew of copy-cats were inspired by her designs. There seem to be a sizable array of Tammis Keefe hankies available for purchase, both on Ebay and at Ruby Lane. She also produced patterns for scarves and tea towels.

Molas –

Jan 6, 2008 | Leave a Comment



The New York Times website has an article in their travel section today about the San Blas Islands in Panama and the accompanying photos show some beautiful examples of the local “mola” textile tradition. Here’s the NYT’s subtitle for the top image, above: “A Kuna Indian woman at work on an intricately patterned mola. Molas, layered lengths of fabric intricately cut and sewn into various colors and designs, serve as blouses for Kuna women and prized souvenirs for tourists.” Below that, I’m including an image of a Mola shirt from the “Art of Being Kuna” exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian.

Japanese Boro Textiles –

Nov 9, 2007 | 5 Comments

Finding out about Japanese “Boro” textiles earlier this year was an exciting eye-opener for me — one of those moments when you’re reminded how different cultures can be wordlessly connected through the shared use (or even independent development of) similar visual motifs and artistic techniques. (Although I know many scholarly types warn that any cross-cultural comparisons are fraught with “eye of the beholder”-type danger.) I was able to see the 2002 (?) Whitney exhibition of quilts developed by the Gee’s Bend community in Alabama and was really into it at the time, although I now have more mixed feelings about the Gee’s Bend phenomenon, in part from seeing a documentary about the “discovery” of the quilts — their acceptance into and elevation by white culture, etc. (I’d love to find a really good critically written article about the subject). But that’s another topic altogether! What I’m really getting to is that in the same way I like many of the Gee’s Bends quilts I also like Japanese Boro textiles and am interested by the similarities between some of them — although I can only guess it’s completely coincidental. Above top: a Boro textile from Kathleen Taylor’s collection here in San Francisco. Below, a quilt by Lucy Mooney featured in The Quilts of Gee’s Bend (Tinwood Books).