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Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period (1991)

by Susan Meller, Ted Croner (Photographer), Ted Croner (Photographer), Joost Elffers

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268697,522 (4.67)None
Covering two hundred years of European and American fabric design from the late 18th to the late 20th century, Textile Designs presents a cross section of the printed materials that decorated our rooms and clothed our bodies. Most were the textiles of the common man. The cloth of everyday life - printed calicos, flowered cretonnes and chintzes, polka-dot silks and foulards, and the myriad "imposters" hoping to pass as costly damasks, brocades, tapestries, and embroideries. Textile Designs is illustrated with 1823 full-color examples organized by motif into more than 320 categories. Together, cumulatively, these patterns become individual words in a gigantic language of the visual imagination. This book is a kind of dictionary of that language. In Western fabric design, the parts of speech can be divided into Florals, Geometrics, Conversationals, Ethnics, and Art Movements and Period Styles - the subjects of the five chapters of this book. And each of these broad categories, or families, have been divided into many subcategories, such as Roses and Sprigs among the Florals; Chevrons and Herringbones among the Geometrics; Bubbles and Butterflies among the Conversationals; Americana and Chinoiserie among the Ethnics; Art Nouveau and Empire among the Art Movements and Period Styles. The successful textile designer seeks not to devise something never before imagined, but to create a variation on one of these preexisting themes (Or perhaps not even to do that - a quantity of any season's prints are frank borrowings from earlier designs.) It is the tool of the trade, the language that makes textile speech possible - why try to transcend it? So much can be said with a rose.… (more)
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  CathyLockhart | Sep 30, 2022 |
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  CathyLockhart | Sep 30, 2022 |
Carol Greenwald
  PTArts | Oct 6, 2021 |
As an avid fan of Victorian period clothing and decor I find this book indispensable. It contains so many beautiful examples that are carefully organized by style and most are given dates to the decade or even to the year. It's given me a much better understanding of when the many patterns that I recognize on modern shelves really originated (and a lot of them are earlier than I would have thought). ( )
  valleyviolet | Apr 18, 2010 |
The patterns in Textile Designs are from The Design Library in New York, which holds a collection of several million textiles and designs. They are organized by design family--floral, geometric, conversational, ethnic, and art movements and period styles. The families are further divided by motif, layout, color, printing techniques, and fabrication. Each pattern type is briefly described and each design is labelled by country: date; type of textile or other medium (such as the designer's original gouache on paper); printing process, intended use, and scale. Some of the designs were also used in the Giftwraps by Artists series.

The table of contents is conveniently laid out on two facing pages and the index is satisfyingly complete; the TOC and a brief introduction are printed in French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Japanese.

While intended for textile designers, Textile Designs is also useful as an illustrated dictionary (although not in dictionary form) for people who want examples of unfamiliar patterns. Everyone has seen a bandanna, but what are Indiennes, madders, or picotage?

It's also just fun for people like me who find designs and patterns enthralling. I find it more satisfying than a swatch book because it is more informative.

BTW, the patterns are also available in CD-ROM form (at about ten times the cost of the paperback edition). ( )
  IreneF | Dec 10, 2008 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Susan Mellerprimary authorall editionscalculated
Croner, TedPhotographermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Croner, TedPhotographermain authorall editionsconfirmed
Elffers, Joostmain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Covering two hundred years of European and American fabric design from the late 18th to the late 20th century, Textile Designs presents a cross section of the printed materials that decorated our rooms and clothed our bodies. Most were the textiles of the common man. The cloth of everyday life - printed calicos, flowered cretonnes and chintzes, polka-dot silks and foulards, and the myriad "imposters" hoping to pass as costly damasks, brocades, tapestries, and embroideries. Textile Designs is illustrated with 1823 full-color examples organized by motif into more than 320 categories. Together, cumulatively, these patterns become individual words in a gigantic language of the visual imagination. This book is a kind of dictionary of that language. In Western fabric design, the parts of speech can be divided into Florals, Geometrics, Conversationals, Ethnics, and Art Movements and Period Styles - the subjects of the five chapters of this book. And each of these broad categories, or families, have been divided into many subcategories, such as Roses and Sprigs among the Florals; Chevrons and Herringbones among the Geometrics; Bubbles and Butterflies among the Conversationals; Americana and Chinoiserie among the Ethnics; Art Nouveau and Empire among the Art Movements and Period Styles. The successful textile designer seeks not to devise something never before imagined, but to create a variation on one of these preexisting themes (Or perhaps not even to do that - a quantity of any season's prints are frank borrowings from earlier designs.) It is the tool of the trade, the language that makes textile speech possible - why try to transcend it? So much can be said with a rose.

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