Tag Archives: Artists’ Textiles

Happy Bug Day, Warhol Print Skirt

When I spotted this super skirt on {the evil that is} Pinterest, I had a sinking feeling.  Sinking because I wanted this skirt, and it seems like 99.98 percent of the things I see on Pinterest that I want are sold.  I clicked through (thanks Karen, for making sure the links are always there) and there it was on Adored Vintage.  And yes, it had already sold.

So why did I want this particular skirt?  One of my smaller areas of collecting involves fabrics that were either influenced by art, or which were actually designed by artists.  In the case of this skirt, the fabric was designed by Andy Warhol in 1955.

I only know this because of my obsessive reading and rereading of Textile Design: Artists’ Textiles 1940-1976 by Geiff Rayner, Richard Chamberlain and Annamarie Phelps.  The book was published in 2012, and there is an exhibition currently at The Fashion and Textile Museum in London that is based in large part on the collections of the authors.

There is the bug print, in a different colorway, and a very similar print titled Happy Butterfly Day.  The bug print was based on a greeting card Warhol made in 1954.

Unfortunately, not a lot is known about the textiles Warhol designed in the 1950s.  For a man who was a collector of everything, he was a notoriously bad record-keeper when it came to business, not letting the people who worked with him even know for whom the designs were intended.

It was remembered by a Warhol associate that some of the fabrics were produced by Fuller Fabrics, who also did the Modern Masters line.  In 1955, Warhol was still a commercial artist, years away from being considered a “master.”

I hope the lucky buyer of this skirt loves it and treasures it.  I just wish it were me!

Thanks so much to Rodellee at Adored Vintage for the use of her photos.

21 Comments

Filed under Novelty Prints

Currently Reading – Artists’ Textiles 1940 – 1976

I’ve mentioned this book,  Artists’ Textiles 1940 – 1976by Geiff Rayner, Richard Chamberlain and Annamarie Phelps, several times and then I realized that I’ve neglected to review it.   I had seen the book advertised before it was released, but put it in the back of my mind, partly because the book was published in Britain.  Now I have nothing against British books, but my interests are chiefly American purely because this is where I am, and the things I find are usually of American manufacture.

But I got it on good authority that the book covered both British and American textiles, and so I ordered it.  And I’m glad I did.  The book is beautifully illustrated and well researched.  And while it did not answer all the questions I have about some of the art fabric productions, the authors did work to try and piece together the stories behind the fabrics.

Even though the bulk of the book features textiles from 1940 through 1976, there is an excellent introduction that gives the background of art textiles of the 20th century.   This 1914 robe was designed by artist Wyndham Lewis.

Two Salvador Dali scarves, manufactured by Wesley Simpson in 1947.

A 1950s North African or Arabian border print by Saul Steinberg, who was best known for his covers and cartoons for The New Yorker.   The book has some valuable information on the series of travel novelty border prints Steinberg produced with  “A Regulated Cotton – Never Misbehaves” in the selvage of the fabric.  There are still a lot of unknowns concerning these fabrics, mainly because Steinberg designed these while he was under agreement with another company.

This print by John Rombola is titled Circus.  1956, Patterson Fabrics

Les Maronniers, one of the Raoul Dufy prints that was produced by Fuller Fabrics for the Modern Masters series in 1955.

Here are two prints by Andy Warhol, Happy Bug Day and Happy Butterfly Day, mid to late 1950s.  The dress was featured in Glamour magazine, 1960, and was designed by Robert Sloan.

Also included in the book is a biography section that is quite useful, and a bibliography that serves to make one want to buy more books.

10 Comments

Filed under Currently Reading