Object Timeline

1940

  • Work on this object began.

2016

  • We acquired this object.

2017

2023

  • You found it!

Curtain, Checkered Flower

This is a Curtain. It was designed by Barbara Warren and printed by Milwaukee Handicraft Project and made for The Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project. It is dated 1940 and we acquired it in 2016. Its medium is cotton and its technique is hand block printed. It is a part of the Textiles department.

The Milwaukee Handicraft Project's block printing unit developed as an off-shoot of the bookbinding unit, when the designers there decided to decorate their book covers with linoleum block prints. This quickly evolved into the creation of printed yardage. Barbara Warren was among the graduates of the Milwaukee Teacher's College art department who served as designer/ foremen, drawing patterns to be carved into linoleum blocks and printed by the workers. The artists strongly felt that the project should not simply provide work, but should elevate the appreciation of good design among both the workers and the clients who purchased the products. Samples of the printed textiles were also used to educate high school and college students about design.
Since WPA projects were charged with stimulating the economy while not competing with private industry, the primary clients for these goods were publicly-funded institutions, including schools and hospitals. The project created model rooms to display their selection of woven and printed textiles, rugs, draperies, and furniture items, and published a 90-page catalogue for national distribution. The block-printed fabrics sold for 70 cents per yard, and hung as curtains in many Wisconsin schools.

This object was donated by American Textile History Museum. It is credited American Textile History Museum Collection.

Its dimensions are

H x W: 309.9 × 80.6 cm (10 ft. 2 in. × 31 3/4 in.)

Cite this object as

Curtain, Checkered Flower; Designed by Barbara Warren (American); Printed by Milwaukee Handicraft Project; Made for The Works Progress Administration, Federal Art Project (United States); cotton; H x W: 309.9 × 80.6 cm (10 ft. 2 in. × 31 3/4 in.); American Textile History Museum Collection; 2016-35-92

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108711729/ |title=Curtain, Checkered Flower |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=27 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>