By KIM COOK
Have you discovered midcentury-modern style and gone hunting for a great piece of furniture from the era?
Vintage pieces are pricey, and even well-made reproductions can challenge the bank account.
So while you’re saving up for that Eero Saarinen Womb settee or George Nelson Coconut chair, why not delve into the era through textiles?
Whether you’re intrigued by the idea of collecting original pieces, or just want to jazz up a pillow or a window with a great reproduction pattern, you’ll find lots of material out there.
Paul Macovsky, editorial director of Metropolis magazine, is working on a book about American midcentury-modern screen-printed fabrics.
“I’m drawn to screen-printed textiles from the 1940s, `50s and `60s,” he says. “During the post-war period, Americans looked to the future and were willing to embrace new, progressive things. A group of small, design-driven companies collaborated with designers, architects and artists to create beautiful, modern, abstract patterned fabrics. So if you can’t afford a painting by one of these artists, you could get a few yards of fabrics to make into pillows or hang as curtains.”
For Judith Gura, director of the design history program at New York School of Interior Design, the appeal of these textiles is their exuberance.
“They tend to be lively patterns, with fresh and often bright colors,” she says. “And in addition to looking right on midcentury furniture, they’re a fresh look for traditional pieces as well.”
She cautions those hunting for antique pieces: “The problem in looking for vintage textiles is that it’s difficult to find enough yardage to do much with them. … Genuine old material might be enough for a pillow or two, but something 50 to 60 years old might not stand up well for drapery or upholstery. Framed as wall art, they’re fine.”