Somethings Wonderful This Way Came

Somethings Wonderful This Way Came
1970's Vintage Caftan in At Play

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Being Blown Away

My "I'm a Harwood Steiger Addict" presentation in Tubac, AZ, yesterday went better than I could ever have expected.  About three dozen people showed up to hear about my collecting experience and to see my photos and fabrics.  Many present were Tubac residents and had been living there while the studio and shop were open.  They shared with me their own impressions and I gathered even more information about the Steigers.  One lovely little lady in particular, Jesse Alegria, actually worked for the Steigers for over 30 years.  She was so sweet and so kind.  I could not believe it when she gifted me with about 12 pieces of Steiger fabrics including tea towels,a  placemat, tablecloth, a dress panel and yardage.  She told me that in the closing days of the studio, Wanda Halbwachs (Sophie's sister) who ran the shop following Harwood's death, told her to take all she wanted or could use.  So, she has a lot of fabric at home and invited me to visit her and photograph whatever I needed for the book.  One fabric she gave me, Plaza, was new to me.  She explained all the various ways Harwood would use the basic screen, adding different background patterns and colors.  What an amazing and wonderful gift!  To me these are gems more precious than diamonds.


In addition to meeting and talking with the local folk, I had a chance to talk with the Manager of Museum Collections for the Arizona Historical Society, Laraine Daly Jones.  Ms. Jones heard the lament in my voice about not having any kind of Harwood Steiger exhibit in the state.  She suggested that we work together to develop a traveling exhibit.  Would that not be wonderful?  A real valid justification for my obsessive/compulsive acquisitions of Steiger fabrics.  I would love to share my collection with anyone who might be interested and a traveling exhibit just fits the bill.  I am truly and sincerely blown away!




Summer Flowers

Summer Rain



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Mining the Internet for New Steiger Gems

I'm a lot like you.  I troll the internet looking for ever more Harwood Steiger gems and I've come up with a few you might enjoy.  Etsy, the site for hand crafted items, has revealed some very charming creations utilizing Harwood Steiger fabrics.  One, which I found particularly appealing is this little girl's dress made using Mesquite and Palo Verde.  It is soooo sweet. If there was a special little girl in my life I would definitely spring for it.  Unfortunately, I have absolutely no excuse to buy it.  But, you might!

For those older girls who might really like a special Victorian style dress, there's this one.  It's made with what I know to be dress panels.  It's amazing how inventive and creative some people are.  It looks to be well made and the addition of wide black lace is lovely.  Too bad I'm no longer that tiny size.  I'd wear it!

Visit and search Harwood Steiger to see these gems (and maybe even buy them!).

Friday, November 15, 2013


During the last 24 hours I have been seriously cogitating over the development of my Harwood Steiger quilt.  I definitely will use Arizona Sketchbook.  But, I want to show case the sketches, and not compete with them, thereby diminishing their appearance in the quilt.  I also want to be faithful to the period, so, traditional quilt patterns and antique patterns are out.  I think I've come up with an approach that will work in a Mid Century Modern way.  I remembered that I have some unprinted fabric from the Steiger stash tucked away.  These are pieces that Joan had saved to line garments that she made.  They are the original, same fabric Harwood would use to print on, but remain void of any design today.  It is so hard to even think about cutting this fabric.  If I fail, there is no way to replace it.  So, I'll think about it some more.  And, some more. And, some more.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Cleaning Up the Fabric Warehouse

It's been a solid 8 months of steady quilting.  This year's Summer of Sibling Quilts, produced a quilt for each of my sisters (3) and brother.  Just finished one for my niece, too---not to mention a special quilt for my dear old friend, Susan.  So, things in the fabric warehouse were a true mess.  Instead of putting fabrics away after auditioning them, I just stacked them up.  Instead of filing away patterns and books, I just tossed them in the corner.  It wasn't laziness---just eager to get to the project.  I am now faced with a major task of setting things in order.

I started with my Harwood Steiger fabrics, first.  I took each of them out of the designated Harwood Steiger cabinet and began a careful examination of their condition.  Then, I carefully refolded them and replaced them where they belong.  My husband calls this, "Petting my fabric."  He's right, you know.  I love my Steiger fabrics.  They are so very, very beautiful.  After all this time, it still amazes me to see the vibrancy of the colors.  Sixty years later, the inks look as though they were just applied yesterday.  Since Steiger mixed his own colors, they are unusual for the period.  The base fabrics were good quality, so they are still fresh.  The designs are so different and varied.  I am often asked which is my favorite.  It's like asking a mother, who is your favorite child.  I have no favorite.  They are all precious to me. 

I think that 2014, will be the year in which I finally make my Harwood Steiger quilt.  I plan to use Arizona Sketchbook for this effort.  It kind of cries out asking to be made into a quilt.  The little "sketches" depict Arizona lives, monuments and activities.  I just have to figure out how to best use them without getting lost in the quilt design.  A challenge to be sure.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Still Acquiring

Some new and recent acquisitions worth seeing.

                                                                     Spanish Iron

Idyll in an interesting color
Canyon Detail

Showing and Telling

Recently, I was asked to put together a presentation on Harwood Steiger by a group celebrating historic modern design known as Modern Tucson.  I worked for about a month pulling together known facts and photos.  I titled it, "I AM A HARWOOD STEIGER ADDICT" and structured it loosely on an AA meeting.  It went pretty well.  People laughed in all the right spots and I got lots of applause when it was over.  Enthusiastic folks came dressed in their Steiger garments and others brought their treasured examples to share.  It made me so happy to meet other people who share an appreciation of Harwood Steiger's work and his genius designs.  When my husband and I got into the car, he looked me straight in the eyes and said, "You're a rock star----a real celebrity!"  Well, I wouldn't go that far, but I did feel pretty good about it.

The next day, we drove to Tubac and visited my friend, Nancy Valentine.  She is a tireless promoter of all things Tubac and suggested that the presentation be given again at the Presidio where locals are gearing up for events of cultural interest. Winter is, of course, the high tourist season here and lots of snow birds travel through.  I got on the schedule for a January date and will be presenting in the very town where Harwood Steiger had his studio and shop.  Now, that is truly thrilling.

Yesterday, I was contacted by Alison at Modern Phoenix, who had heard of my Tucson success and she invited me to present in April during their week long celebration.  I couldn't believe it!  Well, yes, I can.  There are so many Harwood Steiger collectors and enthusiasts spread around.  I am honored to help bring the work of this wonderful artist to light.  Incredibly, last night I was contacted by yet another Mid Century Modern Design enthusiast, Mashall Shore, who invited me to present again in November 2014, for Wear Arizona.  When I told my husband about it, he laughed and suggested that I find an agent.  He's so funny.

I am truly thrilled to be able to share my knowledge and love of Harwood Steiger with others.  It makes me feel like I am giving more life to his amazing career and keeping alive his genius.  If you find yourself in Tubac or Phoenix, please plan to attend.  I'll do my very best for you.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Mourning the Loss of a Friend

Sadly, yesterday I learned that my supporter, contributor and friend, Joan Tesch passed away.  Joan was the niece of Harwood and Sophie Steiger, and the steward of the last cache of Harwood Steiger fabrics.  I am heartbroken to learn that she passed away without having had the opportunity to say goodbye.  I planned several trips to visit her last Spring, but she put me off saying that she just didn't feel up to it.  In retrospect, I should have simply driven down to see her.  But, I respected her wishes and stayed away.  I'll miss you Joan.  You were an inspiration to me and a good friend.  You will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Honoring Harwood Steiger

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, I will be giving a presentation to an open audience of the Tucson Historic Foundation Society entitled, "I'm a Harwood Steiger Addict".  It is a tremendous honor to be included in this three day program on modernism.  The presentation is open to the public and free.  It will run for about an hour and contain 100 photographs of Steiger fabrics, as well as, a slide show of 500 additional photos during the question and answer period.  For more information, please visit:  My presentation begins at 2 PM.  If you are in the area, I hope you will join me in celebrating this amazing and prolific artist.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Returning to Blogging

It's been such a long time since I developed a post for the blog!  So sorry.  I fell victim to "frozen shoulder" this summer and it is only in the last few weeks that I've fully regained the use of my left arm.  Enough of that.  Just sorry if I you thought I'd disappeared.

A few months ago, Demion Clinco put together a Tucson PBS segment on Harwood Steiger.  I introduced him to Joan, the Steiger niece, and he visited her, taking away personal impressions, information and examples of Steiger's brilliant talent.  I'm hoping Demion will share with me the segment so that we can post it here.  We'll see.

There is growing interest in collecting Steiger fabrics.  Now, if you go to Ebay, you'll find that the prices have more than doubled over a few years ago.  Some sellers, I fear, don't really understand the items and place way over the top prices on them.  One of the things that got me collecting in the first place was the affordability of these practical pieces of art.  Now, I have to be very selective in purchasing, and only buy new designs of which I don't own any example.  Even then, I get kind of particular.  My husband says that I have single handedly driven up the prices.  I laugh at that, of course.  There are hundreds of folks who collect these Arizona icons and thousands more with interest.  My blogs stats tell me that we've had 3,500 visitors.  A small number by commercial standards, but impressive for a single topic blog.  Keep coming back.  I promise more great new photos.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Quilting is what I normally do.  So, when I saw these two quilts listed on Ebay, I had to capture them for posterity.  It appears that they were both made by the same person using similar fabrics to complement the Steiger designs.  One uses a section of the border print, Six Quails.  Incidentally, I just made a two piece dress out of a deep teal and black Six Quails.  But, it's already packed for the trip to Oregon tomorrow.  I'll post it when I get back.  The other quilt is made with a dress panel.  It's an interesting use for these Steiger pieces.  If you are interested in acquiring either of these, log on to Ebay and search for Harwood Steiger.  You will find the two quilts and a scant few other examples.  Just thought you'd like to see these interesting uses of Steiger prints.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


During the last few months, I have collected a number of images that fall into the miscellaneous Harwood Steiger category.  Some of these images come from my daily diligent searches on Ebay.  Others, I just happened across.  These items are not something I would necessarily be interested in owning, but they are worthy of documentation.  Unfortunately, the information is limited and ownership unknown.  So, I'll just let the images speak for themselves. 

First, here's a great square dance ensemble that made my eyes pop out.  Can you imagine how much fabric went into making this?  Ironically, it is made in the fabric called, Square Dance.  It's a beauty.  It was offered on Ebay, but didn't sell.  So, the owner either still has it, or sold it off-line.

This is called, Spices.  no doubt, Sophie Steiger, a wonderful cook and gifted herbalist, had something to do with the creation of this design.  It is the only example of Spices I've ever seen and it sold on Ebay.  It was a rather small piece of fabric as I recall.

This amazing beauty is a table cloth, the likes of which I've never seen and don't know anything about.  It is so breathtakingly beautiful!  I love the color, composition and subject matter.  It is very unlike any Steiger table cloth I've found and were it not for the signature in the corner, I'd be hard pressed to identify it as a Harwood Steiger work.  It, also was offered on Ebay and sold for a fortune.

I love this example of Out West.  The color is fabulous.  It was also offered on Ebay and sold for more than I could ever afford.  If I recall correctly, it was a four yard piece.

I just thought you might enjoy seeing these wonderful examples.  It is my custom to use my own items on the blog.  But, every once in a while, something absolutely wonderful comes to light and merits inclusion.

Monday, June 11, 2012


Seven Cities of Cibola
The extreme Arizona Summer heat has arrived in full force.  Whew!  It compels me to seek refuge indoors with sedentary tasks that have gone ignored in recent months.  Among them is this blog.  (I didn't mean to ignore it for so long.)  Another happy activity is sewing.  I took the time, and found the courage to cut, and make another Harwood Steiger dress, using Seven Cities of Cibola in an electric lime green with dark blue printing.  Joan, Harwood's niece, had made a gift of this fabric last year when I exclaimed about the color.  I love it!  After seeing my dress, Joan told me that somewhere she has a man's Western style shirt also piped in dark blue that she made long ago.  She's going to send it to me when she finds it so that my husband and I can offer a striking picture in our matching clothes! I always clip the Steiger labels from the selvage and sew them into the garment.  Should someone inherit my collection, I want them to know exactly which treasure it is. 

Luckily, again, someone reading this blog has contacted me and offered Harwood Steiger treasures found in her mother's stash.  They were designs which were totally new to me.  Both are abstracts and not obviously traditional Steigers.  But, Caravan and Scheherazade are clearly in Steiger's distinctive abstract style.  Scheherazade is lively, fanciful and fun.  Executed in hot pink and medium brown ink on ivory colored fabric, it has lots of spirals, lattice designs, and tent shapes.  It calls to mind tents billowing on desert sands.  I think Sophie Steiger exactly captured the mood of this fabric in naming it.  The piece is generously sized, so I think I'll just set it aside for a while and wait for inspiration.

Caravan is a very complex design.  It flows from tightly detailed areas to open areas, punctuated with floating elements.  It is very, very interesting and contains many varied design elements such as balloons, shields, faces, webs, plants and a whole lot more.  Caravan is printed in hot pink and black inks on a medium pink background.  It is truly unique among Steiger designs and hard to categorize, other than to say it is an abstraction and highly stylized.  Again, this a generously sized piece of fabric, so I have lots of options when considering how best to use it.  People who know me will attest that pink is not a color I often select.  But, there is nothing girly-girly about these Harwood Steiger fabrics.  And, I must add that I am thrilled to have them in my collection. 

These two new Harwood Steiger designed fabrics underscore an important fact:  There is no way of ever knowing how many Harwood Steiger designs exist.  If only someone had kept records over the years!  If you have any Steiger fabric treasures, please, please send me pictures.  You just may be hoarding one I've never seen!  Contact me here and we'll take it from there.

Hope your Summer days are filled with images of our beautiful Sonoran Desert courtesy of Harwood Steiger fabrics.