Somethings Wonderful This Way Came

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

Friday, February 18, 2011

Discovering Harwood Steiger

A few years ago, right after moving to Arizona, I discovered Harwood Steiger. It was an accident, really.  I wasn't seeking to add yet one more obsession to my life.  I already had indigo fabrics, quilting, arts and my furry friends.  But, as luck would have it, while indulging a existing addiction, I found another. I conducted a search on Ebay one day for indigo fabric, as was my daily custom, and up popped a charming little white linen table cloth with saguaro, roadrunners and other cactus printed in indigo colored ink.  How sweet, I thought.  As a newcomer to the desert, I simply had to have it.  So, I bid and I won.  When my Ebay item arrived, I smiled.  It made me happy and connected me to the landscape in which I now lived.  To my surprise, the design was signed, "Harwood Steiger".  Well, I thought, I wonder who that is.  I spread the tablecloth in the dining room and walked away, quite pleased with my very Arizona acquisition.

Every day thereafter, as I walked through the dining room, I'd stop and admire that little cloth and finally, curiosity got the best of me.  I had to know, Who is Harwood Steiger?  I was surprised when an internet search turned up information on an artist named Harwood Steiger who had paintings in the Whitney Museum and who also had painted a significant mural in Alabama.  There was no mention of any Harwood Steiger, textile designer.  I didn't think they could be the same artist, as the painting styles were radically different from my tablecloth.  Shrugging, I left my initial internet search and got busy with quilting.  Only since then, my daily Ebay searches included Harwood Steiger.  I wondered if there were any other textiles produced under this name. 

It didn't take too terribly long before another Steiger item appeared on Ebay.  This time, it was yardage in an overall design.  Hmmmmm.  You guessed it.  Had to have it.  When this item arrived, I was thrilled.  WOW!  This was a mid century modern design very unlike the cactus tablecloth and very unlike the paintings. The colors were bright, like it was made yesterday. On the selvage, the same Harwood Steiger signature appeared with the word, "Flair."  Well, I thought, this has got to be the same guy.  There must be two Harwood Steigers:  a painter and a textile designer.  So, I went back to the internet and this time, there was a listing for Harwood Steiger Studios in Tubac, AZ.  That had to be the one.  The only problem was, the studio no longer existed and there were no Steigers in the Tubac phone book.  Phooey!  I decided I didn't have time to waste looking into dead quilting was screaming at me.  As it turns out, my quilting was turning over its place of prominence without me even knowing it.  An obsession was in the making.

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