Somethings Wonderful This Way Came

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

Monday, August 22, 2011

Expanding My Knowledge Base

After a full year of study and documentation of Harwood Steiger textile designs, I thought I had a pretty good idea of just how many existed.  There is no definitive number of designs produced over the forty year history.  The records from the studio were lost and likely never existed to provide us with that kind of detailed information.  Harwood Steiger was not concerned with posterity.  He just loved creating and producing.  According to those who knew him, he was a bit of a workaholic and for fun and relaxation, he just worked more.  We are the beneficiaries of his focused efforts and last weekend, I learned that I have so much more to learn.

Accompanied by my husband and dog, we hit the road to Tubac Friday morning.  My intention was to work at Joan's house in the afternoon and still have time on Saturday to rummage through her boxes of packed away treasures.  Joan had a flood in her house a few years ago and all of her possessions were packed away by the flood clean up crew without accurately labeling the boxes.  So, I knew it was going to be a challenging and exhausting experience.  I was up for it, but Joan was not.  She wasn't feeling well on Friday, so we postponed our work session until Saturday afternoon when she might feel better. 

The delay was well worth the wait.  Joan led me to a back bedroom that was floor to ceiling with boxes.  Some were labeled, but most were not.  Right away, my Steiger sniffing nose led me straight to a barrel that had bolts of fabric in it.   Yes, that's right bolts!  Most were partial bolts with only a few yards on them, but some looked to have very large quantities of Harwood Steiger silk screened prints.  There were even bolts of unprinted fabric that Joan used as lining for the garments she made.  You couldn't get a better color match than that.  I pulled out the prints and stacked them against the wall in the living room. 

Returning to the bed room, I started peeking in each box, systematically moving it to the other side of the room when I discovered its contents.  On about the 12th box, I hit the jackpot.  The box was jam packed with 2-3 yard cuts of different fabrics!  Without looking further, I pulled the box out and carried it into the kitchen where Joan was working on a jig saw puzzle.  "Oh, good.  I knew there were some boxes of Steiger fabrics in there.  I'm glad you found one." 

One by one I pulled out the fabrics so that Joan and I could see them.  Most of the fabrics are in mint, pristine condition.  They are so crisp after 30 to 40 years with absolutely no loss of color.  Amazing.  As Joan looked through them, she pulled out a few to hold onto.  I can certainly understand that.  There were some pretty special pieces in there.  As Joan sorted them, I saw several designs that were totally new to me.  The box also contained some designs I'd seen pictures of, but not seen in person.  There were also color variations of designs familiar to me, but not in those color schemes.  All in all, this was a genuine treasure trove.  I didn't take the time to examine them right then.  I didn't want to keep Joan from resting.  She still wasn't feeling too well.  And, besides, I had limited room in the car to bring things back to Phoenix.  I should have left the husband and dog at home.  Taking my leave, I promised to measure and inventory the fabric for Joan before putting them up for sale.

Time was limited today as I caught up with neglected chores.  So, I only had time enough to photograph a few.  These are designs which are new to me and I would guess, pretty rare.  They are, in a word, exquisite.  I can't wait to examine them in detail and enhance my appreciation of Harwood Steiger design.

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