Friday, October 3, 2014

Textile and printing history in Rhode Island

Classroom in the Textile, Fashion Merchandising
and Design school at URI.
"If you're not home on your birthday, it doesn't count." 

I like this concept. With enough annual out-of-town excursions, you can be at least a decade younger than what your driver's license indicates. And it's as good a justification as any for taking a trip, don't ya think?

So, L and I spent our birthday week visiting 11 lighthouses and other sites in the smallest state of the union, Rhode Island. In addition to lighthouses, Rhode Island is rich in textile history and it abounds in art and design exhibits and venues. Inspiration and visual eye candy are everywhere!

One of the original 13 colonies, Rhode Island is 37 miles east to west and 48 miles from north to south, so it doesn't take a lot of driving from one border to another to see the state. Our points of interest included the University of Rhode Island Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design School, the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD),  Griswold Textile Print, the former Cranston Print Works plant, and several of Guy Fieri's [of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives fame] restaurant recommendations along with a visit with our buddy, Fred, who lives in Warwick.

Above is one of the classrooms at the Textile, Fashion Merchandising and Design School at University of Rhode Island in Kingston, RI. Doesn't it remind you of the workroom in Project Runway? The current textile exhibit, "The Other White Dress," was on display in the first floor Textile Gallery at Quinn Hall.
"The Other White Dress" textile exhibit, Quinn Hall.
We caught the end of a freshman orientation tour of the Historic Textile and Costume Collection while in Quinn Hall. The school's library also houses a special Commercial Pattern Archive of 40,000+ paper patterns for clothing from mid-19th century to the present time.
"The Other White Dress" textile exhibit at URI
After the visit at URI, we headed to Westerly, RI in the southwest corner of the state. This is the home to Griswold Textile Print, one of the last remaining US hand-printing textile mills. Griswold has been in business since 1937 and does high-end custom screen print work—by hand. The craftsmanship, artistry and expertise needed to consistently lay down and register multi colors on 50" to 60" wide textiles is phenomenal.
Griswold Textile Print plant, Westerly, RI
When I asked how many colors can be screen printed on a single fabric, Josh, the employee that manages the remnant store, said he was involved with printing a 32-screen print design when he was in the production department. It was a very custom job, as you can imagine.
Griswold remnant store.
The remnant store at the Griswold is small, with limited hours of operation, but the designer prints are a delight to behold. The remnants—rejects or cast-offs from print runs or test runs—can be purchased by the public. The fabrics printed are primarily for home dec, draperies, furniture and accessories, so are of a heavier weight that quilting cottons but the fiber content is primarily natural fibers—cotton, cotton/linen blends or 100% linen. There were one or two polyesters that were for outdoor uses.
Assorted cotton and linen screen printed remnants.
I did pick up a few assorted remnant bundles to bring home (above). The photo below shows the edge of a design—or print repeat, as it is called—as it is set up for printing registration. The next screen print must register (line up) with the image of the previous screen print so the pattern on the fabric looks continuous.
The edge of the image repeat.
From Griswold, we drove to the coast to board a ferry for the lighthouse tour. So, I'll stop here, for now, and leave you with one of the many tiny lighthouses we saw on the Rhode Island Lighthouse Harbor Tour.
Dutch Island lighthouse.
Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...