KW Goes to the Cooper Hewitt

As you may have seen on our instagram, last Friday Kate and I went on a little field trip to New York to see the Dorothy Liebes exhibit at the Cooper Hewitt. We had a great day (in spite of being two Massachusetts girls who don't love New York).

Dorothy Liebes was a prolific American textile designer, weaver, and trendsetter. Her designs had a profound influence across many fields, helping to shape American tastes in areas from interiors and transportation to industrial design, fashion, and film. The “Liebes Look” - which combined vivid color, lush texture, and often a glint of metallic - became inextricably linked with the American modern aesthetic.

Though Kelbourne focuses on knitting, we all actually started as weavers and still weave to this day.

I love Dorothy Liebes for her use of color and unexpected materials. I first learned about her work when I was getting my Masters in Textile Design at Jefferson, where the Design Center has many of Liebes textiles in their collection. Seeing the textiles up close was a great reminder that experimenting with color and materials that are out of your comfort zone can have beautiful results. I am a die hard wool yarn girl, but seeing her use of novelty yarns like chenille and metallic lurex made me want to dig in the back of my yarn cabinet to see what I could find. Kate and I were also drooling over the color combinations and beautiful displays of yarn.

We often get weavers in our retail store asking about weaving with our yarns. I always enthusiastically tell them "yes, you can!!!". Cricket is one of my favorite weaving yarns for both warp and weft, I've also used both Mojave and Skipper for beautiful table linens. The exhibit has us cooking up some future woven or woven inspired collections (overshot anyone?!).

I took a picture of this sweet weaver at her loom in the Dorothy Liebes studio, I felt a kinship with her. It's a nice reminder of how connected all of us who make things with yarn are.

The exhibit is closed now, but there are beautiful images online of Liebes' work and a beautiful book of the exhibition. I got myself the book as a treat and I've been looking through it and getting all sorts of ideas! Have any of you woven with Kelbourne yarns? We'd love to hear about it!