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Textile, East Rivers

This is a Textile. It was designed by Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher and produced by TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc.. It is dated 2009 and we acquired it in 2011. Its medium is acrylic on slubbed silk and its technique is dragbox, plaided. It is a part of the Textiles department.

TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc., founded in 2006 by Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher, is an experimental textile hand-printing studio in the Harlem neighborhood of Manhattan. Tillett worked extensively in film, dance, and theater as a dramaturge, set, and lighting designer, in addition to creating installations. In 2000, he met Rauscher, a dancer and choreographer, and the two began collaborating on installations and performances involving graphics and textiles.
Tillett comes from a long line of English calico printers and grew up in his parents’ studio on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. His parents, D. D. (Doris) and Leslie Tillett, of Tillett Fabrics Inc., produced custom textiles for Jackie Kennedy’s White House restoration, style icon Babe Paley, and other influential clients. The Tilletts were also artists and experimenters and developed a number of unique printing techniques, such as the drag box—a handmade tool for creating stripes and plaids without the use of a screen. In 2003, Rauscher apprenticed herself to D. D. and ran Tillett Fabrics. Even after co-founding TAR, Rauscher has continued to print Tillett Fabrics designs at the request of the company’s longstanding interior design clients.
East Rivers employs the drag box technique invented by D.D. and Leslie Tillett, using a muted palette of transparent tones of pink, yellow, gray, and blue on slubbed silk. The design was created for a Brooklyn interior with panoramic views of the East River in an attempt to preserve the feeling of the sunset on the water when the curtains were closed.
Tillett and Rauscher use a range of techniques so hand-intensive—and produce results so unique—that their practice calls into question the use of the term "printing," which implies fast and cheap repetition. By creating tools and techniques with which the design is created directly on the fabric, the pair actively seeks to create non-repeating, non-repeatable patterns that embrace spontaneity and chance.

This object was donated by TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc.. It is credited Gift of Tillett and Rauscher, Inc..

  • Textile
  • 60% merino wool, 25% baby alpaca, 10% hand-loomed cashmere, 5% silk.
  • Courtesy ED by Ellen DeGeneres.
  • 28.2016.3

Its dimensions are

H x W: 180.3 x 106.7 cm (5 ft. 11 in. x 42 in.)

Cite this object as

Textile, East Rivers; Designed by Seth Tillett (American, b. 1955), Nicole Rauscher (German, b. 1979); Produced by TAR/Tillett and Rauscher Inc. (United States); USA; acrylic on slubbed silk; H x W: 180.3 x 106.7 cm (5 ft. 11 in. x 42 in.); Gift of Tillett and Rauscher, Inc.; 2011-33-3

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url= |title=Textile, East Rivers |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=30 March 2023 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>