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Object Timeline

1950

  • Work on this object began.

1959

  • Work on this object ended.

2015

2020

  • You found it!

Tablecloth And Napkins, Fish, 1950–1959

This is a Tablecloth and napkins. It was designed by D.D. Tillett and Leslie Tillett. It is dated 1950–1959 and we acquired it in 2015. Its medium is linen and its technique is plain weave, wax-resist applied with silk screen, hand-pulled stripes applied with drag box. It is a part of the Textiles Department department.

The Tillett Cold Wax System was one of the techniques Jack Lenor Larsen covered in detail in his 1969 book, The Dyer’s Art. Leslie Tillett explained, “I began serious research on a screen-printable resist material about three years after arriving in this country in 1947… I was after a formula or substance that would easily print through a conventional screen, would dry quickly (but not before five minutes as it would clog the screen), and above all would resist dye and pigment overlays.” Through his interest in ceramic decoration, he came across Mobilcer A, a cold liquid wax used by ceramists as a resist against overglazes. A paraffin wax/ petroleum blend, the compound met his needs in every way.
To create this tablecloth and napkins, the Mobilcer A was applied through a silkscreen. Ink was hand-applied over the wax with a drag box, with the color bands overlapping to give a subtle, irregular stripe of charcoal and black. While the crackle effect associated with traditional wax batik does not occur, bubbles could form, an effect showcased in the striped border.

This object was donated by Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher. It is credited Gift of Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher.

Its dimensions are

H x W (tablecloth): 127 x 128.3 cm (50 in. x 50 1/2 in.) H x W (napkin): 40.6 x 42.2 cm (16 in. x 16 5/8 in.) H x W (napkin): 76.2 x 42.2 cm (30 in. x 16 5/8 in.) H x W (napkin): 42.5 x 41.3 cm (16 3/4 x 16 1/4 in.)

It is signed

dd and leslie TILLETT

Cite this object as

Tablecloth And Napkins, Fish, 1950–1959; Designed by D.D. Tillett and Leslie Tillett; USA; linen; H x W (tablecloth): 127 x 128.3 cm (50 in. x 50 1/2 in.) H x W (napkin): 40.6 x 42.2 cm (16 in. x 16 5/8 in.) H x W (napkin): 76.2 x 42.2 cm (30 in. x 16 5/8 in.) H x W (napkin): 42.5 x 41.3 cm (16 3/4 x 16 1/4 in.); Gift of Seth Tillett and Nicole Rauscher; 2015-16-13-1/4

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/35460917/ |title=Tablecloth And Napkins, Fish, 1950–1959 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=28 May 2020 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>