National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Shaker Man's Handkerchief Shaker Man's Handkerchief
Rendered by George Constantine (artist), c. 1936
watercolor, graphite, and pen and ink on paper
overall: 20.4 x 25.3 cm (8 1/16 x 9 15/16 in.)
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Textiles from the Index of American Design
Object 1 of 17

In colonial times, the home was the center of textile production, which began with the sowing of seed for flax and the raising of sheep for wool. Long hours were spent in preparing the fibers, spinning them into yarn, dyeing or bleaching the yarn, and then weaving the fabrics needed to clothe family members and to provide the basic material for bedding and other household articles. Home-woven fabrics, like this piece of linen, were called homespun, and were generally plain in weave. Although early fabrics were often of only one color -- being woven from either bleached linen or wool, or from yarns dyed with colors derived from common garden plants and trees -- some American women enlivened their products by using combinations of colored yarns to produce handsome designs. Simple geometric patterns could be created on home looms; thus, striped or checked designs, as seen here, are a common feature of homespun fabric.

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