Welcome everybody to a new addition of Middleburg Folk Art Studio called The Barn of Middleburg “Barn of Middleburg!”
This new Etsy shop will feature vintage and antique items for your office, garden, and home! One of the most interesting pieces we have gathered is a Tammis Keefe ladies’ handkerchief from the 1950s!
Designed by Tammis Keefe, this handkerchief is adorned with sunshine yellow birds in their aviary, faded gray feathers, all in front of an ice skating rink against a royal blue background at New York City Central Park Zoo with a gray outline.
The handkerchief is 100% linen.
When we first purchased the handkerchief, we thought it’s hip retro colors and its’ “artsy” illustration were enough for us to love it, but we have been doing some research…
Apparently, it is a piece in a collection that’s over 200 pieces by a talented New York City 50’s textile designer Miss Tammis Keefe.
Originally born in Los Angeles, CA back in 1913, Tammis Keefe travelled to New York City to help run a new textile studio her employer was opening in the mid 1940s. Well, we all know that even today making it in the “Big Apple” isn’t easy, and while Keefe was there, she began to pick up freelance work from big department store names like Lord and Taylor and Kimball. At first she was commissioned to design just ladies scarves. Pretty soon though, Keefe found herself designing linen kitchen towels, tablecloths, cocktail napkins, and handkerchiefs. Keefe passed away in 1960 after an long term illness, but is considered one of the most prolific textile designing women of the 40s-60s.
Many of her designs contain animals and nature, but it’s the obvious attention to color that truly makes each one individual and stand out. Looking around on some Tammis Keefe blogs/bloggers, and a flicker page, we have found several designs of: owls, butterflies, horses, flowers, plants, holidays, and cities.
“Whenever possible I like to introduce the three dimensional in prints. I like “depth” in a fabric. I also like the introduction of current objects treated artistically. Warm colors are my favorites – beige, tan, brown with the addition of some cool color for relief.”
Tammis Keefe, 1948, quoted in American Fabrics
Although, Keefe did extensive traveling throughout Europe, there are a lot of wonderful handkerchiefs representative of American cities like our “New York City Central Park Zoo”. Among its cousins are “Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution (as it titled back in the 1950s), “New York’s Greenwich Village,” “New York’s Washington Square,” “New York’s Rockefeller Center,” “San Francisco’s Grant Ave/Chinatown,” “San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf,” “California’s San Gabriel Mission,” etc. Another thing that speaks about the palettes of Miss Keefe are that there are several color ways of the same image.
What’s unique about ours, is that we have not been able to locate a “Central Park” handkerchief in the same color way, which we believe, makes it pretty rare.
We think it would make a splendid pillow top cover or a decorative framed wall hanging somewhere in your home!
Be sure to check out our new items daily, as we will be posting more and more!
Some great resources to learn more about this wonderful designer.