The Bridge

The Bridge

c. 1937

Mabel A. Hewit

(American, 1903-1984)

Block printing on silk

Overall: 127 x 84.5 cm (50 x 33 1/4 in.)

Educational Purchase Fund 1938.194



Motifs like the bridge are here decorated with patterns that animate this textile, meant for home decoration or clothing. The trees and shrubs have metamorphosed into fanciful, geometric plant forms reflecting the Art Deco style popular in the 1920s and 1930s. When Hewit printed loom widths of cotton or silk, she carved the blocks in the traditional manner, cutting away the excess wood, leaving the image in relief. The Bridge is a clever design that illustrates Hewit’s sophisticated use of the precise process of printing a block repeatedly in horizontal rows on a large piece of fabric. While the block contains all the elements of the design, the design is only complete after the block has been printed seven times—to the left and right of the original imprint but twice above and below it. The design is staggered on alternate rows, and only through these adjacencies do the motifs become whole.

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