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Jack Lenor Larsen Jack Lenor Larsen (born 1927) is a textile designer, author and collector and promoter of traditional and contemporary craftsmanship.

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Presentation on theme: "Jack Lenor Larsen Jack Lenor Larsen (born 1927) is a textile designer, author and collector and promoter of traditional and contemporary craftsmanship."— Presentation transcript:

1 Jack Lenor Larsen Jack Lenor Larsen (born 1927) is a textile designer, author and collector and promoter of traditional and contemporary craftsmanship in all its forms.

2 Larsen was born in 1927 in Seattle, WA to Norsk- Canadian parents. In 1945 he enrolled at the School of Architecture at the University of Washington. The following year he studied furniture design and began weaving, moving to Los Angeles to focus upon fabrics. In 1949 he studied ancient Peruvian textiles in Seattle and opened a studio. In 1951 he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Cranbrook Academy of Art,Michigan, and opened a studio in New York.

3 Since the 1950s he has designed thousands of fabric patterns and textiles, many associated with the modernist architecture and furnishings popular with post-1945 American consumers. In 1952, Larsen founded his firm,Jack Lenor Larsen, Incorporated. From the beginning, Jack Lenor Larsen's distinctive hand-woven furnishing fabrics with random repeats in variegated, natural yarns were popular with clients such as Marilyn Monroe. In 1958, he designed his first aeroplane upholstery, for Pan American Airlines. His passion for international weaving and textile crafts made him familiar with techniques such as ikat and batik, which he introduced to the American public, and by 1974, Larsen's company was manufacturing fabrics in 30 countries. He currently lives in New York.

4 Larsen Design Studio Laotian Ikat Collection: An Homage to Jim Thompson Materials: Silk, metallic Classification: Surface Ornamentation- Dyed Thailand Since the 1950’s Jack had worked with numerous traditional weavers including those in Haiti, Mexico and Morocco to adapt their traditional skills to produce contemporary fabrics for the interiors market. Having worked with Thai Silk, founded shortly after the war by the legendary Jim Thompson, Jack developed a number of distinctive fabrics. Among the most dramatic were the ikat cloths. Originally the technique was used to create short lengths for wrapped clothing styles, but Larsen persuaded the weavers to create a heavier weight cloth in continuous lengths which could be adapted to be used as upholstery fabric. The production is very labor intensive requiring the pattern to be resist-dyed into the weft threads before the weaving begins. The strong graphic, variety of color ways (Azure, Moongold, Papaya, Quick Silver, Fire Opal, Parakeet, and Mahagony) and use of silk and metal yarns, resulted in a bold, luxurious fabric that remained in the company’s line for many years.

5 Jack Larsen Remoulade, 1956-67 Collection: Spice Garden Materials: Cotton, silk, Lurex Classification: Woven Fabric United States In the 1950s Larsen became well- known for fabrics that incorporated a variety of yarns and random repeats. Initially these cloths were hand woven, but demand eventually exceeded their production capabilities and a solution had to be found. Working with an Italian textile engineer who owned a small mill in New Jersey, Larsen was able to replicate these textiles using power looms. Although it still proved to be much slower than the conventional power weaving of the time, it was much faster than hand weaving.

6 Larsen Design Studio Bobbin Cloth Collection: Pre-Collection Materials: Cotton Classification: Woven Fabric Germany

7 Eliza Wilcox Chimu Collection: Andean Materials: Cotton Classification: Surface Ornamentation- Dyed Kenya

8 Larsen Design Studio City Blocks, 1994 Collection: Unknown Materials: Linen, silk Classification: Woven Fabric

9 Larsen Design Studio Diagonal Stripe Collection: Brasil Materials: Cotton, linen Classification: Woven Fabric Italy The production capabilities of individual workshops sometimes limited Larsen’s ability to maintain stock of a particular pattern. The Italian weavers who first fabricated Diagonal Stripe soon ceased to produce this challenging weave with angled weft alignment. Only after several decades did Larsen find another dependable source, Thai silk weavers, whom the company persuaded to use linen threads because they were more durable for casement fabric construction. The company was able to reintroduce the fabric with a new name, Onward, in 2000.

10 Dona Raquel Vivas Doria II, 1978 Collection: Pre-Collection Materials: Wool Classification: Woven Fabric Colombia Larsen was famous for producing cloth that highlighted the distinctive qualities of natural fiber. The company sought out yarns that were not overly refined, using them in woven structures that enhanced their special effects. The Doria and Haitian Primitive series were handwoven in Colombia and the Caribbean, respectively, and remained popular for more than twenty years. Frank Lloyd Wright specified Doria for several homes he designed. Two of the Doria Squares color ways were commissioned for Air Force One in 1969 when Richard Nixon was president.

11 Larsen Design Studio Gin Fizz, 1995 Collection: Unknown Materials: Polyester Classification: Woven Fabric Germany

12 Jack Larsen Horse Cloth, 1954-62 Collection: Pre-Collection Materials: Linen, cotton, goat hair, mohair and wool Classification: Woven Fabric Larsen fabrics were known in the industry for using "unusual" fibers and yarns in the textiles they produced. The subtle quality of black goat hair in this upholstery fabric is enhancd by the choice of a relatively simple twill construction

13 Lori Weitzner Jacob's Ladder, 1993 Collection: Grand Additions Materials: Cotton, rayon Classification: Woven Fabric United States

14 Jack Larsen Jason, 1985 Collection: Millennium Materials: Cotton, nylon, viscose, goat hair, mylar Classification: Woven Fabric United States An important aspect of Larsen’s design philosophy is the commitment to maintaining a positive relationship between the production consistency and standardization demanded by the interiors industry, and the individual expression and spontaneity needed to create distinctive environments. Since the 1950s Larsen designers have successfully combined these two qualities in their innovative approach to casement fabrics. Although the interplay of irregular transparent and opaque areas is a relatively simple concept it took extensive experimentation to discover the correct balance of structural stability. The design of this fabric called for the use of soft, smooth yarns, stabilized with periodic leno warp locks, which would allow spontaneous waves to modify a ridged stripe. Jason was woven at the Bolan mill from 1956 to 1968.

15 Jack Larsen Wolftrap Theater Curtain (commissioned), 1970 Collection: Commission Materials: Mohair, nylon Classification: Woven Fabric Swaziland When Larsen was commissioned to design the stage curtain for the Wolf Trap Theater in Virginia, the company worked with Coral Stephens, head of a handweaving studio in Swaziland. The Swazi weavers had already produced a series of casement fabrics for the Larsen line and used handspun mohair yarns. In 1971 the cloth was the largest Swazi export.

16 Larsen Design Studio Magnum, 1970 Materials: Cotton, vinyl, nylon, polyester; backed with nylon scrim. Classification: Surface Ornamentation- Embroidered United States Magnum is perhaps the most famous of all Larsen fabrics. Initially commissioned as the Symphony Hall curtain for the Phoenix Civic Plaza, the fabric was installed in 1972. Still in use, the curtain required 600 yards of material and replicates the boldness of the hand- embroidered mirror work of northwest India. Designers experimented extensively to find the ideal materials and technical adjustments of the mechanical embroidery equipment to create a stable fabric. Magnum was available in the original “flame,” this “golden topaz,” and several other colors until 1992.

17 Larsen Design Studio Peking Collection: Great Color of China Materials: Silk, cotton Classification: Woven Fabric Italy Color, an important element of every collection, helps create a specific mood and provides a unifying presence. The richness of the Larsen color palette has always been a company strength, and Larsen designers took particular care with color specifications when working with manufacturers. The company also drew on the psychological power of language when it named fabrics and colors. Peking and the colors “pigeonblood,” “puce,” “black pearl,” and “persimmon” suggest the exotic East, as does the fabric’s rich silk pile. That the fabric was actually woven in Torino, Italy, mattered little. Peking was first introduced in 1971, and by 1993, the line had thirty-one colors.

18 Larsen Design Studio Pocket Pearls Collection: Unknown Materials: Spun viscose, polyester, linen Classification: Woven Fabric

19 Larsen Design Studio Swan Song, 1994 Collection: Unknown Materials: Linen, silk Classification: Woven Fabric


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