Tammis Keefe

For the short 2 days I was at Quilt Market, I got to spend a few hours on the floor helping Michael Miller set up their massive booth. The booth had this MadMen Vintage theme, complete with 1960’s runway of manakins. It was seriously awesome. As I rolled up my sleeves to get my hands dirty, I noticed these retro panels off to the side, waiting to be assembled. As I got closer, I realized they were Tammis Keefe Hankerchief’s with a complete tribute to her life and story. Do you know Tammis Keefe? She was legendary in textile design for hankerchief’s in the 1950’s. Her eye for color and design is still recognizable, and she has inspired hundreds of artists and designers. She has a rather sad and mysterious life, which you can read more about here. But she died young, and her images were basically just sitting there, not being reproduced or used. But now, Michael Miller is reproducing her artwork in yardage now, and I am so incredibly excited!

Don’t you just love her work? I am really fascinated by trends, and what they bring out in artists of the times. I think trends are so telling of all aspects of the culture that an artist is a part of, and I love thinking about why certain things are popular and why. So I love seeing her original work, and sensing why it was so popular then, and why it is so popular now.

Here’s the fabric yardage that Michael Miller has made from her hankies. I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

It was really cool to see the original hankies, with individual designs on them, and then how Michael Miller put them together to make awesome fabric.

(Photos from True Up)

And here is a video clip of the set up of the Michael Miller booth. It’s really so awesome that I get to actually work with these crazy and fun people. I love this industry! You can see Sandi Henderson show off her red wig and me struggling to put up the Tammis Keefe panel with glue and string at about 1:15 into it.

So do you know Tammis Keefe’s work? To learn more, you can go here, here and here. I’m just loving it.

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  • http://farmgirlfare.com Farmgirl Susan

    Oh my gosh, those hankies and fabrics are SO wonderful! As somebody who spent years selling (and collecting) 1920s-1950s stuff, I can’t believe I’ve never heard of Tammis Keefe. As soon as I click on all the links you’ve so kindly left (thank you!), I think I need to go out and see if I can find some of her original hankies. Those patterns are just too marvelous for words. I love the dogs and cats! Oh, I just love them all! You’ve really made my day. :)

    P.S. Congratulations on all of your great success. It’s so exciting – and your illustrations are the best. Maybe you should start designing handkerchiefs next. . . ;)

  • Gaynell

    Thanks so much for sharing! You created an “Ah Ha” moment for me. I didn’t know of Tammis Keefe, but the graphics in your photos looked vaguely familiar. Then I realized I have a purple & aqua version of the cat dish towel (shown in the photo of you putting up the panels)! It survived all these years because I apparently swiped it from the kitchen & used it as a doll blanket in the 70’s. It went with my old doll clothes now being used by my 8 year old daughter. I’ve now pulled it out of the doll clothes & am pondering a special project for it. Thank you & congrats on your fabric line — looking forward to it!