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While the Miller House was completed in 1957, Alexander Girard continued to work on projects for the Millers well into the 1970s. In 1974, Mrs. Miller tasked Girard with designing cushions for their Tulip dining chairs. She requested that Girard’s designs for the cushions work with her large collection of dinnerware and he delivered the colorful results seen above.

For the eight cushions that sat in chairs around the table, Girard utilized the Miller family monograms for his designs. Composed of sans serif letters that appear out of an otherwise unruly checkered pattern, the monograms are for the following Miller family members:

JIM - Joseph Irwin Miller

XSM - Xenia Simons Miller

MIM - Margaret Irwin Miller

CGM - Catherine Gibbs Miller

EGM - Elizabeth Anne Garr Miller

HTHM - Hugh Thomas Miller II

WIM - Will Irwin Miller

LAM - Linda A. Miller (Former wife of son, Hugh Th. Miller)

The dining room side chairs featured cushions with multicolored allover check, the pattern for which we shared a few months back and can be partially seen in the bottom photo by Balthazar Korab.

While Girard executed the design, Mrs. Miller and her bridge group carried out the needlepoint work. In order to complete this task, Girard created patterns by affixing individual squares of colored construction paper to a grid shaped to the chair bottoms. The first eight images are digital scans of these patterns. Girard sent a handwritten note with the patterns that read “Suggest you look at these, in position, by placing them in the chair.” Along with the patterns, he also sent the color palate and samples of yarn to be used for the project.

Want to learn more about the custom Alexander Girard rug pictured above in the Miller House Dining Room? Check out our previous posts featuring an Edward Fields rendering and yarn samples.

Needlepoint cushion chair patterns, painted color palette and yarn samples by Alexander Girard. FF061, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IIIc_FF061_001-009, 015, 017)

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Alexander Girard’s color story: boys’ bedroom

These samples form Alexander Girard’s color story for the boys’ bedroom in the Miller home. All of these textiles were designed by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller. Girard created a custom iteration of his Quatrefoil design that was used for curtains; the orange naugahyde was used to upholster an Eames DKR-1; and “Woolway” was used for bedspreads.

Each sample has a color-coded card stapled to it. Written on each card is an alphanumeric code to indicate where in a room the textile will be used, along with Girard’s item number.

Textile sample (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of Herman Miller “Quatrefoil” on plain ecru linen (#163) designed by Alexander Girard. Green cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of sample, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis. (MHG_IVb_B091_f046_001)

Textile sample (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of orange Herman Miller “HM Naugahyde” (#205) designed by Alexander Girard. Green cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of sample, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis. (MHG_IVb_B091_f047_001)

Textile sample (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of Herman Miller “Woolway” (#066) designed by Alexander Girard. Green cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of sample, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis. (MHG_IVb_B091_f045_001)

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No detail too small…

…and that includes towels. When selecting towels, wash cloths, and mats for the bathrooms in their home, Xenia and J. Irwin Miller enlisted Alexander Girard to design custom monogrammed towels. The bath linens for the maid’s room, guest room, and the boys’ and girls’ rooms were each assigned a color, and each piece of linen would have a circle of that color in one corner. The master suite bath linens were monogrammed with a red “X” on one corner of each piece.

Before this design could be approved, Girard had a sample hand towel made that showed the six different colored circles and the master bath’s red “X.” The accompanying key matches the monogram with its designated bathroom.

Not only did the Millers want to preview the selected colors, but they also had this sample made to compare two types of stitching for the monograms. A close look at the front and back of the towels reveals the subtle differences between the stitching methods. Truly no detail too small.

Item No. 309, monogram powder room towels sample and key, 1957, Box 88, Folder 24, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN. (MHG_IVa_B088_F024_002-004)

Invoice for Item No. 309, monogramming towels, February 13, 1957, Box 33, Folder 387, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN.(MHG_Ic_B033_F387_005-006)

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No detail too small, bath linens pt. 2

Last week we provided some insight into the design process for custom bath linens created by Alexander Girard for Xenia S. and J. Irwin Miller in 1957. While creating new digital image records in the IMA Archives today, we came across additional archival material related to this custom order.

More than thirty years after the first sets of bath linens were ordered, Xenia added new “fingertip towels” to her supply. Once again, there were two different styles of stitching to choose from. The hand-written note from Jane Evans of Gattle’s provides more information about these two types of stitches:

#1 - filled-in stitch
#2 - chain stitch.

The annotation at the bottom of the note shows that Xenia selected the chain stitch for her fingertip towels.

Check out more of our “No detail too small” posts!

Bathroom towel sample No. 1, ca. 1989, Box 85, Folder 11, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVa_B085_F011_003-004)

Bathroom towel sample No. 2, ca. 1989, Box 85, Folder 11, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVa_B085_F011_005-006)

Letter from Gattle’s to Xenia S. Miller, December 6, 1989, Box 85, Folder 11, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVa_B085_F011_007)

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A reminder that the MHGC contains some informative and entertaining advertising material from over the years.
Buckeye brochure page, 1976, Box 7, Folder 59, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN. (MHG_Ib_B007_F059_122)

digitizingmillerhouseandgarden:

A reminder that the MHGC contains some informative and entertaining advertising material from over the years.

Buckeye brochure page, 1976, Box 7, Folder 59, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, IN. (MHG_Ib_B007_F059_122)

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No detail too small

As was the case with many aspects of the Miller House design, no detail was overlooked as unimportant in the plans for the garage folding gate - even the gate’s lock. In the first Ornamental Iron Work Co. blueprint from January 31, 1956, the hand-written annotation reads:

"Please clarify with a cut or a more discriptive (sic) drawing, the locking methods proposed. Cylinder locks are specified, the cylinder furnished by the hardware contractor & installed by this contractor."

By April 4, 1956 the Ornamental Iron Work Co. issued a second iteration of the gate blueprint, complete with a detailed drawing of the gate’s locking mechanism. Truly no detail was too small.

Blueprint (24 1/4 x 36 in.) of Miller House Garage Folding Gate Lock Detail by Ornamental Iron Works Co., 31 January 1956,  FF82, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IIId_FF082_008)

Blueprint (24 x 36 1/8 in.) of Miller House Garage Folding Gate by Ornamental Iron Works Co., 9 April 1956,  FF82, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IIId_FF082_013)

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No Detail Too Small
This page is from a binder of material samples that served as a reference source for remodeling and other upkeep at the the Miller House. We shared another page from the binder a few weeks ago. The description of this textile sample gave us a laugh and we wondered if Mrs. Miller ever found the lining material she was looking for… 
Textile sample of  (2.5 x 4 in.) of white lining material taped to sheet of binder paper, 13/86, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVa_B086_f013_006)

digitizingmillerhouseandgarden:

No Detail Too Small

This page is from a binder of material samples that served as a reference source for remodeling and other upkeep at the the Miller House. We shared another page from the binder a few weeks ago. The description of this textile sample gave us a laugh and we wondered if Mrs. Miller ever found the lining material she was looking for… 

Textile sample of  (2.5 x 4 in.) of white lining material taped to sheet of binder paper, 13/86, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVa_B086_f013_006)

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Summer Pit Pillows

In honor of the sneak peek of spring weather we’ve had over the last few days, we offer a sneak peek of the new textile series we will be featuring this spring and summer. We’ve shared the winter conversation pit pillow textiles and are now prepping posts that include samples of the textiles used for the spring and summer conversation pit pillows. The biannual “flipping of the pit,” where the winter textiles are rotated out for the spring and summer seasons, will be completed in late April. You can read a post about this process on the Indianapolis Museum of Art Blog: Pillow Talk.

Textile samples (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of light brown with white, red and black stripe (Item No. 86-5); red (Item No. 86-3); and cream (Item No. 86-4) from Pan American Shop for summer Living Room Conversation Pit Pillows. Beige cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of samples. Notes on cardstock identify samples for space 6-C6 (Living Room). Samples sourced by Alexander Girard, 1955-1957, 94/96, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVi_B094_f096_003-005)

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Master Bedroom bedspreads

Eye-popping textiles were not limited to the draperies and conversation pit pillows at Miller House. Mr. and Mrs. Miller’s bedspread sported another one of Alexander Girard’s bright textiles for Herman Miller: Gemstones. The orange and pink brocade textile was used for the top of the bedspread, and the orange Siamese silk was used for the lining.

Textile samples (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of Herman Miller orange and magenta “Gemstones” (#188) by Alexander Girard and orange Siamese silk (P-238-A) from Far Eastern Fabrics, Inc. Pink cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of samples. Note on cardstock identifies sample as Item No. 156 for space 21-C2 (Master Bedroom). 62/91, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana.  (MHG_IVk_B091_f062_001-002)

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Master Bathroom curtains
In our post last Friday, we shared a page from a materials reference binder that was kept for Miller House. On the page, a small piece of this fabric is taped to a notecard, identified as the “curtain fabric for the master bath” and annotated by Alexander Girard. Also included on the page are threads from the rug and manufacturer’s tag for the glass curtains in the master bath. These are more examples of the astounding amount of documentation that went into every aspect of this home.
Textile sample (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of red and purple plaid Cambaya (#22) from Bruce Rogers Fabric. Pink cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of sample. Note on cardstock identifies sample as Item No. 63 for spaces 24-C1 (Master Bathroom). 63/91, Miller House and Garden Collection, IMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVk_B091_f063_002)

digitizingmillerhouseandgarden:

Master Bathroom curtains

In our post last Friday, we shared a page from a materials reference binder that was kept for Miller House. On the page, a small piece of this fabric is taped to a notecard, identified as the “curtain fabric for the master bath” and annotated by Alexander Girard. Also included on the page are threads from the rug and manufacturer’s tag for the glass curtains in the master bath. These are more examples of the astounding amount of documentation that went into every aspect of this home.

Textile sample (11.5 x 11.5 in.) of red and purple plaid Cambaya (#22) from Bruce Rogers Fabric. Pink cardstock is stapled to upper left corner of sample. Note on cardstock identifies sample as Item No. 63 for spaces 24-C1 (Master Bathroom). 63/91, Miller House and Garden CollectionIMA Archives, Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana. (MHG_IVk_B091_f063_002)

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