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#18: A Beacon

December 8, 2008

Beacon Blanket was the 20th century’s great mass producer of cotton (sometimes cotton/wool blend) camp blankets, so much so that the name Beacon became synonymous with the camp blanket in general, camp blankets often being referred to as Beacons even without being produced by the company itself. Beacon became particularly famous for producing textiles featuring geometric patterns both inspired by and replicating those of Native American weavings, and sometimes featuring characters such as Indian Chiefs, cowboys, buffalo, and so on. What I find so breathtaking about these blankets is the great breadth of colors that they used to depict textiles that traditionally were not produced in such a way. These blankets are hot commodities for collectors (dad collects these, a stockpile I’ll have my mits on someday), and for good reason– how utterly lovable and charming. The graphics are vivid and outstanding, and a vibrant addition to any room.

Here’s a photo snatched from Google that gives one a somewhat uninspired idea of the general Beacon aesthetic:
Beacon shelf
But for more information and a truly remarkable collection of blankets, visit Barry Friedman, author of Chasing Rainbows: Collecting American Indian Trade and Camp Blankets here.

On my trip out west I came across a brilliantly re-purposed Beacon dating from the 1920’s– it’s been reworked into a poncho, and how perfect considering the extremely wearable and subdued textile. History effortlessly applied to the everyday wardrobe in the form of a one-of-a-kind easy breezy cover-up… and I’m the lucky beneficiary! My deep and abiding obsession for these patterns reaffirmed in new and inspiring ways. Here she blows:

Don’t mind me over here, just keepin’ cozy, wearing a blanket as clothing. Effortless indeed… hmm…

4 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2008 10:58 pm

    In the 50’s, Bonnie Cashin once got cold while driving her convertible and pulled over, took out a wool plaid blanket from the trunk and cut a hole for her head and kept on going. Makes me want a convertible even more!

  2. December 8, 2008 11:42 pm

    Do you own that good lookin’ bison on the table, too? Plastic? Ceramic? Damn, my neighborhood is boring.

  3. indiansummervintage permalink*
    December 9, 2008 8:54 am

    He’s my baby and he’s plastic. I’m primed to start collecting, next stop, celluloid…


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