A while back I wrote about Blue Rider Design, the astonishing textile library stashed quietly in downtown Portland. Caleb Sayan, the caretaker of the collection (most of which was first established by his mother Andrea Aranow in New York during the late '80s) has been busy digitizing each piece—there are over 40,000—and once complete it will most likely be the largest single textile collection to exist in digital form.

Sayan is driven to have the collection be made not only useful to designers, but to be used in an educational context as well (they're launching a pilot program with local colleges this fall). One piece of that, the Textile Hive base, went live earlier this month, and you can hop on to learn about, say, American woven coverlets from the 18th and 19th centuries through text and video featuring textile scholar Annin Barrett (videos were made by Andy Chandler). There will eventually be a ton more information online in connection to the collection (some of which will be by membership, launching Sept 2), so if this is the type of thing you love to nerd out on, consider it an appetizer.

It's also a good wind-up to this year's Design Week (Oct 4-11), which will feature Past Future Textile Design, an exhibit of select materials from the collection at the Steven Goldman Gallery at The Art Institute of Portland, opening Oct 9.

Examples of Shibori from the collection.
  • Textile Hive
  • Examples of Shibori from the collection.