About the Author
Susan Meller is the coauthor of the highly acclaimed Textile Designs: Two Hundred Years of European and American Patterns for Printed Fabrics Organized by Motif, Style, Color, Layout, and Period (1991). She is also the author of Russian Textiles: Printed Cloth for the Bazaars of Central Asia (2007) and Silk and Cotton: Textiles from the Central Asia That Was (2013), all published by Abrams, N.Y. In addition to these books, she is a contributing author to Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats, by Sumru Belger Krody, The Textile Museum, 2010. Her most recent book is Labels of Empire: Textile Trademarks. Window into India at the time of the Raj (Goff Books, 2022).
An independent scholar, she worked in the textile industry for many years. Her employment as a textile designer and mill strike-off artist for Dan River Mills and Riegel Textile Corp. during the 1960s, enabled her to step back in time and experience first hand the operations of textile printing plants in the old mill towns of Ware Shoals, S.C., Trion, Ga., and Beacon, N.Y. The “company store” was operating and workers were still living in the small run-down company-owned cottages lining a street near the Ware Shoals mill. Cotton dust was thick inside the factory and the sound of immense roller printing machines was deafening. The machines ran day and night so the strike-off artist, whose job it was to approve each pattern before 10,000 or more yards were run, got very little sleep during those days at the mill. But it was an invaluable experience that helped the author both understand the workings of what was in effect a 19th century textile-printing mill, as well as gain a deep appreciation for what went into producing a piece of printed cloth.
During the 1970s, she and her late husband, Herbert Meller, founded a textile archive in New York City called The Design Library. It grew to contain millions of documentary textiles, some no bigger than swatches to large Indian hand-painted palampores. Thousands of original designs and pattern books from studios and mills in Europe and the U.S. helped to provide solid documentation. Today The Design Library continues to expand and flourish under the stewardship of Peter Koepke. In 2000, the company was relocated to Wappingers Falls, NY, into fittingly, an old textile mill.
You may contact Susan Meller here.