In the summer of 2013 I took up an interest in understanding the history of textile and paper sacks used for the movement of agricultural goods between 1800 and 1980.
"A popular object among collectors of agricultural ephemera, the printed agricultural textile sack used for the distribution of grains, is an object with a rich history. Unassuming at first glance, the grain sack’s history is populated with various insights and provocations into the history of print, manufacturing, textile and paper industries. Sitting at the intersection of these industries, the sack also can tell us the story of the building of cities as seated on the shoulders of the taming of the prairies through farming. " -HRB
At the time there was no real wealth of information on the subject. Since then I have visited collections at research institutions across the country in order to start centralizing a source of information on the subject. To date I have looked at and through materials at places such as:
- The State Historical Society of Iowa
- The Herbert Hoover Presidential Library
- The Minnesota Historical Society & The Gale Family Library
- The Wisconsin Historical Society
- The Geneseo History Museum (Geneseo, Ill.)
- Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI) & The Sophie Frye Bass Library
- The Newberry Library
- The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum
Recently I was awarded and completed the TRANSIT Residency with the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum where I was able to work with historic printing materials in order to create a limited edition 3-volume specimen collection as a physical companion to a larger digital catalogue with an Excel spreadsheet detail cuts and their conditions within the Hamilton Collection. This residency also resulted in two artist talks on the research and its impact on my practice, as well as a blog post.
This past summer I wrote an article for Vol. 17 of the Ephemera Journal on my research in progress. While that publication is not available for purchase, you may download and view the file here. A longer version exists, with more light into the various complexities of the subject not able to be covered in the confines of the Journal's parameters.
Please contact me with any information in regards to this subject and watch for continued updates.