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Book Profile and Revue: American Denim – A New Folk Art by Peter Beagle, 1975

This beautifully illustrated book brings to life the fashions, styles and colours of the 1960s and the early 1970s.

American Denim - A New Folk Art, c1975

This was a period of political, economic and social turmoil, a time when individual self interest and self expression became increasingly important. In the United States of America one aspect of self expressionism, decorating apparel, combined with the craft movement to see the birth of a new folk art: Decorating American Denim. This art form was beautifully detailed and carefully created; it reflected the liberalism in America at the time; and it is an important element of modern fashion history.

'Levi' is a name synonymous with American denim. In 1973 and 1974 Levi, Straus and Co sponsored the Denim Art Contest, in recognition of the growing trend in the USA for personalising such attire. Winning entries were subsequently included in a tour of displays in American museums. Many of the artists who took part in these contests are represented in this book.

This design by James H. Lind, finished in acrylic paints

'Presented' by Richard M. Owens and Tony Lane, American Denim - A New Folk Art, has several introductory and descriptive pages written by Peter Beagle. Many of the pages have full colour captioned photographs by Baron Wolman showing examples of the work of the 'Denim Artists', who used various mediums to decorate denim as outlined below:

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The Denim Artists:

  • James H. Lind - acrylic paint
  • Joy Ng - tie-dye
  • Randy Freeman - appliqué
  • Dug Miles - paint
  • S. Alexis Pawlik - zippers and sequins
  • Linda L. Leitnaker - paint and sequins
  • Wende Stitt - appliqué and embroidery
  • Gretchen Koepsel - patchwork and sequins
  • Marigold A. Lamb - appliqué and stitching
  • Bill Shire - metal and glass studding
  • Nicki Marx - feather appliqué
  • Victor D. Taylor - oil paint applied with a syringe
  • Paula Gulbicki - mixed fabrics
  • Louise Crandell-Kerr - airbrush painting
  • Mara Mercer - quilting and feathers
  • Kris Koza - appliqué and embroidery
  • Kay Chellman Millet - crochet
  • Susan van den Heuvel - trapunto and embroidery
  • Ann Meske - embroidery
  • Judy Manley - appliqué with quilting and found objects
  • Lauretta M. Jones - appliqué, weaving and embroidery
  • Benita Cullinan - appliqué
  • Steve Ostrom - patchwork piecing
  • Calvin Martens - bleaching, ageing, patching and chains
  • Ken Waters - bleaching, painting and embroidery
  • Julie Elliott - embroidery
  • Etsuko Betty Yoshioka - macrame
  • Kay M. Aronson - trapunto
  • Lori Feldman - embroidery
  • C. Kenneth Havis - patches and buttons
  • Rick Rogers - beadwork
  • Megan Rickards - embroidery
  • Constance Comment - appliqué
  • Anna V. A. Polesny - embroidery
  • Christine A. McDonald - appliqué and embroidery
  • Louise Halsey - embroidery, weaving and feather appliqué
  • Susan Cole - macrame and fringes
  • Betty F. Wallenstein - lace appliqué and beading
  • Sherry Stevens - appliqué and embroidery
  • Kay Bratun - appliqué, ribbons and lace
  • Martha Green - appliqué, stitching and found objects
  • Hopeton Morris - appliqué, found objects and studs
  • Ruby Uehara - appliqué and stitching
  • Kay Shuper - trapunto, appliqué and photo-silkscreen
  • Anne Struthers - sequin appliqué
  • Gretchen Kelly - appliqué, sequin appliqué and embroidery
  • Wayne Lohr - painting, silkscreen and embroidery
  • Phoebe Berrey - painting, beads and feathers
  • Cheryl Kartes - embroidery
  • Sheryn Gerber Berlinski - painting
  • Grace Giusti - embroidery
  • Sandra L. Brown - embroidery
  • Suzann Dunaway - rug hooking
  • Darcy Green - embroidery
  • Debra Lynn Tygell - sequin appliqué
  • Chuck van Horn - painting
  • Dale Sizer - airbrush painting
This design by Louise Crandell-Kerr, finished using airbrushed paints

Book Details:

A softcover book (also published in hardback), 157 pages, text and captions, colour illustrations by the Denim Artists including several fold-out illustrations

Published by Harry N. Abrams Inc, (New York), 1975, 1st edition

Unpackaged Size Approx: 223x282mm

Approx weight: 658g

This design embroidered by Julie Elliott

American Denim - A New Folk Art by Peter Beagle: Value

If you need values in US dollars, Euros or a host of other major currencies, a currency converter is included in the right hand sidebar of this page, and another in the footer area.

American Denim - A New Folk Art by Peter Beagle, 1975 Harry N. Abrams 1st softcover edition, estimated value of the pictured copy which is in 'good' condition, £25

Copies in VG or better condition can be expected to sell for a premium.