Thursday, 12:59am
8 January 2009

Glove in a cold climate

Ivan Chermayeff’s collection of abandoned mitts from Eye 54

Back in December 2004 we published a little ‘Collection’ piece about Ivan Chermayeff’s ‘Abandoned gloves’.

Here are some more pictures from the collection – a graphic reminder of the fierce chill of a New York winter – plus a PS from Ivan.

Original text from Eye no. 54 vol. 14.

Abandoned gloves

by Ivan Chermayeff

For years I have collected gloves. Usually just one (and only occasionally a pair) that I find in the street. Most are women’s gloves that have fallen from a pocket or handbag while the owner was getting in and out of a taxi. The pairs are more likely to be men’s work gloves that have fallen from the back pocket of a labourer or construction worker. The gloves land in the street where they are then run over by traffic and flattened into a new shape. Pressed beneath the wheel of a tyre and exposed to the elements, they acquire a patina until each, like a snowflake, is totally unique.

I am drawn to gloves for their ability to conceal, and thereby reveal, a part of human anatomy associated with myriad activities: from cooking and cleaning to drawing and writing. In my collages I have sought to celebrate these meanings so that the images underscore – through forms and materials – our essential human connection.

In a postscript sent to Eye yesterday morning, Ivan notes:

‘Construction workers seem never to learn that work gloves fall out of their back pockets. Then, when they do, with only one left, they throw it away for me. Women lose gloves as they get in and out of taxis. I'm there. My two sources for gloves: building sites and street corners.’

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture. It is available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop, where you can buy subscriptions and single issues.