Key West Hand Print Fabrics: An Island Industry
In 1961, two friends from Broadway visited Key West. Peter Pell and Jim Russell fell in love with their surroundings: brightly-colored flowers, exotic fruits, and resplendent birds. Residents urged them to open a silk-screening factory, which became Key West Hand Print Fabrics. The company began printing and selling textiles to visitors and hired an artist named Suzie dePoo who produced a marvelous array of tropical imagery on fabrics. One of the company’s principal customers was Lilly Pulitzer. This presentation tells the story of how Key West Hand Print Fabrics became the backbone of the industry on the island.
Dr. Cori Convertito is the Curator and Historian for the Key West Art & Historical Society. She received her doctorate in maritime history from the U.K.’s University of Exeter. She also serves as an adjunct instructor in History and Humanities programs at the College of the Florida Keys. Today, Convertito creates and curates art- and history-rich exhibits that attract about 250,000 annual visitors to the Key West Museum of Art & History, the Lighthouse & Keeper’s Quarters, Fort East Martello Museum and the Tennessee Williams Museum.