Local author releases Beacon blanket coloring book

Intricate patterns from Beacon Blanket Mill’s Golden Age

Staff reports

Add a local twist to the adult coloring book craze that’s sweeping Amazon and the world. Local author and illustrator Jerald Pope has created a 24-page coloring book of intricate patterns based on the original Beacon blankets woven at the world-famous Beacon Blankets mill.

The mill was once the biggest manufacturer of blankets in the world. In the 1920s, '30s and '40s, its cotton “Indian” blankets could be found in stores from coast to coast, as well as at summer camps,
in car trunks and on the prize boards at carnivals, amusement parks, and side shows.

Swannanoa illustrator Jerald Pope has produced a coloring book based upon Native American patterns Beacon used in its blankets.

The Indian-patterned blankets were designed by Beacon designers based on blankets that the owner, Charles D. Owen, brought home from his trips out west. At one point, the Navajo tribe sued Beacon over the implication that the blankets were made by Indians. Beacon kept the patterns but stopped using advertising that featured feathered Native Americans making Beacon blankets on primitive looms.

The intricate and geometric patterns make perfect subjects for coloring. Pope's book joins the ranks of hundreds of coloring books available in bookstores, grocery stores and online. Adults have turned to coloring because it can be soothing and meditative.

Profits from the sale of Pope's book will go to support “Blanket Town: the Rise and Fall of
an American Mill Town,” a documentary by Pope and his wife Rebecca Williams, about Beacon’s impact on Swannanoa and the people who lived there.

“The Beacon Blanket Coloring Book” is available at Pope’s website, harebrandideas.com, and at the Black Mountain shops  Chiffarobe and Town Hardware. It is also available at Malaprop's Bookstore/Cafe in Asheville and at Amazon.com.