Up to Her Neck in Ties

Mila Tsang McDermott uses ancient Chinese art in a modern American way, designing neckties that feature traditional Eastern symbols.

She chooses most of her patterns from Chinese art books and draws the designs using a computerized drawing program. She e-mails the file to a computer artist in China who transforms her work into woven silk-blend ties, which are sold in the gift shops of the State Museum in Trenton and the Hunterdon Museum of Art in Clinton.

McDermott takes inspiration from art and calligraphy training she received while living in China twenty years ago. It was her husband, John, who suggested that she design ties. “He loves ties,” she says, hefting a briefcase full of her collection.
In time for Chinese New Year, which begins on the 29th, one of McDermott’s best sellers is the Zodiac tie ($40), which shows all twelve animals that represent the Chinese calendar. Because of the intricacy of her design, it’s her only design that had to be printed instead of woven.

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