Exhibition: Boro – Threads of Life

Exhibition dates: 5 October – 5 November 2017, Wednesday to Sunday, 3–7pm

In Paris this month is an exhibition on the Japanese textile tradition of boro (some of you may have seen this exhibition at Somerset House in 2014). Translated as ‘rags’ in English, boro is the collective name for textiles – usually clothing and bed covers – made by the poor, rural population of Japan who could not afford to buy new when necessity required, and had to make ends meet by piecing and patching discarded cotton onto existing sets, forming something slightly different each time they did so. Generations of Japanese families, from the eighteenth to the early twentieth century, repaired and recycled all kinds of textiles, from fishermen’s jackets to futon covers, handing them down, and weaving their own sagas and stories through the threads.

This cultural practice is now long vanished. Unused boro textiles tend to be put aside, thrown away or sometimes even destroyed by a society embarrassed by its past. As a result, they are now a rare find. This is a stunning collection of unique Japanese patched indigo textiles, which appear to transcend their origins to become exquisite objects of abstract art.

For more information, visit the website of La Frontiera Gallery, Paris.

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Event: Gender Twists in the Weaving, Embroidery and Structure of Shidong Miao Festival Costume – Talk by Iain Stephens

Event date: Saturday 14 October 2017, 2:15–4pm

Talk by Iain Stephens followed by a show and tell session – you are welcome to bring your own Shidong Miao pieces!

This talk will explore the seemingly endless creativity of the Shidong Miao employed on festival jackets. It will share insights into the sexuality of weaving and embroidery as well as essential pattern hierarchies.

Iain Stephens is a currently a master upholsterer, and previously a lecturer of biochemistry and English and tutor of Biblical Hebrew. Iain is an avid collector of Xhosa beadwork, Chinese ethnic minority costume and Taiwanese budaixi puppets. He presently lives on a narrowboat in Oxford.

Before the talk, a viewing at the Eastern Art Study room will display Miao textiles from the Ashmolean collection.

Location: Ashmolean Museum, Jameel Center Study Room 1 (for the viewing) and the Education Centre (for the presentation)

Time: 2.15–3pm (viewing) and 3.10pm (presentation)

OATG events are free for members and £3 for non-members.

For more information, and to book a place at this event, visit the Eventbrite page.

Event: Japanese Textile Dyeing Workshop

Event date: Saturday 18 November 2017, 11am – 4pm

To coincide with the forthcoming netsuke exhibition ‘Dressed to Impress’, the Museum of East Asian Art in Bath is running a workshop later this year on key patterns and symbolic meanings behind Japanese textile design. Mamiko Markham will explain the process of traditional Japanese katazome dyeing (kata = carving pattern; zome = printing and dye) and guide you through the process from pattern design to printing on handkerchiefs, using pre-made stencils inspired by the exhibits.

Mamiko, who has 25 years’ extensive experience in teaching Japanese textiles, is Katagami researcher at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture (MoDA), London.

Admission: Public £25; Friends / Students £20 (max. 12 people)

For more information, and to book your place on this workshop, visit the website of the Museum of East Asian Art, Bath, UK.

Event: World Textile Day North – Frodsham, Cheshire

Event date: Saturday 23 September 2017, 10am – 4:30pm

Every year at World Textile Days around the country, the organisers explore a common theme through their free exhibition, and morning and afternoon presentations (only £3 per session). In 2017, their world textile experts will focus on the role of colour in textiles.

FREE admission to our exhibition of woven, printed and embroidered textiles from around the world.

FAIR TRADE MARKET from makers, workshops and villages around the world.

Plus:

  • 11 am presentation. Magie Relph quilter, collector, textile trader and author of African Wax Print: A Textile Journey.
  • 2 pm Show & Tell. Bring and discuss your own world textile with one of our world textile experts. Plus: a short talk.
    £3 per session or £5 for both, tickets at the door.
  • Throughout the day: demonstrations by the Braid Society.

With these specialist world textile traders:

  • Textile Traders Jim and Diane Gaffney
  • The African Fabric Shop Magie Relph and Bob Irwin
  • Tukuru South American Textiles Meri Hunneyball
  • Khayamiya Egyptian Appliqué Joan and John Fisher
  • Indian Textiles – Tanya Byrne
  • Nepalese Textiles – Karen Haggis
  • Indian Silk – Suzy Rowe

Delicious refreshments provided by our hosts Frodsham Patchwork Group. Disabled access. Free parking. Station: Frodsham.

Venue: Frodsham Community Centre, Fluin Lane (B5439), Frodsham, Cheshire, WA6 7QN.

For more information, visit the World Textile Day website.

Event: Eloquent Pattern – The Craft of the Japanese Printing Stencil – Talk by Alice Humphrey

Event date: Friday 22 September, 4:15–6pm

This talk will introduce the construction and use of Edo and Meiji period katagami – Japanese paper stencils used for resist printing designs onto clothing and domestic fabric. A focus of the talk will be the diverse patterning effects found on katagami influenced by the stencils’ construction and the use of the resulting printed fabric.

Dr Alice Humphrey developed an interest in Japanese textiles and katagami through working on the collections held at ULITA (an archive of international textiles in Leeds) and at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture, London. She has combined this with her doctoral research field of analysing the structures underlying decorative motifs and patterning.

The talk will be preceded by a viewing of related material from the Ashmolean collection, selected by our chairman Aimée Payton and the curator for Japanese Art, Dr Clare Pollard.

Location: Ashmolean Museum Jameel Centre Study Room 1 (for the viewing) and the Education Centre (for the presentation)
Time: 4.15–4.55pm (viewing) and 5.15pm (presentation)

OATG events are free for members and £3 for non-members.

For more information, and to book a place at this event, visit the Eventbrite page.

For more about the related exhibition, visit the website of ULITA (University of Leeds International Textile Archive).

Exhibition: A Tale of Two Persian Carpets (One by One) – The Ardabil and Coronation Carpets

Exhibition dates: 17 September 2017 – 8 July 2018

Dating to the first half of the sixteenth century, LACMA’s two spectacular Persian carpets, both the gift of J. Paul Getty, have only rarely been exhibited due in part to their size and sensitivity to light. Now, these large and sumptuous carpets will be shown sequentially, affording visitors the opportunity to see two of the world’s most renowned Persian carpets and to learn of their fascinating history before and after they left Iran. The Ardabil carpet will be on view from 17 September 2017 – 19 February 2018, and the Coronation carpet will be exhibited from 24 February – 8 July 2018.

The large number of carpets surviving from sixteenth-century Iran compared to earlier periods reflects not only a high level of carpet production but also perhaps a change in the nature of their manufacture. During this period, carpet weaving evolved from a rural, nomadic craft to a national industry and an internationally acclaimed art form, as the first shahs of the Safavid dynasty (1501–1732) established royal factories in cities such as Tabriz, Kashan, Kirman and Isfahan. The two great Persian carpets presented here belong to this period of cultural, political and religious flowering.

For more information, visit the website of LACMA, Los Angeles, USA.

Exhibition: Fibres of Life – Ikat Textiles of the Indonesian Archipelago

Exhibition dates: 15 September – 25 November 2017

The University Museum and Art Gallery (UMAG), University of Hong Kong, is pleased to announce Fibres of Life: IKAT Textiles of the Indonesian Archipelago. With the exhibition and the publication of Ikat Textiles of the Indonesian Archipelago, UMAG offers a comprehensive overview of the profusion of ikat styles found across the Indonesian archipelago, accompanied by the first detailed reference book on the subject.

Looking at OATG member Peter Ten Hoopen’s Pusaka Collection from a scholarly point of view, it is worth acknowledging how it illustrates the concept of ‘unity in diversity’, which the young state of Indonesia chose as its motto upon independence. Here, the interwovenness of styles from neighbouring island regions matter, as do their marked individuality and idiosyncrasies. Moreover, it allows for the study not just of the people’s finery, but also of their daily attire, which is lamentably absent in most collections.

An ironic illustration of the effect of this collecting method comes from Ili Mandiri on Flores. As its dark red bridewealth sarongs have been prized and venerated by the local population, this is what most sophisticated collections have aimed to obtain. The simple but lovely indigo sarongs for everyday use have been almost entirely ignored by collectors; hence, they nearly always end up worn to shreds and very few survive – rarer now than the precious and respected, hence eagerly collected, bridewealth sarongs.

What knowledge is conserved about ikat textiles and their use in the Indonesian archipelago consists primarily of the records of missionary and scientific fieldwork, predominantly compiled by non-Indonesians. The coverage is thin – many weaving regions are covered by only one or two sources, and several regions have never been studied in any detail. Much traditional knowledge is being lost, especially in the more remote island regions in the Indonesian archipelago, which require concerted effort if any trace of their culture is to survive. UMAG hopes to contribute to the broader project by means of this exhibition and publication, which show ikat culture through a close reading of examples from over fifty weaving regions and a brief introduction to the conditions, beliefs and customs of the various peoples who have created and used them. The Pusaka Collection reveals the stylistic spectrum of the archipelago’s ikat, while also showing remarkable correspondences rooted in time or sculpted by inter-island cultural exchanges. It is rich in superb and rare ikat textiles, many with few known cognates and some of them probably unique.

For more information, visit the website of the University Museum and Art Gallery, University of Hong Kong.

Event: Exploration and Experimentation – Nineteenth-Century Photography of India 


Event date: Thursday 14 September, 6pm

SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection) in Norwich, UK, invites you to an evening talk by Divia Patel, Curator, Asia Department, V&A.

Photography was introduced to India in the 1840s by European enthusiasts keen to experiment with this new technology abroad. During the following decades the development of the medium in the region was driven by war, commerce, political ambition and the pursuit of artistic excellence. In 1852 Dr John McCosh took the first photographs of Burma and just over a decade later Samuel Bourne captured the summit of the Manuring pass in the Himalayas. Using the V&A archives, this illustrated lecture will explore these and other fascinating stories behind some of the most important photographs of the region.

Divia Patel is Senior Curator for the Asian Department of the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), London. Divia is well known for her research on photography and film in India, and also for working with textiles and fashion, including her work for the recent Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A.

This is a free event and refreshments will be provided.

Please RSVP by Friday 8 September to info@sadacc.co.uk, or phone 01603 663890.

Event: Japan Textiles Workshop

Event date: Friday 1 September 2017, 23:30 pm

This event, to take place at Leeds Discovery Centre, is associated with the current exhibition Katagami – The craft of the Japanese Stencil exhibition at ULITA, which runs until 7 December 2017.

A chance to see and handle a broad range of Japanese textiles at the main store of Leeds Museums and Galleries, which has lent several pieces to the Katagami exhibition at ULITA. World Cultures Curator, Antonia Lovelace, will show examples of luxury and folk fabrics including fabulous embroidered wedding Uchikake, indigo tie-dyes, delicate appliqués and zori and geta footwear.

This event is free; however, there are limited places available. Please book by emailing discovery.centre@leeds.gov.uk, or by telephoning 0113 3782100.

Leeds Discovery Centre is on Carlisle Rd, south of the Royal Armouries. Visit leeds.gov.uk/discoverycentre for information on how to get there.

For more information, visit the website of ULITA (University of Leeds International Textile Archive).

Advert: Bark Cloth Textiles Available

Two bark cloth textiles (exact provenance unknown) are looking to be rehomed. Their owner, Anne Arlidge, describes:

“This cloth was bought by my mother in the late 1920s or early 1930s. She was travelling back to China, and I know she stopped in Java as I found among her photos an almost identical picture to that which I took about five years ago. She went on to stay with her brother who was working in Fiji, and she may have also stopped in Korea, as I found a postcard to another brother from there.

We have lived and worked in Asia for some years and so have our own collection of textiles. From 1947 the cloth hung for some years in our hall.  It was then put in the loft and not much disturbed until 40 years ago, when my husband and I explored up there.  They were returned to rest there until last year when we sold the house.

There are two pieces, one shown here (1.85 x 1.20m) and the other, longer and with simpler decoration (0.77 x 3.35m), which I have lost the image of and is carefully wrapped for storage. We have no idea of the value of these bark pieces; they may only be useful for  study, but perhaps not even that as they are so fragile.”

If you are interested in these textiles, please send a message to the OATG blogger using the contact form, and I will forward it on to Anne Arlidge.