Exhibition: Colors of the Oasis – Central Asian Ikats

Exhibition dates: 12 March – 4 June 2017

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats showcases nearly fifty ikat robes and panels from the renowned Murad Megalli Collection of the Textile Museum in Washington DC.

These bold garments were mainstays of cosmopolitan oasis culture in the nineteenth century, worn by inhabitants of different classes and religions throughout crowded marketplaces, private homes, centres of worship and ceremonial places. The ikat textiles on display – including robes for men and women, dresses, trousers and hangings – feature eye-catching designs in dazzling colours.

Supplementing the ikats are historical photographs and didactic materials about the tradition of their creation. The textiles were originally produced in the 1800s in weaving centres across Uzbekistan, including Bukhara, Samarkand and the Fergana Valley.

Additionally, special installations of ikat textiles from India, Japan and Central Asia – on view in the museum’s permanent galleries in the Law Building – demonstrate ikat traditions from around the globe.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA.

Exhibition: Textiles from Sumba, Indonesia

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Exhibition dates: this is an online exhibition, available to view indefinitely

A special exhibition of textiles from Sumba, curated by HALI contributing editor Thomas Murray and drawing from his extensive collection, is available to view online. It begins:

“The island of Sumba may be found on a map between Bali and New Guinea but it exists in its own world, far apart from those antipodal lands. Divided east and west by language and environmental conditions, the west tends to be more wet and green and the east, dryer.

Sumbanese religion, Marapu, recognizes that a dualistic symmetry exists in the universe, that of male and female, hot and cold, sun and moon, cloth and metal. Here there are good and bad spirits hovering nearby, needing ritual offerings on a regular basis. The ancestors must most especially be cared for.

Sumba is thus home to one of the strongest animistic tribal societies found in Indonesia, perhaps most famous for its notorious custom of cutting off the heads of enemies and placing them on the branches of a designated tree, the pohon andung, at the entrance of the village. Such trees represented the Tree of Life as well as serving to remind viewers of the power of the raja.

Sumba has a rich megalithic heritage, featuring giant stone tomb memorials. Sumbanese houses, particularly the customary houses found in royal villages, known as rumah adat, are understood to be cosmic diagrams, with the underworld of the animals below, the mid-level for human habitation and the high roof being the realm of the ancestors. This is also the place where the pusaka heirloom treasures are stored, to be closer to the departed souls; precious gold jewelry and fabulously rare and beautiful textiles were kept just under the peak of the roof on both sides of the island. But the art of weaving and dyeing achieved greatest heights in the east, with ikat textiles adding bright colors to the dusty brown background of this, the dry side of the island.”

To view the exhibition, visit Thomas Murray’s website.

Event: Indigo – From Texts to Textiles

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Event date: Wednesday 15 March 2017, 9.30 am 11.30 am

Indigo, ‘King of Dyes’, has been in continuous use for over six millennia, traded worldwide for use as blue dye, paint pigment and medicine. Its unique chemistry makes it suited to all types of textiles, whether prestige silks or popular blue jeans, as well as paint for frescoes, manuscripts, etc.

In this richly illustrated talk, to be held at the Bodleian Library, Jenny Balfour Paul, author of three books on indigo, international lecturer and traveller, will cover all aspects of this beautiful and fascinating blue, as well as indigo’s increasing popularity as a sustainable dye.

Booking: This event is free but places are limited so please complete the online booking form to reserve tickets in advance.

For more information, visit the website of the Bodleian Library, Oxford.

Event: Pasold Research Fund Conference – Colour in Cloth

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Event date: 10–11 April 2017

CALL FOR PAPERS

From initial design to production and dissemination, colour is central to the manufacture and use of cloth and clothing.  This international conference will explore the various and multifarious relationships between colour and textiles, from dyeing and distribution, to chromatics and conservation.  Through a combination of papers and workshops, it will demonstrate new and continuing research through historical, theoretical and practical investigation, drawing on interdisciplinary expertise that includes history, archaeology, conservation, sustainable futures, design and material culture.

The conference will be held over two days and in two locations: the University of Glasgow and the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art.  These two cities represent the diverse heritage of textile manufacture and design in Scotland, from the industrial scale Turkey red dyed and printed cottons, to the artisanal tapestry workshop of the Dovecot and design education. The conference will celebrate the differences of these two cities, as well as drawing on what unites them and the wider world through the history and current practice in colour and textiles.  Day One will be held in Glasgow and will consist of papers that deal with the history and theory of colour and textile design, production and use, in addition to contemporary practice within the field.  On Day Two we will hold complementary and exploratory hands-on workshops and site visits in Edinburgh, exploring the history, theory and study of textiles through practical and innovative means.

The organisers particularly welcome proposals that combine a paper and complementary workshop idea, but also encourage individual papers (20 mins) or workshop proposals (expected to last 11.5 hours) that examine textiles and colour in theory and practice.  Working under the wider umbrella themes of the production, consumption and conservation of colour in cloth, suggested themes for paper and workshop proposals include, but are not limited to:

  • Scotland and the world
  • Science and technology
  • Colour and perception
  • Colour, fashion, trend
  • Colourless or the absence of colour
  • Learning with colour and textiles

Limited student bursaries will be available.
Titles and abstracts (200 words) for papers and/or workshops, should be sent to Sally Tuckett Sally.Tuckett@glasgow.ac.uk and Lindy Richardson l.richardson@ed.ac.uk  by Monday 16th January 2017. 

For more information, visit the website of the Pasold Research Fund.

Exhibition: Bingata! Only in Okinawa

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Exhibition dates: 5 November 2016 – 30 January 2017

Okinawa, Japan’s southernmost prefecture, was an independent kingdom until 1879, with its own language, culture, and distinctive textile traditions. This special showing at the Textile Museum, Washington DC, of textile treasures from Okinawan museum collections features brightly coloured bingata – traditional resist-dyed fabrics – and contemporary works by Okinawan artists and fashion designers.

For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum, Washington DC, USA.

Exhibition: Striking Patterns – Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion Design

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Exhibition dates: 21 October 2016 – 26 March 2017

In eastern Indonesia and Timor-Leste people wear hand-woven, decorative ikat cloths as a mark of prestige and to flaunt their taste for fashion at festive events. Ikat is a form of art in which the yarn is tied and dyed – the Indonesian term ‘ikat’ means ‘to tie’ – before weaving. Woven into the patterns are myths, rituals, recent historical events, imported motifs as well as new fashion trends. Ever since they began producing ikat, weavers have incorporated foreign influences. Relying on old pieces from the museum’s exceptional collections as well as new cloths, including contemporary interpretations by Ito Joyoatmojo and Susi Kramer, the exhibition Striking Patterns: Global Traces in Local Ikat Fashion illuminates the development of the tradition, illustrating how these highly skilled weavers have already long been part of the process of globalization.

Become enthralled by beautiful shoulder cloths, hip wraps and sarongs! This exhibition unfolds a sea of flowers. In particular, the Indian eight-pointed flower features in almost endless variations, accompanied by a rain of European roses. Animals populate the cloths, just as tourists do. We also find Catholic motifs in the shape of crucifixes and angels, while synthetic yarns and bright
colours lend some of the exhibits a radiant touch of modern fashion.

This exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue, published in German and English.

For more information, visit the website of the Museum der Kulturen, Basel, Switzerland.

Event: My Dream of Heritage – Chinese Traditional Handicrafts Design Exhibition

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Event date: 24–26 November 2016 (see times below)

The Oxford Chinese Innovation Club are delighted to invite twenty-six craftsmen – heirs of China’s state-level intangible cultural heritage – to show their works this weekend at Hertford College, Oxford. More than ten categories of Chinese traditional handicrafts will be exhibited, including lacquerware, cloisonné, wood carving, batik and many others. Aimed at bringing the Chinese dream of cultural heritage to an international audience, this exhibition will be an excellent opportunity to get a taste of traditional Chinese art and sense the spirit of Chinese craftspeople.

At our exhibition, you will be able to:

  • Watch live demonstrations of handicrafts being made by top Chinese craftspeople
  • Make traditional handicrafts yourself, such as batik, kites, dough figurines and rabbit gods
  • Watch live performances of some of the most typical forms of traditional Chinese performance, such as Guqin, Kun opera, Peking opera, and marionette
  • Have a chance to purchase your favourite handcrafts, which combine the finest traditional handicrafts with contemporary design

Come and join us to discover the beauty of traditional Chinese art and be ready to get inspired!

Opening ceremony: 56 pm, Friday 25 November (refreshments will be served before the ceremony)

Exhibition (drop by any time to visit the exhibition):

2–4 pm Thursday 24 November

2–9 pm Friday 25 and Saturday 26 November

For more information, visit this event’s Eventbrite page.

Event: Deeper than Indigo – Jenny Balfour Paul speaks at the Pitt Rivers Museum

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Event date: Wednesday 16 November, 6 pm

Jenny Balfour Paul (of the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, Exeter University) will give an illustrated account of her adventures in the heartlands of India’s Raj, Polynesia, the South China Seas and Arabia, in search of Thomas Machell, indigo planter and explorer, whose remarkable journals she found in the British Library.

This event promises to be quite popular.  The maximum capacity of the Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room is 70 and, rather than have to turn people away on the evening, the Friends of the Pitt Rivers have decided to set up a booking system.  Tickets are free of charge, but you do need to reserve your place.

Location: Pitt Rivers Museum Lecture Room, Oxford

To book your free place at this event, visit the Eventbrite booking page.

Event: Bingata! Only in Okinawa: Textiles and Traditions of the Ryukyu Kingdom

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Event date: Saturday 5 November 2016, 9am – 5pm

The Textile Museum, Washington DC, USA – 2016 Fall Symposium

Known as the Ryukyu Kingdom until 1879, Okinawa has a rich tradition of textile production and design, including the unique resist-dye method known as bingata. Inspired by the exhibition Bingata! Only in Okinawa, the 2016 fall symposium will feature five distinguished scholars from Okinawa – folklorists, curators and historians of textiles and theatre – who will provide a broader context for Okinawa’s celebrated textile art.

Online registration for the 2016 fall symposium is now open.
Rates: $40/museum members; $50/public.

For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum, Washington DC, USA.

Exhibition: World Ikat Textiles – Ties That Bind

Brunei Gallery - World Ikat Textiles

Exhibition dates: 15 April – 25 June 2016

This exhibition celebrates the rich legacy of ikat, an age-old textile technique stretching across the continents of the world. This unique collection brings together an array of priceless pieces of ikat textiles with live demonstrations by master weavers, a symposium, film screenings and a book display. This program reflects the World Crafts Council’s global commitment to nurture, promote and revive precious indigenous craft skills. It also serves to connect the skilled practitioners from across these diverse regions to contemporary society and promote greater awareness of the handwoven tradition and its innovation.

There is also a series of events scheduled in relation to this exhibition:
· Thursday 14 April: Opening of exhibition with focal lobby display on ‘mud-mee’ ikat textiles of Thailand
· Friday 13 May: Focal lobby display changes to Indian ikat textiles.
· Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 May: Symposium ‘Ikat Textiles Ties That Bind (Past, Present and Future)’
· Thursday 9 June: Focal lobby display changes to Central Asian ikat textiles with supporting event.

For more information, visit the website of the Brunei Gallery, London.