Exhibition: Diligence and Elegance – The Nature of Japanese Textiles

Exhibition dates: 12 July 2017 – 21 January 2018

Diligence and Elegance: The Nature of Japanese Textiles presents over 50 textiles and garments from the Textile Museum of Canada’s collection of nineteenth and twentieth-century artifacts made in Japan for both everyday and occasional use. Luxurious silk and gold fabrics produced in Kyoto’s professional weaving workshops are juxtaposed with domestic indigo-dyed cotton, plant-fibre cloth, and silk kimonos crafted in an astonishing spectrum of time-honoured techniques – weaving, dyeing, hand painting, gold foil application and embroidery – that exemplify venerable social and cultural values. The exhibition focuses on the highly refined skills and materials by which textiles have been constructed and decorated over centuries, and on how diligence and ingenuity have shaped their timeless beauty. The persistence of traditions seen in such rigorously executed textiles has come to embody the heart of Japanese aesthetics. Every material, colour and technique has a story to tell.

Diligence and Elegance features the contemporary work of Hiroko Karuno and Keiko Shintani, two Japanese-Canadians whose consummate craftsmanship and philosophies are profoundly connected to the evolution of Japanese textile traditions of spinning, dyeing and weaving. Their internationally renowned artistic achievements are testimony to the ethics of labour associated with a lifelong investment of time, practice and precision; they position living traditions as opportunities for personal reflection and the acknowledgement of the significance of collective human accomplishments.

For more information, visit the website of the Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto, Canada.

Event: Block Printing Study Day at the Joss Graham Gallery

Event date: Saturday 15 July 2017

John Gillow, well known author and authority on world textiles and Sevanti Roy, textile designer and practitioner, will share their expertise with discussion, demonstrations and practical workshops.

Try your hand at block printing!
10am – 1pm morning session (demonstration and practical workshop with Sevanti Roy)
2pm – 3pm talk by John Gillow
3pm – 6pm afternoon session (demonstration and practical workshop with Sevanti Roy)

Cost £45 per session. All materials supplied.
Places are limited, so booking is essential. Call or email the gallery to book a place (see details below).

JOSS GRAHAM GALLERY
10 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LT
tel: 020 7730 4370
info@jossgraham.com

Exhibition: Chintz – Cotton in Bloom

Exhibition dates: 11 March – 10 September 2017

The Museum of Friesland in Leeuwarden presents a major exhibition of its extensive and well-preserved collection of chintz: the shiny, floral, hand-painted cotton from India that conquered sixteenth-century Europe. The beautiful patterns feel familiar while at the same time convey a special story. Objects displayed range from skirts, jackets, sun hats and regional clothing to wall hangings and blankets. The exhibition Chintz  Cotton in Bloom takes the visitor on a journey from India to Hindeloopen, Indonesia and Japan.

Chintz  Cotton in Bloom shows the wide variety of colourful floral patterns on skirts and jackets, as well as huge wapenpalempores (bedspreads larger than 3.5 x 2.5 metres with a coat of arms). The regional clothing demonstrates how the chintz was cherished and preserved. The visitor discovers the special techniques of this craft and how chintz played an important role in the world in the seventeenth century. In addition, the exhibition shows that chintz still inspires new initiatives in the field of handicrafts. Together with the Textiel Factorij, the Museum of Friesland presents contemporary works by Dutch artists and designers made with Indian craftsmen.

For more information, visit the website of the Fries Museum, Netherlands.

Exhibition: Lucienne Day – A Sense of Growth

Exhibition dates: 14 April – 16 July 2017

Best known for her textiles, Lucienne Day (1917–2010) is recognised as a virtuoso pattern designer and colourist. Lucienne Day was also an enthusiastic gardener, and plant forms inspired many of her textile designs. This exhibition was opened as part of the nationwide Lucienne Day centenary celebrations.

The show is part of the Whitworth’s GROW project that promotes the benefits of engaging in horticultural activities to improve mental wellbeing. Groups and individuals within the local community who are experiencing social isolation or dealing with issues around mental health will work with Paula Day from the Robin and Lucienne Day Foundation to select works to display from the Whitworth’s extensive archive of Lucienne Day designs.

For more information, visit the website of the Whitworth Gallery, Manchester, UK.

Exhibition: Barbara Brown

Exhibition dates: 17 March – December 2017

Barbara Brown was the golden girl of Heal’s Fabrics in the 1960s and early 1970s. Talent-spotted as a student, her designs for furnishing fabrics are some of the most striking and unusual ever produced in the twentieth century and won awards from the Council of Industrial Design. This is the first major solo exhibition of her work in the UK.

For more information, visit the website of the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, UK.

Exhibition: Josef Franks – Patterns, Furniture, Painting

fashion-textile-museum-josef-frank

Exhibition dates: 28 January – 7 May 2017

Explore the work of designer and artist Josef Frank (1885–1967) in the first-ever UK exhibition of his textiles. The Austrian-born architect moved to Sweden in 1933, where he developed his colourful brand of modernism, working with Estrid Ericson on furniture, glassware, lighting and interior design ideas. Together they redefined what is regarded as Swedish Modern. This exhibition in association with Millesgården, Stockholm highlights Frank’s vibrant fabric designs for Svenskt Tenn alongside a number of his previously unknown watercolours.

While this isn’t Asian, by any stretch of the imagination, I saw an exhibition of Josef Frank’s work in Vienna this time last year (possibly the very same one), and I can highly recommend it.

For more information, visit the website of the Fashion and Textile Museum, London.

Exhibition: Japan – Modern. Elise Wessels Collection

Rijksmuseum - Japan. Modern. Elise Wessels Collection

Exhibition dates: 24 June – 11 September 2016 

For the first time ever, the Rijksmuseum will be presenting 170 Japanese prints from the Elise Wessels Collection, picturing Japan’s rapid modernization during the opening decades of the twentieth century. Alongside prints, the exhibition will feature kimonos and lacquerware from the Jan Dees and René van der Star Collection and posters on loan from the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo.

In the early 1900s, Japan was booming. Its modern urban centres offered a fertile climate for burgeoning industries and gave rise to new forms of leisure. As in Europe and America, women were pushing back old boundaries, forging a new model of the ‘modern girl’. Alongside optimism, there was also a prevailing sense of nostalgia, fed by feelings of uncertainty. In this era of vast change, the past was glorified as an ideal.

With Japan in the midst of this whirlwind development, a devastating earthquake struck in 1923, ravaging the city of Tokyo and many towns and villages for miles around. Work immediately began on reconstruction of the country’s capital, putting the pace of modernization into an even higher gear. Synthetic fabrics made clothing, including kimonos, more affordable, and in their window displays the new department stores showcased the latest fashions to tempt shoppers. By 1930, Tokyo was a modern world metropolis that bore little resemblance to the city it had been just a few decades earlier.

Dedicated to Japanese prints from the first half of the twentieth century, the Elise Wessels Collection is unique in the Netherlands and among the best in the world from this period outside Japan. The collection currently contains some 2,000 prints of exceptional quality, collected over a twenty-five-year time span. With a large selection of prints in both the Shin hanga and Sōsaku hanga styles represented, the collection is furthermore unusual in offering a virtually comprehensive overview of Japanese printmaking during this period.

For more information, visit the website of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Event: Book Launch – The Cloth of the Mother Goddess

SADACC - Cloth of the Mother Goddess

Event date: Thursday 14 April, 6pm

The Cloth of the Mother Goddess by Jagdish Chitara is a limited-edition artists’ book consisting of a sequence of folding panels, designed to invoke pre-modern – and particularly Asian – traditions of bookmaking. It has been made by hand from block-printed cloth panels. Each book is a work of art, which recreates a ritual Indian textile art form known as Mata-Ni-Pachedi.

The book’s editor, Arun Wolf, is giving a talk next week at SADACC (South Asian Decorative Arts & Crafts Collection) in Norwich. He will be talking about the traditions and processes behind the book, alongside a short film that provides a glimpse into the artist Jagdish Chitara’s work.

Entry is free and refreshments will be provided.

To order the book online, visit the publisher’s website: Tara Books.

To find out more about SADACC, visit their website.

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

Event: Imprints of Culture – Block Printing Demonstration

Bonington Gallery - Imprints of Culture, block printing demonstration

Event date: Saturday 19 March 2016, 10am–4pm

In addition to the ‘Imprints of Culture’ exhibition (blogged about here), which is open from Monday to Friday, there will be a special opening at the Bonington Gallery on Saturday 19 March when ajrakh printer Abduljabbar M. Khatri from Dhamadka village in Kachchh district, Gujarat will be in residence in the gallery demonstrating the basics of block printing. Visa-permitting, he will be joined by Shakil Ahmed Khatri from Mundra village, also in Kachchh, who will show the basics of wax printing.

For anyone who is interested to find out more about Indian block printing, curator Eiluned Edwards has also recently published a book on the subject: Block Printed Textiles of India: Imprints of Culture (pub. Niyogi Books, 2016), which she will be selling in the Bonington Gallery, and which is also available on Amazon for those unable to get to the exhibition.

If any OATG members are planning on attending this event, Eiluned asks that you get in touch and let her know, as she will keep an eye out for you at the gallery and can provide directions for parking. (You can reach her by leaving a message on the ‘About‘ page of the blog, and I will forward your message on.)

For more information about this event, visit the website of the Bonington Gallery, Nottingham.

Event: Fabrications – Designing for Silk in the Eighteenth Century

Courtauld - Designing for Silk in the Eighteenth Century

Event date: Saturday 5 March 2016, 9:15am – 6:30pm

The Courtauld Institute is running a day-long conference next month on eighteenth-century textile design. Although not strictly within the remit of ‘Asian textiles’, there is no doubt that European textile design in the eighteenth century owes a lot to oriental influences, and so I expect this will appeal to a number of OATG members. This conference is organised by Lesley Miller of the V&A Museum, and speakers include Giorgio Riello (Warwick University) and Maximilien Durand (Director of the Musée des tissus et des arts décoratifs de Lyon).

Joubert de la Hiberderie’s Le Dessinateur d’étoffes d’or, d’argent, et de soie (1765) was the first book to be published on textile design in Europe. In preparation for the publication of an English translation and critical edition of the text, this one-day conference will analyse, critique and contextualise Le dessinateur in the light of its themes: production, design, technology, education, botany and art. Joubert’s manual argues for both a liberal and a technological education for the ideal designer. Such a person must, he argues, have detailed knowledge of the materials, technologies and traditions of patterned silk in order successfully to propose new designs; he or she must also have taste and an eye for beauty, which call, he says, for travel in order to see both the beauties of nature and those of art gathered in the gardens and galleries of Paris and the île de France.

For more information, visit the website of the Courtauld Institute, London.