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.

Exhibition: Imprints of Culture – Block Printed Textiles of India

Bonington Gallery - Imprints of Culture

Exhibition dates: 26 February – 24 March 2016

Curated by OATG member, Eiluned Edwards, ‘Imprints of Culture’ explores the contemporary production and use of Indian block prints. Like few other objects, block prints embody richly diverse histories that have been shaped by trade, conquest and colonisation, technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

This exhibition shows how block printing, one of India’s foremost crafts, has not only played a role in the ritual life of the subcontinent but also in the creation of visual identity. Integral to caste dress and modern urban style, block prints have been a significant source of revenue through centuries of domestic and international trade.

This show includes block prints from leading centres of the craft in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and includes traditional designs as well as innovations. It has been developed in collaboration with block printers in these areas as well as fashion designer, Aneeth Arora.

To read an interview with Eiluned Edwards about this exhibition, visit the Aesthethica Magazine website.

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

Textile Tidbits: Eiluned Edwards Interview about Indian Block Prints

Aesthetica - Eiluned Edwards interview on Block Printed Textiles

This Textile Tidbit is an interview with OATG member Eiluned Edwards, who has curated the exhibition ‘Imprints of Culture’ at Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, in which she explores the contemporary production and use of Indian block prints.

Like few other objects, block prints embody richly diverse histories that have been shaped by trade, conquest and colonisation, technological innovation and entrepreneurship. The exhibition shows how block printing, one of India’s foremost crafts, has not only played a role in the ritual life of the subcontinent but also in the creation of visual identity. Integral to caste dress and modern urban style, block prints have been a significant source of revenue through centuries of domestic and international trade. The show includes block prints from leading centres of the craft in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh, and includes traditional designs as well as innovations. It has been developed in collaboration with block printers in these areas as well as fashion designer, Aneeth Arora.

To read the interview on the Aesthetica Magazine website, click here.

Exhibition: Threads of Memory – Kutch Revisited

Joss Graham - Threads of Memory - Kutch Revisited

Exhibition dates: 3 – 28 November 2015

Joss Graham’s autumn exhibition is dedicated to the magnificent textile traditions of Kutch, Western India. Featuring folk embroideries, appliqué and beadwork, festive wall hangings, tie-dyed silk shawls and block-printed cottons, it promises to be a feast of colour and craftsmanship.

The exhibition will be held at the Joss Graham Gallery, 10 Eccleston Street, London, SW1W 9LT

For more information, visit the website of the Joss Graham Gallery, London.

Exhibition: Textile Design – East and West

GRAD - Textile Design East and West

Exhibition dates: 1 July – 17 October 2015

GRAD (Gallery for Russian Arts and Design) presents a groundbreaking exhibition that challenges preconceptions about the history of modern textile design in Russia, Britain and the United States. Curated by GRAD’s Alexandra Chiriac and Elena Sudakova, the exhibition offers a unique opportunity to see rare pieces from prestigious collections.

The display showcases twentieth-century textile design by bringing together rarely seen items, including fabric samples, items of clothing and original designs on paper, drawing on loans from the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Imperial War Museum, and the Central St Martins Museum in London; the Paul and Karen Rennie Collection in Folkestone; and the Mayakovsky Museum in Moscow. By placing innovative Russian textiles alongside their Western counterparts, the exhibition explores the universal appeal of these designs and reflects on the creative exchanges between East and West. The result is a treasure trove of experimental design covering the late 1910s to the mid-1940s in Britain, Russia and the United States.

For more information, visit the GRAD website.