Exhibition: Portable Storage: Tribal Weavings from the Collection of William and Inger Ginsberg

Exhibition dates: 25 September 2017 – 7 May 2018, New York

 

Woven bags carried by nomads in the Middle East were designed to contain all of the necessities of life, from bedding to salt. This exhibition highlights 19 distinctly patterned examples of woven bags from nomadic cultures in Iran, Turkey, and the Caucasus, along with one striking pile-woven saddle cover. Featuring geometric patterns as well as stylised floral and animal motifs, these textiles are both utilitarian and expressive of a highly sophisticated tribal aesthetic.  The exhibition also includes an Islamic painting from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection that illustrates bags and trappings in use in traditional society.

For more information visit the website of the Metropolitan Museum

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Event: Atayal Weavers of Taiwan Demonstration

Event dates: 11 May 2018 and 12 May 2018, British Library, London

The Atayal people of Taiwan are known for their ancient textile-weaving traditions. Join weavers Shu-li Lin and Hsiu-yu Chen for workshops and demonstrations exploring Atayal weaving techniques. This event is part of London Craft Week and has been organised in association with the Ministry of Culture, Taiwan.

Weaver Shu-li Lin is based in Miaoli County, Taiwan. She studied the Atayal tradition of dyeing and waving from the elders in her community, preserving their traditional weaving skills and techniques.  Combining Atayal dyeing skills with modern design elements in colour, texture and practice, her work explores environmental protection and sustainability.

Hsiu-yu Chen started weaving 12 years ago with hook and loom as a way to connect to her heritage and understand the experiences of the Atayal people, who made clothes and quilts using this method. The process of collecting the raw material, ramie, and then harvesting, cutting and peeling it, was deeply ingrained in her memories from childhood.

For further information on this free event visit the website of the London Craft Week

Exhibition: A Taste for the Exotic – European Silks of the 18th Century

 

 

Exhibition dates: 29 April – 11 November 2018

Glamorous fashion in the eighteenth century entailed first and foremost wearing lavishly patterned silks. While the cuts of both ladies’ gowns and men’s attire scarcely changed, new fabric pattern collections came out regularly. Several trends developed. Common to all is a preference for strange-looking motifs and extravagant compositions redolent of exotic worlds. The textile designers who created them were clearly inspired by much sought-after wares imported to Europe by sea from the Near and Far East.

The new exhibition at the Abegg-Stiftung, near Bern, Switzerland,  presents a selection of these brightly coloured silks decorated with chinoiseries or with “bizarre” motifs, as the fantastical designs defying description are now known. The show also includes silks with exotic fruits and plants that were hardly known in Europe at the time, as well as some with intricate patterns reminiscent of oriental ornamentation. The textiles on view in this special exhibition represent a union of exquisite materials, astonishing creativity and technical accomplishment – a fascinating combination that for several decades held sway over genteel society’s taste in fashion.

For more information visit the website of the Abegg-Stiftung

Event: Indonesian Textiles at the Crossroads of Culture

Event dates: 20th-21st April 2018, London.

This two-day event at the Embassy of Indonesia will begin with the launch of a new book on Indonesian textiles entitled Nusawastra Silang Budaya. In it the author, Quoriena Ginting, shares her love for these pieces, describing 250 textiles from across the archipelago. There will also be discussions on batik, songket and ikat, as well as a guided tour of the textile exhibition. The programme also includes the opportunity to take part in a batik workshop – but places for this are strictly limited.

For more details, including how to register, click here

 

Event: Legend of the Loom – film and talk

 

Event date: Thursday 12th April, Barbican, London

The 3rd London Bengali Film Festival launches at the Barbican with the red carpet UK premiere of the documentary ‘Legend of the Loom,’ focusing on the Muslin cloth, trade and demise of the industry.

Researched and scripted by Saiful Islam, the film covers the story from the first foreigners to come to Bengal in search of its fine textiles, the establishment of empires and the opening of trade routes which began to connect the subcontinent to the wider world. Along the way, weavers, farmers, experts, designers, scientists and artisan’s give their views, add nuggets of information and display techniques which make the story come alive.

The film is introduced by Saiful Islam (CEO-Drik (Bengal Muslin), who is also be leading the Q&A after the film.

For more information and to book visit the website of the Barbican

Exhibition: A World of Looms – Weaving Technology and Textile Arts in China and Beyond

Exhibition dates: 30 May – 15 September 2018, Hangzhou, China

This is the first exhibition in China to present the rich cultural heritage of looms and weaving technologies from around the world. It celebrates the marches of textile innovations in not only China, but also in a broader context of textile traditions over vast geographical areas. The exhibition will be divided into three galleries – China, Eurasia, Americas and Africa – each featuring a representative selection of looms. These range from recently excavated archaeological findings, through to Jacquard looms and multi-shaft looms.

Conference: 31 May 2018

A one-day conference runs concurrently with the exhibition A World of Looms and features many distinguished textile scholars including OATG member Chris Buckley. The presentations are very diverse and cover loom technology from China, Japan, Laos, Indonesia, Iran, Africa, and the Andes. Admission is free, but reservations are recommended.

For more information on both the exhibition and the conference click here

Article: Alive with artisans – Cairo’s al-Darb al-Ahmar district – a photo essay

 

 

“Whatever manufactured items there are in the world,” wrote the Ottoman traveller Evliya Çelebi in 1671, “the poor of Cairo get hold of them, set them out and trade in them.” Nearly 350 years later, this tradition lives on in al-Darb al-Ahmar. This neighbourhood of 100,000 people, south-east of central Cairo, is said to be home to a thousand workshops. The place teems with artisans crafting everything from tents, books, boxes and brass lanterns to glass bowls and silk carpets.

The Street of the Tentmakers captures this commercial spirit. Built in 1650 as an arcade, this covered street is a succession of workrooms whose interiors are lined with decorative textiles. From his cubic cavity in the Ottoman-era wall, a weaver called Hasan says that al-khayyamiya, the craft of tentmaking, goes back to the time of the pharaohs. Some of today’s weavers are descended from the families who would produce the kiswa, the fabric that covered the great stone at Mecca, as well as tents, cloths and saddles for those setting out on pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest site.

This article gives an excellent overview of this district of Cairo with its weavers, dyers, bookbinders, carpet makers, glass blowers and lantern makers, explaining how many of the buildings have been restored with the help of the Aga Khan Development Network.

To read the full article visit the website of the Guardian

A free exhibition of photographs entitled The artisans of al-Darb al-Ahmar: life and work in historic Cairo is also taking place from 23 March – 24 April at the Royal Geographical Society in London.

For more information visit their website here

Article: From lotus pond to high fashion

 

 

INLE, Myanmar: If there should be any textile fitting for faith and devotion, a piece of fine fabric meticulously woven by hand from the delicate fibres of tens of thousands of lotus stems is no doubt one of the top contenders.

“A square metre of this fabric requires at least 20,000 lotus stems and takes a skilled artisan 40 days to produce,” said Myint Thein Htun, owner of the established lotus weaving centre Khit Sunn Yin.

The lotus’ beauty, symbolic of purity of the mind in Buddhism, inspired the devout artisan to turn its delicate filaments into a monk robe – a sacred offering of passionate devotion and purity of the soul. Legend has it that Sa Oo spent one whole year extracting and weaving lotus fibres into an exquisite garment for an abbot she revered.

“The stem is long and fresh in deep water but short and weak in shallow areas,” said Myint Thein Htun. His family has been making lotus fabric for four generations and is renowned for its expertise in the craft.

“If we harvest in the dry season when the mud is less fertile, the stem won’t be strong enough.”

After the harvest, each stem is gently cut with a fine blade and carefully pulled apart to expose the delicate fibres within. These almost transparent filaments are then rolled on a moist surface into a thread.

To read the full article visit the website of  CHANNEL NEWSASIA

 

Event: Block Printing and Bhujodi Weaving Workshops

Block Printing & Bhujodi Weaving Workshops by Textile Artists from Kutch, India

Two workshops will be held in Hammersmith, London this April. These will be led by Indian National Award Winner Ajrakh Block Printer – Abdulrauf Khatri, and renowned traditional weaver from Bhujodi – Vankar Murji Hamir.

This is the perfect opportunity for textile lovers to also participate in a Workshop & Masterclass under the guidance of the artists themselves.

Venue : The Bhavan’s, London W14 9HE


Traditional Kutchi Shawl Weaving Masterclass & Workshop
Each workshop has a maximum of eight attendees and all materials will be provided at the workshop.

Dates :
April 20, 2018 11AM-4PM
April 22, 2018 11AM-4PM

Tickets: £135.00 per person
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/workshop-and-masterclass-on-traditional-kutchi-shawl-weaving-by-vankar-murji-hamir-from-kutch-india-tickets-43491374873


Ajrakh Block Printing Masterclass & Workshop
Each workshop has a maximum of eight attendees and all materials will be provided at the workshop.

Dates :
April 19, 2018 11AM-4PM
April 21, 2018 11AM-4PM

Tickets: £135.00 per person
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/workshop-and-masterclass-on-hand-block-printing-ajrakh-by-abdulrauf-khatri-indian-national-award-tickets-43290653510

There will also be an exhibition and sale at The Bhavan’s during the days of the workshops. Admission to the exhibition is free. The exhibition focusses on block printed naturally dyed Ajrakh textiles by Abdulrauf Khatri, and handwoven traditional Kutchi textiles by Vankar Murji Hamir. Also on display will be jewellery designed by Sanskara Designs which reflect the spirit of Kutch, and textiles inspired by the embroideries, prints and weaves of Kutch by The Far East Art Studio.

Dates :

April 19, 2018 3:00 pm – 7:30 pm

April 20, 2018 11:30 am – 7:30 pm

April 21, 2018 11:00 am – 7:30 pm

April 22, 2018 11:30 am – 4:00 pm

For full information visit the website of The Bhavan here

Article: Master Weavers of Bhujodi

 

 

Up until fifty years ago, weaving was not an year-round activity. Bhujodi’s inhabitants dedicated half of the year to farming, and the other half to weaving. But due to climatic shifts that caused inconsistency of the monsoon and its consequential lack of water, farming became less reliable. In order to sustain a living, the shift to weaving became the community’s main livelihood.

The village of Bhujodi is now full of weavers. But how does one distinguish the quality of a weaver’s work from that of another, beyond that relative degree of “taste” that one may own, or years of expertise most people do not possess? Dinesh’s response is humorous and poignant: “It’s just like handwriting. Some have good handwriting, some have bad handwriting.”

Good weavers work with their mind. The mind needs to “see” the pieces. Some people do not see it. But those who have been the benefactors of generational continuity see it. According to Dinesh, it is not just about weaving–the mind needs to be trained. They have lived with the art and have been weaving for generations so they recognise what quality needs to be.

Read more about these master weavers, along with some stunning photography and video on the Moo Won website