A selection of textile events and articles

I’m starting this blog with one of the oldest textiles I have ever blogged about – a thirteenth century tunic from Lebanon.

Before conservation. © Abegg-Stiftung

The Abegg-Stiftung in Switzerland is committed to the collection, conservation and study of historical textiles. They have “been studying and conserving a group of archaeological textiles from Lebanon for several years now. The garments and accessories dating from the thirteenth century were found during excavations in the Assi el-Hadath cave in the Qadisha Valley between 1988 and 1993. Thanks to the dry climate there they are well preserved and are now prized as unique testimony to the clothes worn by a rural population during the Middle Ages. They tell us how carefully cloth was handled in those days and how even small pieces of fabric were made up into garments, which were then decorated and repaired as needed.“ – Abegg-Stiftung website

After conservation. © Abegg-Stiftung

Jelena Miloradić studied and conserved this child’s garment as part of her MA in Conservation-Restoration. A general overview of this work can be viewed here. I recommend using the magnification view to see how cleverly the netting has been used to support this textile.

Those interested in more detailed information about how this textile was conserved can find it here.

A basket from crin.

On Thursday 23 September the Embassy of Chile, Washington, will be hosting a Zoom workshop entitled Crin From Chile. Crin is horsehair weaving and “this colorful art form has its roots in a 200-year-old tradition from the city of Rari, located 310 kilometers south of Santiago, Chile.” – Textile Museum website.

Learn more about this traditional craft from Luciana Pérez of the Fundación de Artesanías de Chile, Jimena Asenjo from the Museum of Arts and Crafts of Linares and an artist from Rari. This event takes place at 11:00 Eastern Time (16:00 BST) and is free, but you do need to register.

One of the auction lots. © T W Gaze

Also on 23 September there will be an auction of vintage fabrics at Diss. This includes some Asian and African textiles, which might be of interest to some members. Thanks to Nick Fielding for informing me of this. Here is a link to the online catalogue.

One Hundred Cranes Imperial Robe Chinese, late 17th-early 18th century Qing Dynasty (1644–1911). Embroidered damask. © Nelson-Atkins Museum

On Saturday 25 September a new exhibition Weaving Splendor: Treasures of Asian Textiles opens at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City – thanks to our friends at ClothRoads for this information. Exhibits will include Chinese, Indian, Japanese and Persian textiles.

“The exhibition traces the journeys of key works of art and the people who owned them and carried them across the world. Luxurious costumes of the court performed power, while striking theater robes brought stage characters to life. Sturdy wall hangings and furniture covers transformed palaces, temples, and homes, while shimmering tapestry-woven carpets were created as diplomatic gifts for foreign rulers.“ – museum website.

Also taking place on 25 September is the opening of a new exhibition at the Penn Museum, Philadelphia, entitled The Stories We Wear. “The clothing, accessories, and decorations we put on our bodies tell stories about who we are. They shape how others see us and how we see ourselves. What we wear can prepare us for important events or transform us into someone new. It may follow tradition or a recent trend. And it can show that we belong or help us stand out. Now and in the ancient past, close to home and far away, the stories we wear connect us. Showcasing 2,500 years of style and adornment through approximately 250 remarkable objects, The Stories We Wear reveals how clothing and accessories offer powerful expressions of identity—examining the purpose and meaning behind what we wear.” – Penn Museum.

On the same day the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California will host a talk by Dr Anne Tiballi of the Penn Museum entitled Threads and Themes of The Stories We Wear. Dr Tiballi was a consultant for the exhibition and in this talk she will “dig deep into several of the exhibitions ‘outfits’, making connections between the technological skill, creativity, and cultural significance of the peoples who made and wore them.  ….. the items she will discuss include a Pre-Columbian Andean warp-patterned tunic, headband, and bag; a Qing Dynasty Chinese court costume; and early 20th century coconut fibre armour from Kiribati, a Mongolian silk deel and boots, and a Hopi wedding dress.” – TMASC

This free talk begins at 10:00 PDT, which is 18:00 BST. Please click here to register.

A reminder that the new exhibition Gold of the Great Steppe opens at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge next week. The Saka culture of Central Asia, flourished 2,500 years ago. This exhibition will present artefacts from the extraordinary burial mounds (kurgans) of the Saka people of East Kazakhstan. Several hundred gold items will be on display, including jewellery and horse harness decorations. What does this have to do with textiles you may ask? Special items of clothing were sometimes decorated with small gold embossed plaques, some of which will be on display.

A curator’s introduction to the exhibition will take place online next Wednesday 29 September at 13:15 BST. You can register for tickets here.

A robe from The Spirit Wraps Around You exhibition

Finally I would like to recommend a blog just published by Catherine Tutter entitled Dance of the Raven’s Tail, Part III.

In it she describes her experience of seeing the ‘Sky’ robe created by Evelyn Vanderhoop of the Haida Nation. It is shown next to a tunic created by Evelyn’s mother, Dolores Churchill. Catherine also includes links to a couple of videos by Evelyn, which are well worth watching. Evelyn and Dolores were also heavily involved with the exhibition The Spirit Wraps Around You, which I have blogged about several times this year. A reminder that a video tour of the exhibition can be accessed here.

Exhibition: At the Seams – A Political History of Palestinian Embroidery

Palestinian Museum - At the Seams

Exhibition dates: 25 May – 30 July 2016

At the Seams is the Palestinian Museum’s first international satellite exhibition. Curated by Rachel Dedman, it opened in May at Dar el-Nimer for Arts and Culture in Beirut, Lebanon. The exhibition, which includes items from the fascinating collections of Widad Kawar and Malak al-Husseini Abdulrahim, casts a critical look at the role of embroidery in shaping historic and contemporary Palestinian politics and culture. Based on years of research and fieldwork, and featuring newly commissioned videos, At the Seams is interested in the history of embroidery beyond 1948, exploring its role in nationalism, resistance and the practice of Palestinian identity today.

If you can’t get to Lebanon to see the exhibition in person, you can still watch the video clips in which ten women speak about their embroidery. I highly recommend them.

For more information, and a short video about the exhibition, visit the website of the Palestinian Museum, near Ramallah, Palestine.