New textile books, an important online conference and links to some excellent blogs

 

 

In my last blog I mentioned a new book, Workbook: Antoine Janot’s Colours, by Dominique Cardon. Catharine Ellis has taken a much more detailed look at this book, specifically from the point of view of a dyer, in her blog which can be read here.

 

 

The Fabric of Civilization won’t be published until November, but is currently available for pre-order. The author, Virginia Postrel, will be taking part in an online book launch as part of the Textile Arts Los Angeles Textile Month.

“In The Fabric of Civilization, Virginia Postrel synthesizes groundbreaking research from archaeology, economics, and science to reveal a surprising history. From Minoans exporting wool colored with precious purple dye to Egypt, to Romans arrayed in costly Chinese silk, the cloth trade paved the crossroads of the ancient world. Textiles funded the Renaissance and the Mughal Empire; they gave us banks and bookkeeping, Michelangelo’s David and the Taj Mahal. The cloth business spread the alphabet and arithmetic, propelled chemical research, and taught people to think in binary code.” TALA website.

The launch takes place on 30 September at 12:30 LA time, which is 04:30 am in the UK, so probably only works for our international members.

 

 

The third new book celebrates the Indian textile collection of the authors Helmut and Heidi Neumann and has a foreword by Rosemary Crill. Published by Prestel it certainly seems to be lavishly illustrated and will be added to my wish list.

“Dating back to the fifth millennium BCE, India’s rich and vibrant textile tradition boasts an enormous range of techniques and extraordinary level of artistry. Drawn from one of the world’s finest collections of Indian textiles, this book presents a fascinating overview of centuries of artistic production from every corner of India. Each section examines a different region to reveal its distinct textile traditions, patterns, and processes: Patola silks from Gujarat, brocade lampas preserved in Tibetan temples, mordant resist dyed cottons from Indonesia, embroideries from rural Bengal, and silk saris from Murshidabad. The book also delves into the roles that textiles have played in daily life over the centuries, from household and dowry textiles to devotional pieces and exquisite materials crafted for rich patrons. Each object is photographed from multiple angles and reproduced in meticulous detail. Many of the antique pieces featured here are exceedingly rare, which makes this book an invaluable resource.” Prestel.

 

 

The Yale University Art Gallery has now reopened. One of its current exhibitions is called Place, Nations, Generations, Beings: 200 Years of Indigenous North American Art.

The exhibition “showcases basketry, beadwork, drawings, photography, pottery, textiles, and wood ….. …Guided by the four themes in its title, the exhibition investigates the connections that Indigenous peoples have to their lands; the power of objects as expressions of sovereignty; the passing on of artistic practices and traditions; and the relationships that artists and nations have to animals, plants, and cosmological beings.” Yale University Art Gallery website.

 

Moroccan woman’s kaftan made from Japanese kimono fabric. © Textile Research Centre, Leiden

I’ve already blogged about the virtual symposium organised by the Textile Society of America entitled Hidden Stories Human Lives. This takes place from 15-17 October and you can still register for the sessions.

However before then there will be another major online textile conference, this time organised by the IIAS Leiden, Tracing Patterns Foundation, and the Textile Research Centre Leiden. The title of the conference is Textiles on the Move, and it will take place from 6-9 October. “The theme of the online conference relates to the changing role, importance and significance of textiles and garments when they are moved from one particular cultural environment to another. Particular emphasis is laid on the movement of textiles and garments in Asia, and between Asia and the rest of the world.” – IIAS .

The programme is very varied, with an impressive line-up of speakers looking at kantha from Bengal, kanga from Africa, Turkmen carpets, Javanese batik, Silk Road textiles and much, much more. You can download the programme and abstracts here. Registration is also necessary for this free event – just click here.

 

 

Finally, I would like to recommend a series of blogs written by a variety of authors between 2017 and 2019 to celebrate New York Textile Month. These blogs have been hosted by Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum and cover a wide variety of topics – Chris Martens on Central Asian felt, Thomas Murray on an Indonesian palepai, Precious Lovell on Ghanaian adinkra, Wendy Weiss on a Gujarati patola – to name but a few.

 

Bhutanese coat, known as a gho. © Cooper Hewitt.

This is a link to just one of these blogs, this time by Susan Bean, looking at a Bhutanese coat which is known as a gho. I strongly recommend signing up to receive the Object of the Week emails from Cooper Hewitt.

 

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Event: A Revolution in the Bedroom – How Indian dyed cottons transformed Europe’s interiors in the 17th and 18th centuries

 

Event date: Friday 29 June 2018 at 18:00, Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto.

Brightly coloured, washable Indian cotton fabrics revolutionised the décor of bedrooms and living-rooms of western households as soon as they were introduced in the 17th century.

Join Indian textiles specialist Rosemary Crill for a fascinating look at how the hybrid designs of these chintz fabrics, with their exotic flowers and trees, fed into the 18th-century craze for Chinoiserie, and how they became a staple element of western design vocabulary.

For more information visit the website of the Royal Ontario Museum

 

 

Event: Two-Day Conference on Assam – Textile Transmission and the Performance of Dance

British Museum - Krishna in the Garden of Assam

Event dates: 8–9 July 2016

This two-day conference, to be held at the British Museum, will respond to the current exhibition in Room 91, Krishna in the Garden of Assam: The Cultural Context of an Indian Textile.

It will consider Assamese textiles, trade and contact through the Himalayas from north-east India to Tibet, and the performance traditions that connect the ancient Krishna-related textiles with modern Assamese culture. The conference will include an exhibition viewing and reception.

Among the speakers will be Rosemary Crill, speaking about Indian woven silks in Tibet.

Tickets are £20.

For more information, and to download the conference schedule or book a place, visit the website of the British Museum, London.

Event: Rosemary Crill Talks about ‘The Fabric of India’ Exhibition for ORTS

ORTS Talk - Rosemary Crill - Fabric of India exhibition

Event date: Monday 14 December 2015, 7pm (doors open at 6pm)

The Oriental Rug and Textile Society made a booking error, so Rosemary Crill’s lecture will now be on Monday, December 14th. The committee apologises for inconveniences caused. For anyone who missed the OATG talk by Rosemary Crill in October, this is your second chance!

Rosemary Crill is the beloved, internationally respected Senior Curator for South and Southeast Asian Textiles and Dress, Middle Eastern Carpets, Textiles and Dress, and South Asian Painting at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. She will discuss the exhibition ‘The Fabric of India’ which she has curated at the Victoria and Albert Museum.  This talk will give a privileged insight into her project, and the exhibition catalogue will be available to purchase.  This major exhibition of the V&A’s India Festival will explore handmade Indian textiles from the third to the twenty-first century.

The talk will be held at St James Conference Room, 197 Piccadilly, London W1J 9LL.

The Conference Room entrance is in the Church Place passageway, which runs between Jermyn Street and Piccadilly.  There is a wrought iron gate signed ‘Church Hall Conference Room’ leading downstairs.  Drinks and snacks will be served.

Piccadilly Circus tube is 5 minutes’ walk, and Green Park Tube is 10 minutes’ walk.  There is free parking in St James Square after 6.30pm.

Please note this is an Oriental Rug and Textile Society event, but non-members are welcome to attend: £7 single lecture, £5 students, or choose £20 for one year’s membership (11 events).

For more information, visit the website of the Oriental Rug and Textile Society.

 

Event: Rosemary Crill Talks about ‘The Fabric of India’ Exhibition

V&A - Fabric of India - Rosemary Crill OATG talk

Event date: Tuesday 20 October 2015, 6pm

Rosemary Crill has curated the new Victoria & Albert Museum exhibition, ‘The Fabric of India’, which is showing at the V&A from 3 October 2015 to 10 January 2016. The exhibition is the highlight of the V&A’s India Festival and is the first major exhibition to explore the dynamic and multifaceted world of handmade textiles from India from the 3rd to the 21st century. Rosemary is also the author of the exhibition catalogue. She will be talking to the Oxford Asian Textile Group next week, in what promises to be a fantastic opportunity to hear about this new exhibition, which has had excellent reviews in the press so far.

Rosemary is the V&A’s Senior Curator for South & Southeast Asian textiles and dress, Middle Eastern carpets, textiles and dress and South Asian painting.

This event will be held at the Pauling Centre, 58a Banbury Road, Oxford, OX2 6QS.

Timing: 6pm for a 6:15pm start. The talk will be followed by questions and drinks, and will finish at 8:15pm.

Tickets are free for OATG members, or £3 for non-members.

 

Textile Tidbits: Behind the Scenes at the V&A’s ‘Fabric of India’ Exhibition

V&A - Textile Tidbit - Fabric of India

Today’s Textile Tidbit is a behind-the-scenes glimpse at preparations for the V&A’s upcoming ‘Fabric of India’ exhibition, which opens on 3 October. You may already have been following the exhibition’s blog, but if not, here are two fascinating posts that give a great insight into how the exhibition was planned and prepared for.

Firstly, curator Rosemary Crill describes in her post, ‘The Reject Files‘, how she initially selected the textiles to be included in the exhibition, and how she decided which ones to exclude. It’s interesting to hear about the objects that didn’t make it through the selection process, and how the decisions were made.

And secondly, from further on in the preparation process, the V&A’s textile conservation team wrote a post entitled ‘Slippery Sagas and Delightful Draping‘, about the troubles they had coming up with a method for draping saris on mannequins to go on display. The whole process sounds fairly entertaining from a spectator’s point of view, but I’m sure it was tricky and frustrating for those involved!

I hope you enjoy reading these as much as I did, and that they whet your appetite for the exhibition itself. Not long to go now! And if you’d like to read more blog posts about this exhibition in the meantime, you can find the entire series here.