A selection of textile events happening now and coming soon

There are several new exhibitions opening soon. The first of these is Gathering at the Textile Museum of Canada in Ontario. This exhibition features community stories and “explores themes related to migration and diaspora, the search for comfort in the domestic and familial, reclamation of ancestral traditions through contemporary artistic responses, and the relationship between textiles and the environment. The Museum is pleased to showcase new acquisitions in this initial installation, including a 19th century Ainu attush robe from Hokkaido, Japan, and eight beaded works by Vancouver-based, Anishnabekwe artist Bev Koski.”

An opening celebration will take place on 2 April from 1400 to 1700 and you can book for it here.

Left – Jacket, Zaanstreek, Netherlands, 1775-1780, cotton, linen, metal; plain woven, block printed, painted, hand-sewn. Gift of Dr. Howard Gorman, T92.0318. Right – Francisco Carillo, Untitled, 1940-1990, Huichol, Nayarit, Mexico, wood, beeswax, wool. Gift of Penny Bateman, TS03.23.124. ©Textile Museum of Canada.


Next Friday, 31 March, sees the opening of a new exhibition at the Museum of the Palestinian People in Washington DC. The exhibition is entitled Tatreez Inheritance: Preserving Palestinian Cultural Heritage in 75 Years of Exile. This exhibition, which marks the curatorial debut of Wafa Ghnaim, “examines the presence of Palestinian embroidery in the United States through a diasporic lens, asserting and affirming the power of material culture and art history in preserving a nation’s identity. Over the past 75 years, the dispossession, displacement and dispersion of the Palestinian people across the globe has circulated precious textiles and dresses throughout Europe and North America.”


The exhibition currently showing at the St Louis Art Museum is Fabricating Empire: Folk Textiles and the Making of Early 20th century Austrian Design, which runs until 28 May. It “examines the relationship between the development of Central European folk costume and Austrian modern design, especially the textile department of the Wiener Werkstätte, or Vienna Workshops……. The exhibition considers new scholarship that suggests the imperial government was at the center of promoting and appropriating folk art across the empire as it attempted to create an all-embracing identity for its diverse subjects and fragmented territories.” – Museum website

Czech; Girl’s Ensemble (Kroj Severokyjovsky), c.1945; embroidered cotton and miscellaneous fabric with beads, sequins, and lace trim, Saint Louis Art Museum, Collection of Marvin E. Moehle 2022.189a-h


The Hajji Baba Club are once again inviting applications for their annual Research Fellowship, which this year is worth $7500. Candidates should be involved in primary research in the field of carpet studies. This is an exciting opportunity and the deadline for submissions is 28 April 2023. Click here for full details of how to apply and what the criteria are.

Niched PrayerRug,Western China, 19th century,Wool pile, 681 x 117 cm (268 x 46 in.), Private Collection


Next Saturday, 1 April 2023, is a very busy day for textile events. In the UK the first World Textile Day event of the year takes place at East Horsley in Surrey and as usual features some excellent dealers and speakers. The OATG’s very own Gavin Strachan (editor of Asian Textiles) will be giving a talk on Textiles of the Balkans, and showing examples from his own collection. Some of you will be aware of Gavin’s passion for the textiles of this area from our Show and Tell sessions. Dealers at this event include the inimitable John Gillow, Martin Conlan of Slow Loris and Diane and Jim Gaffney of Textile Traders.

For full details of this event please check out the WTD website – be sure to get there early for the choice of the best textiles!

Women near Prizren. Autochrome Auguste Léon, May 1913. Musée Albert-Kahn.  The background kilim is probably Pirot, Serbia 19th century, from the collection of Gavin Strachan.


Next to some online events – two of which take place on Saturday 1 April. The first of these is a talk by Deniz Coşkun as part of the Rug and Textile Appreciation mornings at the Textile Museum in DC. His subject will be The Legacy of Anatolian Wool.

“Sheep have been raised in Anatolia since 9000 BCE, and the nomadic people caring for them became masters of wool. Until the 1970s, pastoral nomadism was the preferred lifestyle of a significant number of the Anatolian population, and wool remains one of the primary products of the area……. In this virtual talk, Deniz Coşkun will examine properties and qualities of wool through different techniques such as shearing, bowing, combing, spinning and weaving. Coşkun will focus on pile carpets from throughout Anatolia, woven by nomadic groups who mastered the properties of wool in a clever and aesthetic way.” – Museum website.

Click here for more details, and to register for this talk which begins at 11am EDT (8am PDT, 1600 BST).

© Deniz Coşkun


The next online event that day is a virtual visit to the weavers of Cusco, organised by Andean Textile Arts and Centro de Textiles Tradicionales del Cusco (CTTC). They are “teaming up to bring the weavers and their work to you through a special online presentation by Nilda Callañaupa Alvarez, founder and director of the CTTC. Nilda will introduce us to each of the communities through their distinct textile techniques and designs. She’ll also talk about recent revitalization projects and show us some amazing pieces produced through community collaboration.”

Click here to register and to find out more. Please note that the first sixty people who register will also receive an invitation to a special online shopping event featuring Cusco textiles, immediately after the talk. 

© Andean Textile Arts


The University of Pennsylvania is hosting this talk on Tuesday 4 April, which intrigued me. It is entitled Cultural Heritage and War: What Can Be Done? and the speaker is Dr Brian I Daniels, Director of the Penn Cultural Heritage Center.

“Intentional destruction of cultural heritage is designed to erase people from history and has become an all too familiar feature of contemporary violence. Recent cases appear frequently in the news: the 2001 demolition of the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan; the 2012 destruction of Sufi shrines in Timbuktu, Mali; the obliteration of historic sites across Syria and Iraq; and cultural targeting by Russia in Ukraine. It often seems like nothing can be done. But there are ways that cultural workers and the international community can step in to help. Join us as we explore how.” – University website.

This event takes place at noon ET, which is 1700 BST, and you can register for it here.

One of the badly damaged Buddha statues at Bamiyan


The final talk I want to highlight in today’s blog is hosted by the World Shibori Network Foundation and features Jorie Johnson as the speaker. It is part of their Conversations with Cloth series looking at Treasured Felts and takes place on Thursday 6 April 2023. In this particular episode Jorie will discuss Red Felts and Shibori-dyed Felt rugs in Japan: Tea Ceremony and Festive Occasions.

“Primarily a Japanese import, red “Himosen” can be dated by standing screen (byobu) and hanging-scroll (kakijiku) images of cherry blossom viewing and outdoor Kabuki and dance performances, as found in collections in Japan and abroad. Could these be the origin of the term “red carpet treatment”? Brightly dyed shibori felts, referred to as mokosen also punctuate the autumn and winter seasons. Jorie will discuss the interesting 1804 Nagasaki felt workshop, once on the premises of the Mizu Shrine, documenting Chinese artisan felt rug making and dyeing techniques described in a lovely hand-written diary re-published by Kansai University.” – WSNF website

This online talk takes place at 1500 PST , 1800 EDT and 2300 BST. Participants will also receive a code to access a complimentary recording of the event, which will be available to them for three days. Click here for full details and registration.


A selection of new textile talks

Several new online talks are scheduled for December. Here is my selection.

On 9 December Selvedge will host three specialists from different areas of the globe talking about the craft of resist dyeing. The speakers are Yoshiko Wada, renowned textile artist and President of the World Shibori Network, Abduljabbar Khatri from the Kutch region of India who specialises in bandhani, in which thousands of tiny knots are hand-tied onto stencilled designs and Sang Made Erass Taman, a leading batik artist who was born on Bali but now lives on Java. Booking is essential – click here for more details.

A tied bandhani from SIDRcraft which was founded by Abduljabbar and his brother over 20 years ago. The next stage is to dye the fabric. ©SIDRcraft

Don’t forget that our next online lecture will be by journalist and author Nick Fielding, a long-standing member of the OATG. The subject of Nick’s talk is Travellers in the Great Steppe – Nomads and their Textiles. Nick is a very engaging speaker with a wealth of knowledge in this area and this should be a fascinating talk.

The cover of Nick’s new book Travellers in the Great Steppe: from the Papal Envoys to the Russian Revolution.

This talk is scheduled for 10 December. As usual, it is free for OATG members, but registration is essential. Non-members may attend for a donation of £3 payable via PayPal. Please note there are very few tickets remaining so if you haven’t got yours – act now!

On 12 December the Textile Museum Associates of Southern California, in conjunction with rug and textile groups from Seattle, Colorado, San Francisco and Chicago present a free online talk entitled The Beauty of Boteh: A Textile Journey Across Village & Tribal Rugs by Dr Hadi Maktabi, a researcher, author and dealer from Beirut.

“What is the source of the boteh, or paisley, design, and how has it spread throughout the oriental rug world, transforming into both elegant and sophisticated swirling configurations, and more tribal geometric forms? It can be seen in a large variety of rugs and trappings, from high end urban Kermans to rustic Farahans all the way to nomadic Q’ashqais—and that’s just within Qajar Persia. Hadi Makabi’s program will discuss how this famous motif travelled from Kashmir shawls onto Persian textiles and ended up ubiquitously on rugs in the 19th century, by way of costumes and urban decorative pieces. This high-end association influenced rural and ethnic societies irrepressibly. What is wondrous is that the motif is still relevant today and has a seemingly endless variety of reinterpretation.” TMA/SC.

This talk takes place at 10am Pacific time (6pm in the UK) on Saturday 12 December. To register please contact the organiser Cheri Hunter.

Moving from rugs to textiles Fatima Abbadi will discuss Embroidery in the Age of Corona: Documentation and Practice from Iraq, Jordan and the Netherlands for the Islamic Art and Material Culture Collaborative (IAMCC), Toronto, Canada, on Saturday 19 December at 11am EST (4pm in the UK).

© Fatima Abbadi.

“In this conversation, Fatima will share her passion for Jordanian and Palestinian embroidery traditions and her ongoing project to teach embroidery in the Netherlands. She will also talk about the work of Suzan Sukari, a contemporary embroiderer from a Christian community in the northern Iraqi city of Qaraqosh. Despite the upheavals of war in her region, Suzan continues to produce special festive garments (charuga), that combine age-old designs and motifs with newly developed iconography representing scenes from everyday life. Fatima will also discuss her recent publication, Al-Salt: A Photo Documentary Project, and how she has employed photography to document, promote and preserve her Jordanian culture and heritage.” ROM

© Fatima Abbadi.

Click here to register for this free talk.

Our journal, Asian Textiles, is produced three times each year. In addition to this our editor, Gavin Strachan, is currently putting together a third Lockdown Newsletter, which should go out just before Christmas. If you would like to contribute something to this please email it to him as soon as possible. Perhaps you have an interesting story about a particular textile, a review of a book, a query about something in your collection that you would like to share? If so, Gavin would love to hear from you.


Event: Japanese Resist-Dyeing Techniques


Detail of a woman’s kimono, shibori technique

Event date: Saturday, 9 March, 2019. 10:30 AM

Jeff Krauss, the president of the Washington-based International Hajji Baba Society, will give a lecture and show-and-tell on Japanese resist-dyeing techniques next Saturday. He will also be showing videos of Japanese craftsmen displaying their skills.

According to the website of the Textile Museum

Japanese textiles are decorated with designs ranging from simple to elaborate. Some designs are added to the surface of a textile after it has been woven, while others are created before the fabric is woven. The most labor-intensive technique, called resist dyeing, involves preventing dye from reaching some parts of the fabric.”

This event is free and no registration is required. 

Location: The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum, 701 21st Street, NW, Washington, DC 20052