Why haven’t you been following at the new blog location?
If you insist.. don’t forget to come to tonights Opening Reception for TEEM
TONIGHT, March 11, 8PM
We here are fortunate to share a wonderful second space with Jordana Martin of Oak Knit Studio. In this space, upstairs from TAC, is where the Artist Residency and resource library are housed. In addition, there is a second Gallery. So, for the first show in this new space, Tali Weinberg — one of our talented residents — will be curating a show and day of workshops based around May Day, celebrating the textile workers, artists, designers, and activists who make our world more beautiful and just:
I can’t believe how fast time passes! After a super fun and creative Fashion Week Brunch, The Mending Circle is meeting again tonight, from 6.30 – 9PM at the Textile Arts Center. I’m looking forward to new exciting mending projects and meet all of you with sewing/altering/mending and/or creative skills.
I thought I would leave a teaser of inspiration mending projects… Hope to see you all tonight!
Cardigan mended with bird-shaped patches
Mending buttonholes and holes on sweatters
(via Martha Stewart Livings)
(via Craft magazine blog)
Mended Sweater by Esther K. Smith, part of Mend Exhibition at Proteus Gowanus, 2008-2009
Teem superimposes metaphors of water (movement/potentiality), and the sea (the infinite, comfort, danger, aloneness) to evoke a sense of dreamspace — the space of possibility. Using textiles, Teem creates an environment where viewers find themselves under the surface of the water at the powerful juncture where river currents meet the ocean tides, where the individual meets the collective.
Chris will be joining us for the Opening Reception, giving a talk that night on concept and installation. Unfortunately, Mary, the fiber artist of the two, is located in Hawaii and will be unable to join us… However, in preparation for the installation that will begin tomorrow I’ve been looking at Mary’s work a ton.
Through performance, installation, and textile media, Mary focuses on many familiar issues to us (war, revolution, natural and manmade disaster), through the idea of “mending” — something we’ve been talking about a lot lately around here.
In Mary’s words: “My work explores ‘mending’ and its implications for cultural change. Although I work across traditionally defined media and conceptual boundaries, the grounding point for my work is in the metaphors derived from fiber processes (e.g. stitching, binding, weaving, piecing) and the overarching concept of mending. I am interested in how precise application of fiber metaphors may heighten our understanding of both peace-building and of fractures in the foundations for social justice. Tattering might be inherent. It is part of the wear and tear – some necessary, some not so necessary. But we seem to fall short on the art of mending.
I am deeply interested in the profundity of listening and of silence – of listening to the conversation between materials, thoughts and processes and of experiencing the rich silence of open space. I investigate ‘making’ as a form of contemplative action – as a tool for illuminating implicit knowledge of our potential for compassion and our proclivities for grief, confusion and complicity with structural and personal violence.”
Departire – Site specific installation at Ueno Town Art Museum, formerly Sakamoto Elementary School, for Threshold: Sustainable Art Project, Ueno/Tokyo, Japan, 2009. A response to Tokyo’s changing age demographics that leave elementary schools vacant and shift cultural mores. Pieced from over 50 nagajugan, mostly of vintage silk from obsolete Japanese textile mills, handsewn by students and volunteers in workshop settings.
Circumspect – Created in response to the US invasion on Iraq. The Jones House, Boone, NC. Materials: Wall Street Journal and NY Times, stained; tapestries of black walnut dyed silk, kozo and book binders thread; typewriter erasure ribbons, post post mortem surgical needles. Chronicles deaths of the “coalition forces”. The names of those who died between the March 21st invasion and April 1, 2004 (the showʼs opening) were deleted from the ribbons as they silently vanished from our lives.
While we find no shortage of political art in general, and specifically in the fiber and textile world, I find Mary’s approach to be unique. Instead of speculating the problem, it focuses on a solution, forcing us to think about what comes next.
Looking at her work, even through image, does invoke the feeling of silence. It makes me stop — at first at it’s beauty, and after reading her Artist Statement — to contemplate my own ability to pay attention to relationships between people, materials, concepts, places. Our ability, as humans, to withstand pain and hardship (including the ways we provoke it) and then our ability to focus on how to fix it. What new solutions can we come up with, and what can we learn from older ideas?
Deluge – Created in collaboration with Christopher Curtin for The Netshed at Alderbrook Station, Astoria, OR, 2010. Once the site of a thriving, albeit contested, salmon fishing industry, the Netshed – where fishermen would repair their gillnets – is an historical structure that serves as an icon for the interplay of migration, economy, ecology, dispossession and reclamation. Using hand-dyed cloth, the metaphor of water and reclaimed gillnets – the material that originally necessitated the site – we sought to re-engage the building’s history as a site of restoration and repair, creating a poetic context in which viewers might dream new possibilities for dialogue and negotiation. Gillnets provided by the Columbia River Fisherman’s Protective Union’s gillnet recycling project. Photo credit: http://www.donfrankphotography.com
Hope to see you next Friday, March 11 for the Opening from 8-11PM! The show will be up through April. And you can check out the video of “Deluge” to get an idea of what will be up here.
I meant to write this post a long time ago, after attending to a lecture last October at FIT by Sass Brown, on “Eco-Fashion”. In the lecture, were presented several examples of designers around the world doing sustainable fashion. Some of the examples shown were working with African countries, and their work was simultaneous supporting the local textile industry – by training people, producing locally, developing the organic production of materials, promote local economic opportunities etc; but also being inspired by the African fashion and textiles.
SUNO, Spring/Summer 2011 Collection
When I moved to New York, the first project that I helped with on my fellowship at the Met was the installation of “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End”. I wasn’t very familiar with African textiles at the time, but after this first immersion, my love for them kept growing stronger. Africa has an enormous textile and fashion tradition and I thought I would share some of it today!
Amongst the best known African textiles are the Kente cloths (or stripwoven cloths), made by Ewe and Ashanti people in Ghana. These super elaborated were prestige garments, a symbol of status and wealth and, therefor, only worn on special occasions. These very long cloths (some would have more than 9 feet of length and width) were worn draped like togas around the body, creating voluminous garments. Kente cloths were constructed by several woven narrow strips woven continuously and cut at fixed lengths , sewn together, selvage to selvage. Both weaving and sewing are normally carried by men. Initially the only material used was indigo dyed cotton, but after the 17th century, with the arrival of Europeans, silk unraveled from trade cloths was introduced. Nowadays, synthetic fibers like rayon are sometimes used too.
Detail of Kente Prestige Cloth, Ghana, Ewe peoples, cotton and silk, 19th century
The British Museum, London, Provenance: Collected in West Africa between 1880 and 1900 by Charles Beving Sr.
And we couldn’t leave Ghana without mentioning the amazing hand-printed Adinkra cloths worn in special ceremonies. Adinkra cloths made for funerals and mourning are normally overdyed red or black, while the ones used for festive occasions retain their white background or are dyed with bright colors. The stamps for adinkra are carved from the outsides of calabash gourd and include geometric forms and also stars and half moon shapes.
Boys wearing adinkra robes, 1973, Accra
Stamp carver Joseph Nsiah of Ntonso, Ghana, holding an adinkra stamp, 1988.
Photo and caption information by Dan Mato,
Professor Emeritus of Art History, The University of Calgary
From Cameroons comes this beautiful prestige gown, made of indigo dyed cotton, embroidered with with chain stitches in white cotton. The blue and white geometric design was probably adapted from the famous resist-stitched indigo dyeing technique of the Bamileke people from grasslands Cameroon called ndop.
Prestige Gown, Cameroon, Grassfield region, cotton and wool, 19-20th century
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Dr. and Mrs. Sidney Clyman Gift and Rogers Fund, 1987
Ndop Tunic, Bamileke people, Cameroon; cotton, trade cloth, goat hair; first half of 20th century
(via Andres Moraga Textile Arts)
Also, from Central Africa comes other of my favorite African textiles – the uber-long skirts made by the Kuba people, Republic of Congo. These skirts are made of woven raphia panels, sewn together. They’re often decorated with applique with geometric forms and/or embroidered. One of the most amazing features is that the applique has both a decorative and utilitarian purpose. Raphia cloth can be very stiff and hard to wear, so to make it more comfortable it is normally washed and pounded several times. Raphia cloth isn’t also very durable so several holes and tears will appear during this process, and the applique is used to cover them. Other particularity is the fact that the hems aren’t turned under, but face the surface of the fabric, giving it extra volume. Kuba skirts are worn by men and women, and normally several are worn at the same time.
Applique Kuba Skirt, raphia fibers dyed with natural dyes
Women wearing skirts, Kuba, Congo
There are so many amazing textiles and techniques from Africa missing in this post though! So, if you’d like to continue exploring the world of African textiles I strongly recommend reading the catalog of “The Essential Art of African Textiles: Design Without End”, with essays by curator Alissa LaGamma and textile conservator Christine Giuntini; and the amazing “African Textiles, Color and creativity across a continent” by John Gillow.