Monday, January 25, 2010

Fabric Workshop Family Open House (Phila, Jan31)


Our friends at the Fabric Workshop & Museum in Phildelphia are hosting a special Family Open House in collaboration with the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Check it out if you're in the area!

@ 2-4p
1214 Arch St, Phila PA
Free admission!

For more info, visit

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Call for Entry: Textile Center MN

Are you an artist or designer of quality, handmade fiber-based pieces? Wouldn't it be great to sell your work at a wonderful shop and proudly display your website with a button like that one above?

The Shop at the Textile Center of Minnesota announces its once-a-year call for entry:

Original handmade artist works for the Textile Center's Shop are now being accepted. Submissions may include unique fiber and textile gift items, home décor, wearables, accessories and /or seasonable items. Delivery due dates (actual delivery, not postmark deadlines):

Thursday, January 28 10am - 7pm
Friday, January 29 10am - 4pm
Saturday, January 30 10am - 4pm

Call for Entry forms are available online here (see bottom of left hand side bar)

Exh: Anne Wilson in Knoxville, TN (Opens Jan 21)

This exhibition couldn't be more aligned with the founding ideas of our own Slow Fiber Studios movement. If you're in the area of Knoxville, Tennessee, do check it out.

From their website:

The Knoxville Museum of Art is delighted to present Wind/Rewind/Weave, a major exhibition of work by visual artist Anne Wilson. For three decades, Wilson has been regarded as an innovative and remarkable voice in the visual arts. Her work rests at the forefront of artwork connecting conceptualism and handiwork, activism and aesthetics. Through a diverse range of source materials and production methods, Wilson's practice extends the relational in terms of labor, collaboration, and identity construction.

Wind/Rewind/Weave investigates the global crisis of production and skill based textile labor through three major works: Rewinds, a new sculpture created entirely in glass; video documentation of Wind-Up: Walking the Warp, a 2008 performance in Chicago; and a large site-specific project, Local Industry, that takes the form of an active weaving/winding factory set up in the museum space. click for pics on KMA's flickr

Knoxville Museum of Art
Knoxville, TN
Members Opening: January 21, 5:30p
Meet the Artist public discussion, January 23, 3:00p

Amish Quilts, Tapestries, Navajo, Schulze (NorCal, on now)

A short list of textile exhibitions you ought to see in Northern California:

Amish Abstractions
Quilts from the Stephen and Faith Brown Collection
de Young Museum, San Francisco
thru June 6

Sorry to have missed Textile Arts Council's lecture, "The Art Quilt," by Yvonne Porcella (Jan 16, de Young). Next time, we'll have to stay on top of things a bit better. Did you go? Tell us how it was!

Shining Brightly: Tapestry Weavers West Celebrates 25 Years
Petaluma Arts Center
thru February 21

Two openings in February at the
San Jose Museum of Quilts & Textiles

Navajo Weaving in the Present Tense:
The Art of Lucy and Ellen Begay

Poetic License: The Art of Joan Schulze

"Setting Sun" by Ellen Begay | ph courtesy of SJ Quilt Museum

Any events you want to announce? Email us at info [at] shibori [dot] org

Friday, January 15, 2010

Slow Fiber Studio Workshop: Puglia, Italy (June'10)

What could be better than an Italian summer retreat in beautiful Puglia? How about one that's designed around textiles and hosted at a historical 18th c. building on 20 acres of private land!

This June, Yoshiko & Michel Garcia will be co-teaching two natural dye workshops (5-day) using methods that are gentle to humans and the environment. Experiment with sericin removal, arashi, itajime, kaiku shibu, and a variety of natural mordants & dye applications. Learn traditional block printing with natural indigo, katazome, shibugami, and making rice paste resists. Workshops (given in English) will be hosted at the magical Masseria della Zingara located in Puglia.

Silk & Natural Dyeing (June 15-19)
Natural Dye Block Printing Provençal (June 22-26)
click for summary of Puglia retreat

ABOUT. Michel is a natural dye expert & founder of Couleur Garance and le Jardin Conservatoire de Plantes Tinctoriales (Botanical Garden of Dye Plants) in Lauris, France. Yoshiko is an expert on Japanese resist-dye techniques including shibori. Masseria della Zingara, or "The House of the Gypsy," is an important building built in the late 17th / early 18th c. and recently restored by its owners, whose first love is textiles (Jan King, Twisted Thread UK). It sits on 20 acres of private land set principally to olives, almonds, figs and cherries and yet is conveniently adjacent to the village of Triggianello. Puglia is the garden of Italy -- an area of baroque towns filled with white-washed trullos, beaches, orchards, sun, and is rightly famed for both its food and wine.

These workshops are part of what we call our Slow Fiber studio project, a term we adapted from the popularized Slow Food movement to articulate similar concerns and philosophies about social responsibility, local traditions, and cultural capital as they apply specifically to cloth, fiber, and the craft of making — from awareness and knowledge to production, tradition, practice, commerce. Visit our website to learn more about tours & workshops of Slow Fiber Studios "SFS"

Friday, January 8, 2010

Exh: ATOPOS Paper Dresses at D'Orsay (Paris, til 04/10)

If you're in Paris, get thee to Musée D'Orsay! ATOPOS, the Greek cultural organization that focuses on technology and design-fashion-contemporary art, is currently part the ART NOUVEAU REVIVAL at the Musee d'Orsay. The exhibition, which opened in Oct 2009 and continues until 2 April '10, includes from the ATOPOS collection a selection of disposable paper dresses and packaging from the 60's.

Prior to the D'Orsay, ATOPOS presented with great success to the public and the press at Antwerp's MoMu fashion museum, where over 32.500 people visited their exhibition within the five months of its staging. Next stop: Museum Bellerive in Zurich during spring/summer 2010.

Thanks to
Vassilis Zidianakis, Artistic Director of ATOPOS, for sharing news of your successes. Congratulations!

ATOPOS (ancient Greek for "out of the ordinary, eccentric, unregistered") is an Athens-based, non-profit cultural organisation which aims to bring modern technologies together with fashion, design and contemporary art. Founded in 2003, it operates as an international, cultural think-tank, as well as an experimental forum for visual culture.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

War stories: working in NYC's garment center, 1960s

photo courtesy of The Sartorialist

Ever wonder what it might be/have been like to work in NYC's Garment District*?

Our fellow colleague and WSN member, Gabriel Russo, recalls a time in the 1960s when he was taking the big freight elevators up to the top of one of those big buildings where he worked first as an apprentice fabric cutter and then upwards. Gabriel's SCHMATTA STORIES is a really entertaining, colorful, funny, cinematic read. Ive spent my own small share of time in those buildings schlepping around and it's funny to read GR's descriptions of his experiences back in the 60s. This was the real deal, people. These days there's so much glamourizing of the industry (thanks to all these "reality" tv shows celebrating all things design-y, *rolls eyes*). GR's accounts are anything but glamorous yet all the while completely larger than life. It's good stuff. Check it out.

NYC's Garment District, aka Garment Center, aka Fashion District, aka Fashion Center, goes by many names but points to one and the same place: a piece of Manhattan between Fifth and Ninth Avenues from 34th to 42nd Street. Inarguably, it is the center of fashion design & manufacturing in the US.

"I had to walk from 34th & 8th avenue up to 11th avenue. If you’ve ever walked those 3 blocks you know that they are long and felt more like 6 blocks.... The company that I was working for was on the top floor and had a poor man’s view of the Hudson....I was an apprentice fabric cutter working with Charlie the bookmaker. [H]e would pull out a fat roll of money that had a couple of rubber bands around it to hold the wad of dough in place. He would slide the rubber band up to his knuckles and he would peel off a hundred dollar bill and tell me to run down to the deli and pick up bagels, crumb buns and cups of coffee for the guys..."

Learn more about Gabriel here
or read more of the Schmatta Stories at

Posted by nas

Monday, January 4, 2010

Report: American Day at the African Crafts Fair (Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire)

News from the home front: Yoshiko just returned from a near month-long trip to Africa (Kenya, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire) with her husband, Herc, who was providing pro bono dental services as part of the Damazo Project/Clinic in Masai Mara (Kenya). Naturally, the trip was a combo of leisure-adventure and work (always an element of shibori teaching and research involved)!

In Côte d’Ivoire, in Abidjan, Yoshiko participated in the African Crafts Fair alongside Louise Meyer - the two representing and reporting on America's textile trends. Here is a brief excerpt from the formal report (scroll to bottom of post to download the full 1-page report).

A Cultural Report: by Yoshiko I. Wada and Louise Meyer
to Anna Maria Adamo, Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

American Day at the Crafts Fair in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

Approximately 50 people from diverse backgrounds attended our presentations, which consisted of powerpoint slideshows on the American practice of resist dyeing techniques and hand weaving, and how they relate to African textile traditions. Y.I. Wada pointed out the parallels between Africa and Japan – of their ancient textile histories and how they each influence the worlds of design, fashion, and art especially in North America. Artists, craftspeople, and cultural historians in addition to the fashion industry and its consumers have been inspired by Africa’s aesthetics and traditions and want to learn more so they may incorporate African textiles into international art and fashion. Currently, there exists a Swiss cultural exchange initiative to bring annually two weavers from the Korhogo area of the Republique de Côte d'Ivoire (RCI) to teach in Switzerland and to send Swiss textile artists to RCI. Americans similarly are keen to participate in cultural and educational tourism in RCI, where the rich craft-music-dance traditions make for a worthwhile destination.

Wada also showed a film she co-produced on Japanese shibori dyers in a traditional center, a documentation of techniques practiced by aging artisans whose knowledge and skills may soon be lost. The film promotes the value of cultural capital while educating a global audience of designers and consumers of an oftentimes invisible / unrecognized / underappreciated value. The film also recognizes a trend towards sustainable practices in the design and textile industries, a movement seen across many sectors like energy, food, etc. Like Japan, America’s designers and many of its consumers are also keen to work/live with sustainable products. African craftspeople can position themselves to embrace the challenge.

Both presentations focused on making the audience aware of the important contributions Africa has made and continues to make in influencing world textile trends. L. Meyer elaborated on her professional involvement while under the employ of the International Labor Organization (ILO) in RCI. She was tasked with strengthening the artisan sector, especially in the north where cotton spinners (female) and weavers (male) have no other source of revenue other than through the production of woven cloth. ...

Both speakers emphasized the need for keeping traditions alive but at the same time creating new products, both of the highest quality. ...

Our presentation was arranged thanks to the initiative taken by Anna Maria Adamo, Deputy Public Affairs Officer of the US Embassy in Abidjan, and endorsed by Public Affairs Officer Sita Chakrawarti.

Download full report (1-page) from WSN website here
More on Louise Meyer: and solar cooking

Exh: Metallic Sound (18 Jan - 17 Feb '10, UK)

"Metallic Sound"
Works by Junichi Arai and Kinor Jiang

18 Jan- 17 Feb 2010
Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University

A collection of innovative textile designs by legendary textile engineer Junichi Arai and Dr Kinor Jiang of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University along with many talented designers from Japan and China. Using their skills as artist/designers, their scientific knowledge and modern technology, these artists have created striking combinations of colour and texture, the fabrics capturing the essence of oriental style with a contemporary direction.

Special Events on 19 Jan:
  • 5-6p: Presentation by Dr. Kinor Jiang
  • 6-7p: Private viewing of exhibition

For more information & a map to the gallery, visit the NTU Events Calendar here