It’s Textile Tuesday! I have a roundup of 5 textile museums (and some exhibitions that they are hosting) for someone who loves textiles/fabrics and the stories they represent. The inspiration behind the post? Well, you know I love gorgeous fabrics/textiles! If I’d to pick one way to relax and recharge, it would be to spend an afternoon with my camera and a stack of colorful, intricately embroidered fabrics. I marvel at the hours that go into the weaving, the dyeing and the embellishing of the cloth and it makes me happy to capture them through the lens of the camera. But that’s not the only reason for this post. Over the summer, my 16-year-old traveled to Japan for an internship. He visited Tokyo and other places in and around the city and when he came back, he had made up his mind that when he was older, he was going to live in a big, bustling metropolis. We live about 30 miles from San Francisco, but it’s not the same as living in the city- there is an energy, vibrance and diversity (also the events, the museums!) that is part of living in the world’s largest capitals. I thought of the cities that I’d like to be in right now (especially during back to school week when we are all having trouble getting up in the morning and getting out the door on time) and some of the things I’d like to be doing.
1.The Victoria and Albert Museum in London is to host an exhibition October 2015- Jan 2016 called The Fabric of India that showcases the handmade textile traditions of the country, dating from the 3rd century to current times. The exhibition is part of the wider India Festival that the museum is celebrating. If you are in London during this time, don’t miss it! Details here.
2. The Textile Museum at the George Washington University Museum in Washington DC has a large collection of textiles from around the world, and from the native, indigenous populations of the Americas. Also in October (from Oct 2015-May 2016), they are going to have an exhibition titled Old Patterns, New Order- Socialist Realism in Central Asia. “Under Soviet political rule, artists across Central Asia created images that both embraced modernity and idealized the past. This exhibition will examine the socialist realist art movement in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and others areas of Central Asia, pairing twentieth-century paintings with examples of the traditional textiles they depict.” Definitely one I want to visit! Details here.
3. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has two exhibitions that I would just love to go to. Scratch that, the Met has so many ongoing exhibitions that I want to visit like the Chinese Textiles- Ten Centuries of Masterpieces from the Met Collection, American Quilts and Folk Art, Liturgical Textiles of the Post-Byzantine World. I want to be there right now! All details here.
4. Closer to home is the de Young museum (Golden Gate Park, SF) and I’m headed here on one of the weekends. They have a large collection of Anatolian kilims as well as more contemporary pieces of textile history. I can’t believe how long it’s been since I last did a round of local museums.
5. This is by no means a comprehensive list of textile museums, but I do want to point out that Mumbai’s Chatrapathi Shivaji Maharaj
Vastu Sangrahalaya recently opened a new gallery to showcase Indian textiles. I love visiting this museum- it’s an oasis of calm in the middle of the busy city and the heritage building is a perfect place to wander. I usually visit Mumbai during the monsoons, and the last time I was there, it was raining heavily outside and the atmosphere was moody and dramatic- a perfect backdrop for all the art. The museum’s new addition celebrates the textile heritage of India. Details here. National Geographic India has some pictures here.