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Jeff Krauss
October 1st, 2008, 09:34 PM
Trip Report, Textile Society of America Symposium

I attended the Textile Society of America Biennial Symposium in Honolulu, September 24-27, 2008. Like the ICOC and ACOR Conferences, there are delivered papers, textile exhibitions, and a dealer fair. Compared to ICOC and ACOR, the TSA papers are far more coherent and intelligible, the exhibitions are inferior (with one notable exception), and the dealer fair is boring.

The full program is here:
http://textilesociety.org/downloads/2008FINALTSAWEBProgr am080918.pdf
and abstracts of all the papers is here:
http://textilesociety.org/downloads/2008FINALTSAWEBAbsBi os080918.pdf

The opening night reception started with visits to four exhibitions on the campus of University of Hawaii at Manoa. At the EastWest Gallery there was a small exhibition of Mughal carpets and art, including the pair of six-sided rugs whose picture was used by Mary Jo Otsea in her September 13, 2008 Textile Museum talk. See the picture at http://rjohnhowe.wordpress. com/2008/09/24/mary-jo-otsea-on-collectable-rugs-and-textiles-part-1/. The pair is owned by Doris Duke’s Shangri-La.

The second exhibition was in the Hamilton Library, a display of artifacts and mats from Lampung, in Sumatra. The objects had no labels, so I had no idea what I was looking at.

The third was a dreary student-organized collection of four 20th century Hawaiian shirts and about six Hawaiian dresses in a very small room.

The fourth, in the University Art Gallery, http://www.hawaii.edu/artgallery/,
was a spectacular exhibition of Chinese Minority costumes (Miao, Yi, Dong, Tujia, Shui, Li, Zhuang, Dai, Buyi, Yao, Wa, and Zang), far better than the exhibition in the Shanghai Museum. Entitled “Writing with Thread”, it is a part of the collection of the Evergrand Museum of Taipei, Taiwan. The exhibition will travel to the Museum of International Folk Art in New Mexico and possibly other venues next year.

There were a number of familiar faces (to me, at least) at the TSA. ACOR/ICOC regulars Cheri Hunter and Sharon Fenlon; museum curators Roy Hamilton, Sharon Makeda, Louise Mackie, Mary Dusenbury, Bobbie Sumberg, Sumru Krody and Ann Rowe; three TM docents; and Japanese textile experts Yoshiko Wada and Ann Marie Moeller.

Each day started with a plenary session followed by four or five parallel sessions. The first morning I attended a session on the Miao people of Guizhou, China, chaired by Yoshiko Wada and including two other Japanese experts on this Chinese group. It covered textiles, weaving techniques and patterns.

In the first session of the afternoon, I went to a panel on Korean textiles. There was one exceptional paper, by a Korean woman who works as a conservator at the Metropolitan Museum, comparing the hemp growing and the hemp fabrics made in two different regions of South Korea. The region in the south, with a longer growing season, produces heavier thread, more coarsely woven fabrics and sturdier cloth than the finely-woven fabric from the region in the north. Her talk included videos embedded in her PowerPoint presentation.

In the second session of the afternoon, I heard Sumru Krody talk about her ongoing efforts to categorize the large collection of Uzbek ikats that was donated to the TM last year. She distinguished between chapans with a center seam in the back versus those with a large panel running down the center. She also noted chapans having very very very long sleeves.

The next morning was the session on Japanese textiles (which is what I collect). Ann Marie Moeller talked about Japanese symbolism, using examples from my collection of picture kasuri (ikat). Jackie Atkins (Allentown Museum of Art) talked about designs used for children’s kimonos, including nationalistic and propagandistic designs (military gear and flags, for example). Sharon Takeda (LACMA) displayed the unique resist dyeing techniques of a particular father and son Japanese kimono maker family. And a Japanese research professor showed how, in the Kochi region of Japan, women recycled used washi paper and spun it into threads for weaving.

That afternoon, the group of about 300 attendees broke into ten groups that were transported to separate venues. I went to the Honolulu Academy of Arts for talks on indigo textiles by author and shop-owner Amy Katoh, and the use of straw and paper in Shinto ritual around the New Year by author/researcher Barbara Stephan. Other venues included the Bishop Museum, Iolani Palace, Queen Emma Summer Palace, the University of Hawaii Art Gallery and the Japan Cultural Center of Hawaii. So far as I could tell, the mechanics of the bus transports went off without a hitch.

The next morning, there were fiber arts demonstrations by local artisans, and then I went to a diverse panel that covered use of camouflage designs by clothing designers, a weird talk about men constructing and wearing tutus and angel wings at the Burning Man Project, and the conservation and display of three feathered capes at the Bishop Museum.

That afternoon was a wonderful panel about the resurgence of the textile industry in Uzbekistan after the Russians left. Mary Dusenbury and several other TSA officers and directors have visited Uzbekistan several times in the past ten years. Among other pictures, Mary Dusenbury showed a picture of a machine invented and built by Uzbek craftsmen that automatically applies and ties the resist material onto thread bundles for making ikat. Mary Ann Jordan talked about the role of women weaving in Uzbek “factories” and workshops. Lotus Stack talked about the narrow brocades used for trimming Uzbek garments. They talked about how these Uzbek weavers had to confront the business aspects including decisions about designs and setting prices, and the use of Uzbek textiles by famous designers.

For two days there was a small dealer fair, but most of the symposium attendees were museum curators and university researchers, not deep-pocketed collectors. There was “wearable art” women’s clothing, but it was pricy.

I took pictures, which I will post on my web site in the near future.

The next symposium in two years will be held in Lincoln, Nebraska, which is home to the International Quilt Study Center. I’ll probably go.

Jeff Krauss

Marty Grove
October 3rd, 2008, 04:14 PM
G'day and lucky you Jeff to experience it; thanks for bringing us such a diverse range of subject matter to think about.

The piece from Carol Bier about symbols and their relationship in Islamic art I'd like, and that from Olga Bush about architecture and art from the beautiful Allhambra. Then Casselman on dyes - this is often foremost in our minds. Also interesting to me would be the talk on New Guinea fibre fabrications from Allessandro and Hellmich as there are items of this work around my place.

This is as far as I have perused so far; I wonder if the full text of the talks will ever be seen on the Net? Much food for research:D.

Thanks again,
Marty.

Dinie Gootjes
October 3rd, 2008, 05:10 PM
Hallo Jeff,

That sounds like an interesting symposium, with a lot of different subjects. Something for everyone (as long as everyone is interested in textiles :fez:).

I would have loved to attend the presentation on Korean hemp cloth. We lived in Korea during the 80s, and we regularly saw hemp cloth being used for funeral wear and as the traditional cool summer clothing, most often worn by older men. It took us some time to figure out what those clothes were made of. We knew the words for wool, cotton, silk and linen, but this was something else. In the end the dictionary solved the problem. I wish that we had known and asked more at that time. Do you remember whether andongpoh is named after the city of Andong? A good friend of ours is from there, she might know something about it: she knows a lot about the history and customs of her country.
Thanks for the report,

Dinie Gootjes

Jeff Krauss
October 3rd, 2008, 10:00 PM
This is as far as I have perused so far; I wonder if the full text of the talks will ever be seen on the Net?


You can order inexpensive CDs that contain the Proceedings of previous conferences:
https://textilesociety.hosti ng-advantage.com/forms/2008_Pub_Order_Form. pdf
I presume this means full text, but I haven't purchased any so I'm not certain.

Jeff Krauss
October 3rd, 2008, 10:03 PM
Do you remember whether andongpoh is named after the city of Andong? A good friend of ours is from there, she might know something about it: she knows a lot about the history and customs of her country.

I don't know.

You can send an email to the author and ask her:
min-sun.hwang at metmuseum.org

Jaina Mishra
October 7th, 2008, 03:41 AM
Jeff,

Look forward to seeing the pictures. Please let us have your website link.

Jaina Mishra

Jeff Krauss
October 7th, 2008, 02:41 PM
Look forward to seeing the pictures. Please let us have your website link.


Here it is:
http://krauss.ws/travel/hawaii/hawaii.htm