Friday, October 11

Ancestry & Artistry (at the Textile Museum of Canada)

I love the Textile Museum of Canada. It's very close to where I work and they have an amazing permanent collection in addition to their exhibitions. I have a fascination with artifacts and I love looking at one of a kind objects from the past. My dream job would probably be a conservator or other such career that would allow me to interact with museum objects. 
The other week I made a point of stopping by the Textile Museum and I checked out their current exhibition, Ancestry and Artistry. The exhibit features traditional dress from Guatemala's indigenous communities. The description on the website does a much better job of explaining context of the displayed items than I can, but I can talk the impact the show had on me. 

The first thing to strike me was the colours. The intricately woven and embroidered garments were thick with threads of many different colours and it was incredibly tempting to reach out and touch every item (I didn't, of course). Everything was beautifully displayed and descriptions were given for each item, providing information about how the fabrics were crucial to religious ceremony, political statements, and the tourism industry.  

Some examples of masterful embroidery stood out in their simplicity. The image below also shows the loom still attached, giving insight into the simple process that yields such beautiful fabrics. I used to study textiles, a long time ago, before starting university (the first time). I was lucky to be part of a very hands-on textile program and so I'll always have a soft spot for craft. Natural materials, the smell of wool, and the methodic process of hand weaving are things that I'll always feel lucky to have learned about.

Finally, this image was of a pair of child's pants - look at that embroidery! Is it wrong for me to geek out a little bit about that blue jay? These were beautiful. 

As I said above, I have a real love for objects and artifacts from the past. Even when I go running through neighbourhoods with old homes I get distracted looking at details like the brickwork and stained glass windows. I delight in looking at hundreds year old mundane objects like combs and pens. My mind wanders to the people who may have used them and the journey that object had to go through to get to a place where I could view it. None of the textiles in the Ancestry and Artistry exhibit are quite that old (all twentieth century, and even some more recent) but they still have the same appeal of being hand made and of having a history that led them from the maker's hands to Toronto (and me).  

No comments:

Post a Comment