Saturday, July 02, 2011

Textile Museum

I've wanted to visit the Textile Museum ever since we moved to Maryland. We finally made it happen a couple of weeks ago. It was a great outing into the district.

We found a parking place directly in front of the museum. Rock stars!

The Textile Museum is converted from an old house and nestled in a neighborhood of embassies, in fact it's next door to Myanmar. It's smaller than I thought it would be. Just two main exhibit areas: downstairs and upstairs, plus an excellent education room.

Here is Claire studying the "pattern" display. If you click this picture, you will see that it shows the same image created in weaving, patchwork, embroidery and printing. Cool.

Here is Benjamin drawing a pattern on graph paper, theoretically planning a design for a loom.There were also hands on displays of various kinds of looms. Really nice!

The current main exhibit is "Green: the color and the cause." It's pretty impressive. (Though I've heard that the previous exhibits, Red and Blue were better.) There is an EXCELLENT online catalog of the show. Click on the Artists tab, then click on the first artist and just scroll through the whole show with the next button. There are just 35 pieces in the show, so it's a fairly quick scroll. The photography is excellent and the artist statements are informative. In some cases, there are links to videos or other sites associated with the artist. It's interesting to have seen the show in person and go back and look at the pieces again in this online format.

I overheard (eavesdropped on) a discussion between a staff person and a viewer. The viewer said she wished she could buy a catalog of the show. The staff person said it's too expensive to print and they felt it went more with the theme of the show to have the catalog online. I think that makes good sense.

There are a few pieces that would be considered art quilts in the show.

Teresa Barkley's Freedom from Hunger: Cabbage and Potatoes seems rather literal to me, in both the theme and the construction and format. It seems more like a traditional quilt. The more I look at it online, the more I like it, but it felt a bit out of place in the exhibit.

Jane Dunnewold's piece Sacred Planet: The Pride of Barbados/Mask/Price of Barbados is digitally printed, dyed, screen printed and stitched. Jane's from Texas and I've met her a few times. I'm not sure it's really "three layers stitched together," but Jane is a powerful presence in the art quilt world and this is a powerful piece.

Linda Gass' Treatment is stunning and greets the viewer at the end of the green hall at the entrance to the exhibit. I am so impressed with the dimension she achieves with her quilting and the masterful use of silk. It's so luminescent!

I loved Maggy Rozycki Hiltner's Hot House Flowers. Her use of reclaimed fabrics, especially from old table cloths and hankies, is inspiring and the embroidery is so subtle and subversive. It's 144 x 18" so the image online doesn't really give you a good close up view. In the piece she questions society's increasing pressure on children to excel and achieve and our decreasing relationship with nature. (With that in mind, I'm taking my kids blueberry picking today. Seriously.)

Claire's favorite piece with by Emily Dvorin titled Verdundant. (A fantastic title!) It was a basket woven with green zip ties. I bought a package of zip ties at the Dollar Store last week...

Benjamin's favorite piece was the 3D woven Fig Leaf by Emily DuBois. He also was drawn to Osmose by Brigitte Amarger. Xray images are sewn into the shape of life size figures and hang from the ceiling. He thought they were kind of odd.

None of us could quite get behind Enmesh by Kristina Estell: beakers made from nylon netting with dead leaves sitting in them. I get it. I appreciate it. I respect it. I just didn't really like it.

My favorite piece was Susan Lentz's Wasted Words: Global Warnings. It's a woven basket with tiny bundles of book pages, buttons and yarn. I saw it from across the room and was drawn to it immediately, so it was a delight to realize it was Susan's work. I saw a solo show of her work a couple of years ago in Texas. She is amazing! I must send her an email and tell her how great she is and how fun it was to see her work in such a prestigious setting.

There is one piece out in the garden, Arbor Lace by Michele Brody. (No pictures were allowed inside, but I snapped several outside.)

A quick stop in the restroom before leaving...

Afternoon noshing at Hello Cupcake.
I could give you a whole review of these cupcakes, but I think it wise to just leave you with the thoughts about the art.


Kristin L said...

Thanks for the review and the links. I can only imagine how much more wonderful all those works are in person. I especially liked Hot House flowers, as it is similar in approach to what i have in mind for the reincarnation of my Service Flag quilt. Very timely inspiration.

Karen said...

My favorite is Linda Gass. I've seen a lot of her work locally and it always amazes me