The Textile Society of America’s 13th Biennial Symposium

Category: Fairs and conferences

The Textile Society of America’s 13th Biennial Symposium “Textiles and Politics” will take place 19-22 September 2012 in Washington DC. Jozan Magazine has asked Michele Hardy, TSA Director of External Relations, to tell more about this interesting event.   

This September textile collectors, researchers, artists and curators will be gathering in Washington D.C. to explore the intersections of power, politics, textiles and cloth. The Textile Society of America’s Biennial Symposium, Textiles and Politics, is the 13th of a series of scholarly meetings begin in 1988. The intervening years have seen the TSA grow, become more international in scope and membership, and extend its awards and programs. TSA members are interested in contemporary and historic textiles representing a global variety of cultures and techniques.

Carpet, Karapinar, Turkey, 18th century, knotted pile. The Textile Museum R34.00.1, acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1949. Photographed by Renée Comet

Carpets and the cultures typically associated with carpet weaving will be well represented at Textiles and Politics. Rosamond Mack, one of two keynote speakers and author of Bazaar to Piazza Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300–1600 (2001), will kick off day two with an examination of the influence of Islamic textiles on the Italian Renaissance. Central Asian Textiles: Politics and Process is a special panel featuring papers by leading Central Asian scholars including: Elmira Gyul (Fine Arts Institute, Academy of Sciences of Republic of Uzbekistan), Irina Bogoslovskaya (Tashkent Institute of Arts), Stephanie Bunn (U. St. Andrews), and independent scholar, David Richardson. The panel is complemented by a workshop and ongoing demonstrations by master velvet ikat maker Rasul Marzaahmedov from the Fergana Valley in Uzbekistan. John Gillow and Mary Elizabeth Corrigan further the focus on Central Asia with their papers examining the effects of war on textile production and weaving Uzbek identity.

Carpet fragment, Ottoman Cairene , c. 1600, knotted pile. The Nickle Arts Museum.

Ottoman textiles will also be well represented—apropos of the Textile Museum’s opening of The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art on September 21, 2012. The symposium will include a preview of the exhibition with a reception sponsored by the Hajji Baba Society. Papers include Sumiyo Okumura’s (Turkish Cultural Foundation) discussion of Mamluk textiles and Selin Ipek’s (Topkapi Palace Museum) paper on 18th and 19th Century Ottoman textiles.

Kaftan fragment, Ottoman, Bursa (?), Turkey, first half of 17th century, kemha (lampas). The Textile Museum 1.57, acquired by George Hewitt Myers in 1951. Photographed by Renée Comet

A panel on Andalusian carpets features papers by Heather Ecker (Aga Khan Foundation) and Carol Bier (Graduate Theological Union, The Textile Museum). South Asian carpets and textiles are also represented with an examination of Persian textiles at the Amber court and Tina Kane’s paper on the conservation of a collection of Mughal carpets. Finally, North American carpets are represented with Kathy M’Closkey’s (University of Windsor) paper on Navajo rugs, Ann Hedlund’s (Arizona State Museum) workshop on Southwest textiles and Amy Poff’s (The Smithsonian Associates-Corcoran College of Art and Design) paper on the Liberty Rug.

The symposium features a variety of exciting workshops and tours to some of Washington’s best-known museums and historic houses, including The Textile Museum, the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Dumbarton Oaks Museum, and Winterthur. In addition to the Textile Museum reception, participants will be treated to a lavish banquet at the U.S. Botanic Garden. With the paper presentations and marketplace set in the luxurious Washington Court Hotel, Textiles and Politics, promises to offer something for every textile enthusiast.

Michele Hardy, PhD.

Director of External Relations
Textile Society of America

Find books by David Richardson, John Gillow, Carol Bier, Kathy M’Closkey, Ann Lane Hedlund, Heather Ecker,

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