Author Archives: wiebina

SALA Festival 2017

SALA Festival 2017: Textiles

Each year in August Adelaide turns into a big art gallery when SALA – The South Australian Living Artist Festival – takes over every conceivable exhibition space in and around town.

Textiles, as a medium has been growing in popularity over the years and in 2016 it matured enough to be given its own category on the program after outgrowing its shared space in the mixed media category.

To ensure that you don’t miss any of the fabulous textile exhibitions this year, I’ve listed them here. Why not make a day or a weekend of it, and see them all.

aatfa-fashion.jpgEvent: AATFA Fashion Exhibition
Venue: Art Gallery of South Australia
Description: Showcasing stylish couture designed and created by South Australian category winners from the Apex Australia Teenage Fashion and Arts Festival.
Dates: 21-27 August
Link: http://www.artgallery.sa.gov.au/agsa/home

Here and nowEvent: Here and Now
Venue: Multicultural Communities Council of SA
Artist(s): Haneen Martin, Sorayya Martin
Dates: 8-25 August
Link: http://www.mccsa.org.au/

Aviarius - Barbara MullanEvent: AVIARIUS: concerning birds
Venue: Embroiderers’ Guild of SA Gallery
Artist(s): Members of the Guild
Description: Funky feathered friends rendered in fabulous textile form. Contemporary embroidery takes flight in the exhibition.
Dates: 4-12 August
Link: http://www.embguildsa.org.au

Goose Island Jules AbbottEvent: Goose Island & The Murray
Venue: The Conservatory Garden and Home, Unley
Artist(s): Jules Abbott
Description: This series of textile work is inspired by the various & different ecosystems that comprise the wetlands of the Murray Mouth
Dates: 1-31 August
Link: http://www.julesabbott.com.au/

Felting Jennifer GunsonEvent: Felting at Freshfield Farm Studio
Venue: Freshfield Farm Studio. 236C McHarg Creek Rd via Ashbourne
Artist(s): Jennifer Gunson
Description: Art work and felting demonstrations
Dates: 1-30 August
Link: https://www.facebook.com/FeltingFrenzy/

warp and weft Helen BennettsEvent: Warp and weft
Venue: Aroona Studio. 99 Gaffney Rd Willunga
Artist(s): Helen Bennetts
Description: Handwoven rugs, scarves, and bands; wool, silk and cotton; hand-dyed and natural. Created in a studio amongst the vines and olives
Dates: 13 August
Linkhttps://www.salafestival.com/program/1168/

Beauty colour and texture Vicki SmithEvent: Beauty, Colour and Texture
Venue: Talunga Estate
Artist(s): Vicki Smith
Description: Vicki Smith uses textiles and threads to capture aspects of nature’s diverse beauty, both minute and vast with emphasis on colour and texture.
Dates: 4-28 August
Link: http://www.talungaestate.com.au/

Chaos Dianne DownerEvent: Chaos
Venue: The Barker Hotel. Mount Barker
Artist(s): Dianne Downer, Chris Jeffereys, Deirdre Bruen, Rikie Klasson, Janene Overton
Description: Nature plays havoc with our world. The Artists express nature in beauty and disaster using textiles
Dates: 1-31 August
Linkhttps://www.salafestival.com/program/764/

Lisa WallerEvent: Colours of the Country 111
Venue: Port Pirie Regional Art Gallery
Artist(s): Indigenous artists from the Central Desert region
Description: This collection of Beanies, demonstrates the growth of the Beanie as an art form and highlights works by Indigenous artists from the Central Desert region proudly presented by Artback NT: Arts Development and Touring and The Alice Springs Beanie Festival.
Dates: 14-27 August
Link: http://www.pprag.org/

Entwined Nolda BeynonEvent: Entwined
Venue: Stump Hill Gallery, McLaren Vale & Fleurieu Visitor Centre.
Artist(s): Chris Beck, Lynette Brown, Jenny Gunson, Lili Haas, Trish Harding, Penny Henschke, Pam Kelly, Sue Lockton, Kaye Oliver, Hilary Bedson, Nolda Beynon, Deborah Cantrill, Gem Congdon, Lyn Coombe, June Faulkner, Alana Gregory, Judy Grey-Gardner, Laima Guscia, Pauline Hunter, Maxine Jones, Bron Lowe, Bev Manthey, Teresa Martin, Sylvia Piddington, Anne Quigley, Liz Regan, Joy Shierlaw, Julie Spry, L.Merea Tsatsaronis, Erica Walker, Pam White, Beth Wiley, Jenny Williams, Victoria Wilkins, Liz Yates.
Description: Class Act Collective and Basketry South Australia have collaborated to interlace a feast of plants, fibres, threads and textiles into a contemporary showcase that will embellish the tapestry of your life. It was as if these two arts evolved to be together, not at all unfamiliar, en-twine-d as one. A vine climbs a trellis coiling itself around a wire, birds weave twigs to form nests, and fingers entwine with green strands of soft grasses.
Dates: July 28 – September 3
Link: https://mclarenvale.info/art/stump-hill-gallery

T'ArtsEvent: Artists in the window
Venue: T’Arts Collective, Gays Arcade
Artist(s): members of T’Arts Collective
Description: Each day members of T’Arts Collective will demonstrate their art practice in our shop window. Come along and meet the artists at work.
Dates: 1-26 August
Link: http://www.tartscollective.com.au/

Trevor SmithEvent: Around the world and beyond
Venue: Naracoorte Art Gallery
Artist(s): Trevor Smith
Description: A collection of crochet tea cosies by the Crochet King
Dates: 11 August – 17 September
Linkhttps://www.facebook.com/trevorsmithcrochet1961/

Sera WatersEvent: Domestic Arts
Venue: ACE Open, Lion Art Centre
Artist(s): Sera Waters
Description: This exhibition attempts to unravel the complex category labelled as ‘domestic arts’ and the role that it has played in generations of Australian colonial home-making. ‘Domestic Arts’ reimagines the familial home as a site for celebration and critique; and one that questions the ongoing traditions of colonial settling. In doing so, the exhibition reveals the ethical entanglements within otherwise innocuous home-craft, and that these methods of making are rich repositories of inherited knowledge.
Dates: 20 July – 26 August
Linkhttps://aceopen.art/

Pepper Street Jacqueline IsaasonEvent: The Art of Crafts
Venue: Pepper Street Art Centre
Artist(s): Jonathan Bowles, Lynette Branson, Lyndy Danby, Melissa Duncan, Jeninda Fletcher, Julie Frahm, Suzy Gilbert, Melissa Gillespie, Ursula Goetz, William Herkes, David Huntley, Jacqueline Isaacson, Marzena Kaczmarek, Fran Kernich, Jenny Knight, Peter Kroehn, Anne Martin, Julie McCutcheon, Francie Mewett, Mario Niesingh, Christine Pyman, Rima Rowe, Marilyn Saccardo, Moira Simpson, Anthea Smith, Paul Smith, Joan Stratford, Erik Tils, Phyllis Williams, Victoria Yurkova, Jane Alyce Humphreys, Rachel Hare.
Description: An exhibition celebrating the brilliance of craft-workers in our community. Art and craft will be on display by over 30 artists including textiles, jewellery, ceramics/pottery, sculpture, woodwork and more. There is a variety of high-quality jewellery pieces using precious stones and metals, all by accomplished jewellery artists. There will be stunning sculptural pieces crafted from stone, wood, mosaics and metal featured as well. Some of the skilled textiles on display are a must see.
Dates: 1-25 August
Linkhttp://www.pepperstreetartscentre.com.au/

Sisters Sandi HillEventSister Art Presents – A Squabble of Seagulls
Venue: Tarooki Studio, Port Elliott
Artist(s): Sandi Hill, Proo Geddes, Alison Waye, Maggie Lucas
Description: Four artists present works in acrylics, oils, water colours and textiles all blended to create a feast for the senses
Dates: 31 July – 31 August
Linkhttps://www.salafestival.com/program/834/

Soft Spot Hard feelings Deborah Prior AnnaHorneEvent: Soft Spot, Hard Feelings
Venue: Holy Rollers Studio, Prospect
Artist(s): Ray Harris, Anna Horne, Matt Huppatz, Deborah Prior, Carly Snoswell, Min Wong, Lauren Abineri, Thomas Capogreco, Alison Currie, Ray Harris, Pony Horseman, Celeste Juliet, Henry Jock Walker, Winter Witches, Sundari Carmody, Luke Wilcox
Description: Soft Spot, Hard Feelings is an exhibition and performance event, an open exploration of materiality, meaning, emotion, and intention. It brings together diverse Adelaide artists whose chosen materiality may appear either predominantly hard or soft (or a combination) but whose meaning and intention subsists inside, outside, through and around. Joining together things that seem opposing or binary but in actuality our experience lays oscillating, thrusting itself between a soft spot and a hard feeling.
Dates: 1-19 August
Linkhttps://www.salafestival.com/program/1305/

Cabinet Emma HackEvent: A Cabinet of Curiosities
Venue: Emma Hack Gallery
Artist(s): EmmaHack
Description: a collection of new, ground-breaking body artworks, porcelain sculpture, embroidered hand prints and textured woven tapestries feature a journey into form and texture. A pop-up gallery, placed in the beautiful Rundle Place level 1 foyer.
Dates: 11 August – 2 September
Linkhttp://www.emmahackgallery.com/

Michelle JahnEvent: It’s a Wash
Venue: Lightfoot Eco Store, Port Adelaide
Artist(s): Michelle Jahn
Description: A visual display of water themes, with a mixture of poetry, natural dyes on silk and cotton textiles, ink and paint wax drawings and multimedia. The techniques used to make the artworks are all focused on water conservation and sustainability. There will be wall-hangings of silk cascading down walls and a variety of framed pieces that are sure to delight.
Dates: 11-30 August
Linkhttp://www.exclusiveilluminations.com.au/

Cheryl MasqueradeEvent: Masquerade
Venue: Beltana House
Artist(s): Cheryl Bridgart
Description: Mystery, intrigue and fantasy, you are invited to an inspiring visual experience as Cheryl showcases her latest colourful, loud & playful fine art embroideries, paintings and garments. Taking inspiration from dreams of Venice her meticulously stitched masks form art works representing our individual uniqueness, embracing our vulnerabilities and exposing our personalities, pain, frustration, cultural beliefs, secrets, needs and goals. Don’t hide “Be yourself, everyone else is taken” Oscar Wilde.
Dates: 13-27 August
Linkhttps://wellmade.com.au/creative-practitioners/cheryl-bridgart

Disquiet India FlintEvent: Disquiet
Venue: Murray Bridge Regional Gallery
Artist(s): India Flint
Description: This exhibition makes reference to deforestation, climate change, the gradual shifting of Goyder’s line and to the changing landscape of the state of South Australia. Works include installations using bones, wild-harvested mud and the detritus of human habitation and farming as well as pieces for the wall using plant dyed cloth and paper. A sound piece created by the artist adds a further dimension.
Dates: 21 July – 27 August
Linkhttp://www.murraybridgegallery.com.au/

There are several other group- or community-exhibitions that also include some textile work. I’ve only featured the ones that are mainly textiles.

Feel free to give your feedback and impressions of the exhibitions you’ve visited in the comments. For more information on each venue, refer to the SALA Festival program.

*Images from the SALA Program, copyright belongs to the respective photographers.

 

Telling Stories

The St Peter’s Cathedral, a magnificent building standing watch over Adelaide’s CBD, is home to many a treasure. Its grand interior with stained-glass windows, carved woodwork, mosaic floors, and historical banners is the perfect backdrop for the Telling Stories Exhibition.

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Julie Haddrick at St Peter’s Cathedral

This is a three-artist exhibition showcasing paintings by Maz Gill-Harper from Tasmania, clay sculptures by Mark Pearce from South Australia, and textile artwork by Adelaide based quilt artist extraordinaire, Julie Haddrick.

The theme Telling Stories encompasses the work of these three artists perfectly.

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Maz Gill-Harper’s paintings depicting the parables as they appear in the Gospels are visual representations of the stories told by Jesus to his followers. It contains texts, images and symbols, turning each artwork into a spiritual journey rather than just a painting.

Telling stories as teaching.

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Mark Pearce’s sculptures depicting the apostles, grab the viewer’s heart and attention drawing you into the emotional life of each man. They radiate the spiritual path and soulful journey of each of these biblical characters.

Telling stories as a spiritual journey.

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But it is Julie Haddrick’s work which shouts with joy. Her vast wall-hangings are filled with colour and life. Using hand-dyed, painted, printed and stencilled fabric, she creates visual feasts depicting God’s creation in all its glory. From the vast work encompassing all of the creation right down to detailed images of treasured feathers.

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Julie uses symbols and metaphors to tell her stories. Her work is filled with detail – some of them meticulously sketched with layered fabric like the wedge-tail eagle, others only suggested in the quilted lines on the backgrounds and in the borders.

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Julie’s work is influenced by the Japanese philosophy of Wabi Sabi which embraces transience, imperfection and the impermanent. She subscribes to the sentiment of ageing gracefully and appreciating beauty in decline. Her treasures include feathers, shells and broken shards of china.

Telling stories as worship.

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This exhibition forms part of The Adelaide Fringe and will be on display until March 5, 2017. The cathedral is open every day, with artist talks daily at 11 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm.

*All images were taken at St Peter’s Cathedral and depicts small details from Julie Haddrick’s work. Published with the artist’s permission.

 

 

Yarrenyty Arltere Art Centre

Alice Springs Art Centre edited1The first time I saw the work of Dulcie Sharp and the other artists of the Yarrenyty Arltere Art Centre was at the Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art in Adelaide in October last year. Their soft sculptures and hand embroidery jumped out at me. I immediately felt a connection. It is as if every figure had a soul.

I spoke to some of the artists at the Adelaide event but did not have the opportunity for an in-depth conversation. While working on an article about the artists for Inspirations Magazine (Issue 91- available in July 2016) I communicated with Sophie Wallace, art coordinator at the centre via email and phone, but I longed to see how and where the artists work and to experience the place that inspires them so much. When our family holiday plans to Central Australia came together, I made sure a visit to the Yarrenyty Arltere Art Centre was on the itinerary.

blanket taken out of dyeMy visit on a perfect autumn day in April could not have happened at a better time! I arrived at the centre on the outskirts of Alice Springs just as a blanket was pulled out of the dye vat. Wool blankets obtained from second-hand shops or donations form the basis for all the soft sculptures. Opening up a newly dyed blanket bundle has everyone in suspense. The rusted metal pieces and the natural plant dyes used in the process ensure that the final product is always an eagerly awaited surprise. This one had subtle green and charcoal patterns which would eventually find their way into another unique artwork.

Concept sketchesI was fortunate to see the whole artistic process in action. From the newly dyed blankets all the way to the finished sculpture. The artists come up with concepts for their work, usually inspired by their everyday life in the town camps, or their vivid imaginations. Pattern

 

These concepts are sketched out and developed before being translated into pattern pieces. The figures are cut from the blankets, machine stitched and stuffed before it is meticulously filled in with hand embroidery. The story behind each piece dictates the pattern and the colours used for the embellishments.

Rosabella, Dulcie, Trudie, CandyAll the work is done at the art centre where the artists come together around a big table piled with yarn and thread in every conceivable colour, texture and thickness. Works in progress and new ideas scribbled on sketchpads find a space on there too. On the day of my visit, I met Rosabella Ryder, Dulcie Sharpe, and Trudy Inkamala. Candy the art centre’s mascot dog kept watch under the table, making sure everyone was happy and safe.

artists handsThe soft sculptures coming from the hands of these artists, working quietly in this far-flung and remote part of the world, are in high demand in galleries from New York to Singapore. But here around the table, that does not matter. What matters are the stories that are coming to life, stitch by colourful stitch.

Seeing where these sculptures are conceived, I now understand where their soul comes from. It comes from the hearts and lives of these women who tell their stories with their hands. Needle and thread translate the soul of the Larapinta Town Camp in Alice Springs into artworks worthy of the best art collections in the world.

Kaffe Fassett – no doubt about colour

When in doubt add twenty more colours.

Kaffe 1

Kaffe Fassett fabric used in one of his quilt designs

I heard this quote from Kaffe Fassett many years ago, long before I really knew who he was or how extraordinarily creative he is. I was a young Afrikaans girl in suburban Pretoria, South Africa. All I knew was that he’s a man from ‘overseas’ who knitted multi-coloured garments. There were so many things about him which were completely foreign to me.

Firstly, I didn’t know men can knit. Secondly, I didn’t know that knitting was considered art and that one can make a living from it. I also didn’t know it was ‘allowed’ to mix all these colours together. I came from a time and place where blue and green didn’t go together, beige was always a safe option, and only mums and grannies knitted.

I had no idea that many years later I would live ‘overseas’, have a career which revolves around creative needlework, and actually have the opportunity to meet the man himself.

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Filled with energy and enthusiasm during his talk

Kaffe Fassett and his business partner Brandon Marbly visited Australia earlier this year, doing a series of talks and workshops around the country. I had the opportunity to meet him in Adelaide on the last weekend of a hectic almost two-month tour.

What struck me most about him was not his amazing talent or sense of colour, although that is something to behold. It’s his amazing energy. Kaffe is in his early 80’s yet talk, move and act like someone at least 20 years younger. He is bursting with enthusiasm about his work, about colour, about meeting other creatives, and about teaching.

Kaffe 2

When in doubt add twenty more colours

He is extremely prolific, turning out designs for fabric ranges, quilts, as well as knitting patterns and books at a pace which makes me tired just thinking about it. As someone who takes the time to process information and contemplates ideas before putting it into action (read: procrastinate), I am in awe of this skill!

In his talk, he tells about his travels to different parts of the world. Australia, South East Asia, Africa and India, features alongside South America and Europe. He finds inspiration in everything from street markets to faded wall paint. But it is not just the far away and exotic which speaks to him – he finds as much inspiration from his neighbour’s garden as from a faraway location. As long as there is colour, Kaffe can turn it into something extraordinary.

Kaffe designs knitwear for Rowan, fabric for Westminster Fibres, and needlepoint tapestries for Ehrman. He also publishes an array of books on quilting, knitting and colour inspiration. I found his autobiography Dreaming in Colour, especially interesting and inspiring.

Kaffe 3

Image from Kaffe’s slide show

One of the questions put to him during his talk was how he gets time for everything. For Kaffe, the answer is simple: No television, no mobile phone and no computer. Brandon, who is his business manager, handles all those things, freeing up Kaffe’s time and mind to create. He loves listening to music while he designs and to BBC Radio 4 while he stitches.

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Brandon working on a design wall

During the workshop, Kaffe and Brandon shared another secret: Work with music. Choose something with a beat and turn it up loud. Move to the rhythm! Kaffe believes in doing first and editing later. When designing a new quilt, he works on a flannel covered design wall where he can put up all his fabric pieces, adding as many colours and patterns as he wants. Then he stands back and edits by removing and rearranging. His mantra is – Don’t be afraid. Add more colour and pattern.

Listening to Kaffe and watching him work and talk about colour is extremely inspirational. He oozes energy and enthusiasm for life. Beige does not feature anywhere in his work or life, blue and green can go together, and with many other colours too.

I now realise that that quote I heard so many years ago does not just apply to needlework. It applies to life.

Have you attended any of his workshops or made any of his designs? Please share!

Assemblage by Basketry SA

007This is one of those cases where I don’t need to say much – the pictures speak for themselves.

Assemblage brought together all the strands of experience, skill and creative energy of the members of Basketry SA. It was held at Urrbrae House on the Waite campus of the University of Adelaide from 14-28 February 2016.

 

 

Rebecca Edwards

Rebecca Edwards

Liz Yates

Liz Yates

Laima Guscia

Laima Guscia

Laima Guscia

Laima Guscia

Ira Grunwald

Ira Grunwald

Gem Congdon

Gem Congdon

Gem Congdon

Gem Congdon

Deb Cantrill

Deb Cantrill

Christine Ford

Christine Ford

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Wanderings with Fibre Art Network

WANDERING – To move about without a definite destination or purpose. To go by an indirect route or at no set pace. Amble. Meander.

Wandering also sounds just like Wondering, which according to the dictionary, means fascinated, curious and enthusiastic.

FAN Wanderings Chris Beardsley Fleurieu Meander

Fleurieu Meander – Chris Beardsley

And that is a perfect description of the art and artists represented here – 55 works by 35 members of FAN (Fibre Artist Network).

Although ‘fibre art’ is often perceived as a very narrow niche, with many limitations, the array of work produced by fibre artists is limited only by their imagination. With techniques ranging from hand and machine embroidery, felting, lace, and quilting,  to printing, stamping, dyeing, painting, and beads, as well as knitting and crochet, mixed media, feathers, and basketry, a common theme can be interpreted in countless ways.

In this case, the limitations were the theme ‘wanderings’, the size of the artwork (max 24ʺ or 61cm wide) and a time frame of around 18 months in which to plan, design and produce the work.

FAN Wanderings Alvena Hall Arboreus in Brachina

Arboreus in Brachina – Alvena Hall

Bev Bills (OAM), RSASA director and founding member of FAN, opened the exhibition with a short glimpse into the history books. The initiative came from Alvena Hall, who invited a group of fellow fibre artists to an informal meeting back in June 1994. The aim was to meet informally, without agenda, to promote local and interstate fibre art. FAN was born at that meeting and grew from strength to strength, with many significant South Australian textile personalities as past and present members.

Meetings were held at different venues and supported by galleries, guilds, and academic institutions. FAN meetings are currently held four times a year in February, May, August and November at Marden Senior College, under the leadership of Suzanne Gummow.

FAN Wanderings Margaret Carberry Citrus Vessel

Citrus Vessel – Margaret Carberry

In the current exhibition, as the theme and the background suggest – the work on display covers a very wide spectrum of techniques and materials, and even include a few three-dimensional works. Wendy Redden’s WAVES and Margaret Carberry’s CITRUS VESSEL stood out for me.

FAN Wanderings Madelaine Hedges Op Shop Mandala

Op Shop Mandala – Madelaine Hedges

A few of the works are by current Marden College textile students and I was excited by their eagerness for experimenting and playing with materials and techniques. Their wanderings are fresh and full of enthusiasm. I particularly liked the techniques used by Tanya Davies in WILD WEEDS: DANDELION and Chris Beardsley’s use of natural dyes in FLEURIEU MEANDER.

FAN Wanderings Wendy Redden Waves

Waves – Wendy Redden

Then there are the works by established artists like Madeleine Hedges, Alvena Hall, Joy Harvey and Cathy Boniciolli among others, which delights with their years of experience combined with their confidence in exploring new unknown territory.

But I guess that is what wanderings is all about – to be sure footed even when the destination is unknown.

Wanderings is on at Gallery M in Marion until 6 March 2016.
To learn more about FAN contact Suzanne Gummow.

 

Lao-Tai Textiles by Patricia Cheesman

LAO-TAI TEXTILES:
The Textiles of Xam Nuea and Muang Phuan by Patricia Cheesman
Published by Studio Naenna Co Ltd, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
ISBN: 974-272-915-8

AUTHOR:
Lao-Tai Textile book coverPatricia Cheesman has spent the past 30 years conducting in-depth research on Lao and Thai textiles. She is the author of several books and articles on the subject and has contributed to many international exhibitions.

Born in Singapore and educated in the UK, Patricia lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand where she teaches at the Chiang Mai University in the Thai Art Department. She works with the Weavers for the Environment Group and owns the Studio Naenna Textile Gallery where she conducts workshops in natural dyes and design.

FORMAT AND LAYOUT:

The book measures 210mm x 285mm is bound in soft cover and has 297 pages.

Lao-Tai Textile book mapPHOTOS, ILLUSTRATIONS AND DIAGRAMS:
This book contains everything I expect from a good textile book:

  • Maps to put the information into geographical context
  • Lao-Tai Textile book pages 3Loads of photographs. A few in black-and-white but mainly colour photographs which include detail shots of the textiles and designs, photos of the local people wearing, making and caring for the textiles, as well as lovely story pictures – photos of the community in which these textiles are made, loved and used.
  • Diagrams and sketches showing the construction of some of the garments as well as some of the weaving equipment.

All in all, this book is comprehensively illustrated and contains valuable visual documentation of the Lao-Tai textiles.

CONTENT:
“My deepest thanks go to all the weavers, villagers and shamans who have patiently answered my enquiries, received me in their homes and guided me in my search for information.”

This opening sentence sets the tone of the whole book. Patricia shares her vast knowledge of the textiles, the history, and the people of this remote part of the world, with a tangible measure of respect, gratitude and humility. It is obvious that she not only loves her subject but that she has an affinity for the whole culture and lifestyle surrounding it.

Lao-Tai Textile book pages 2The book starts with the author’s acknowledgements and background notes on how her research was conducted, how she set the parameters for the book, and how the fact that she grew up in Asia and is fluent in the Lao language informed her research. Maps showing the current and historical ‘lay of the land’ further aids the reader to understand the subject matter.

The first three chapters of the book look at the geographical and historical setting of the Lao-Tai culture as well as how these factors influenced the different classifications of textiles in the region.

Lao-Tai Textile book pages 1Chapter 4 gives background information about the Lao-Tai culture. The different gender roles, religious ceremonies, wedding and burial ceremonies, as well as the role of local food and architecture, can be seen to influence the different textile designs.

Chapter 5 to 7 give detail insights into the different garments worn by both men and women of the different clans. These chapters are beautifully illustrated with photos and diagrams.

Lao-Tai Textile book pages 8Both the Shamanic and Buddhist religions had a great influence in the design and use of textiles and Chapter 8 goes into great detail describing and illustrating each piece of textile used during religious ceremonies.

Household textiles holds a special appeal for me and Chapter 9’s descriptions of the pillows, blankets, curtains and other household items used by the Lao-Tai people, must be my favourite part of the book.

Lao-Tai Textile book pages 10Chapter 10 is all about technique, showing detailed photos of the dyeing and weaving processes used by the artisans. It also shows how both silk and cotton are cultivated and prepared for dyeing and weaving. I love how the background colour of these pages add to the lush feel of the natural dyes.

Lao Tai Textile book pages 12Chapter 11 describes the different symbols, designs and motifs depicted in the textiles. Again beautifully illustrated with detail photographs.

The book concludes with three Appendixes explaining the intricacies of the Lao-Tai languages. Essential information in understanding the names and descriptions of the different textiles.

CONCLUSION:
Lao-Tai Textile book pages 9This is a beautiful book with loads of photos. It shows the textiles from a technical point of view as well as a cultural point of view. It puts the textile in the context of its origin. The place, the people and the history. But that is not all. This is not just a look-book – it is a read-book. It is beautiful and you can keep it on your coffee table, but when you go to bed, take it with you and actually read it. It is rich in information and beautifully written. It is obvious that Patricia loves her subject matter. Both the textiles and the community form which it comes.

If you love textiles, books, travel, culture and beautiful pictures – this is your kind of book.

Order your copy today.
Read more about my visit to Studio Naenna