Link About This! New Web Picks from Mickie

Go Green @ the Textile Museum

Green: The Color and the Cause will be up at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC – until September 11, 2011. The double theme is explored thoroughly through tapestry, sculpture, fashion, both transitory and permanent installations, crochet, ikat, embroidery, knitting, art quilts, silk screening, digital printing on fabric and mixed media. You can browse by theme, but I really enjoyed starting with the list of all 34 artists (including “anonymous’) and using the previous/next buttons under the images. Most of the artists have links to their web pages – and some link to videos.

Some I especially like: Alabama Chanin is a sustainable couture line that has a whole DIY section with kits, fabrics, and more. Emily Dvorin’s extensive gallery has gorgeous details, as well as an engaging video about her “wacky” basketry. Linda Gass has brilliant close-ups of her work (with greater detail of the Textile Museum example under art quilts then new work). Maggy Rozycki Hiltner shows us her somewhat sinister embroideries with lots of detail too.

There’s also a section on the history of the green movement. If you are in the DC area before September 11, (2011) be sure to check the programs section for workshops and other opportunities.

See Red @ Venetian Red Art Blog

Venetian Red Art Blog is a wonderful art history site – but can be a bit bewildering at first. Its 2 creators, Liz Hager and Christine Cariati, have amassed a vast number of illustrations, observations, opinions, links and history on every kind of art.

As an introduction, I’m giving you the link to one set of 11 articles loosely linked under embroidery. They start with mixed-media quilt artist Joan Schulze then go on to the 18th century English botanical collages of Mary Delany, then to Kuba cloth and Uzbekistan folk art….and then much more.

To look at their other articles listed under textiles, go to the right hand column and scroll down past the book reviews links to categories, where there’s a drop-down menu (many of the articles are in several categories). Keep scrolling and you come to links to other web sites, organized by medium. You may want to go back up to the book reviews and take a close look there too.

Batik Guild Waxes Lyrical

Most of the 200-plus members of the volunteer-run Batik Guild are based in Britain and Ireland. They include “professional artists, amateur artists, teachers, students and those that simply enjoy doing batik.” The gallery has thumbnails of the work of more than two dozen artists. Each artist’s page has several pieces illustrated which you can enlarge. Many also have web sites listed.

I was especially impressed by how well batik works to express landscapes forms  and compositions for so many of these makers. Helen Dougall, Heather Gatt, and Sarah Tucker have excellent landscape detail images on their websites. I focused on the gallery, but there is a wealth of other information about exhibitions, workshops and membership on the site as well.

Malagasy Must-Haves

The spider silk weaving that I mentioned in my March web picks is done here with traditional royal designs of Madagascar. You can find a virtual exhibition of these designs on this Smithsonian Museum of African Art site (be prepared for the site’s soundtrack!) about Gifts and Blessings: Textile Arts of Madagascar exhibition (April 14–September 2, 2002). (The button for the NMAA homepage is at the bottom of this page. Link to index of virtual exhibitions is under Arts and Programs on the homepage.)

There is information about Madagascar’s stunning akotofahana cloths and how they were revitalized in the 1990s when  19th-century patterns and techniques were combined with new ones, triggering a revival of long-abandoned weaving techniques. The contemporary silk wrapper they show from the Smithsonian’s collection doesn’t give you a lot of detail, but there is a similar one at the Met’s site that allows you to zoom in on it.

These textiles are notable because they are beautiful and because their makers are paid good wages for weaving them. For a fun article (“sumptuous silk shawls from Madagascar are the new ‘must have’) about how the revived textile traditions are marketed, check out this link from Independent News (UK).

Heads Up about African Hats

This is a link to Hats Off! A Salute to African Headwear (July 18–December 26, 1999) – another virtual exhibition on the National Museum of African Art site. You can click on Introduction or the hats to learn about 9 outstanding kinds of African head gear.

If you want to explore more on the NMAA site  you can see their whole list of virtual exhibitions by going to Art and Programs and then rolling your cursor down the extensive menu of traditional, contemporary and combination listings. The option to do a search would improve this site and experience.

Smokin’ Butt Bunnies: Fiber Broadly Construed (and Recycled)

This link leads to a bunny made from cigarette butts – definitely fiber – and other works by Massachusetts native Tom Deininger with a link to his website.

If you scroll to the bottom of this article there are thumbnails of other recycled works, also made from fiber media, including a cigarette stubs “carpet” with an activist agenda made by Puerto Rican artist Jesus Bubu Negron that was exhibited at the Sharjah Biennial (2007) in the United Arab Emirates. (Who knew?)

“Experimental recycled art” by French artist Isa Digue is also worth a look. She uses paper, among other materials, to create installations and other works made more enigmatic by tiny images and scant information about them.

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