Saturday, November 19, 2011

Textile Museum - Washington, DC

I just got back from Washington, DC. A week of walking and walking and walking. This was my third visit.  Every time I go I end up thinking about when I can come back because there is so much to see and do.

I was very happy with the Capitol tour, House and Senate galleries, Newseum, art gallery upon art gallery, monuments, memorials etc.....but I was needing a textile fix!

The Textile Museum, located in the Dupont Circle area and accessible by Metro, set my heart pounding for two reasons: 1) It's an uphill walk from the Metro - several blocks- and  2) The exhibits were wonderful.

Pictures were not allowed but you can visit their site click here to find more information not only about the mueseum and the current exhibits but a wonderful section on care of textiles including environmental care, proper storage and cleaning, when to consult a conservator and much more. 
Weaving AbstractionWeaving Abstraction: Kuba Textiles and the Woven Art of Central AfricaOctober 15, 2011 through February 12, 2012
Second LivesSecond Lives: the Age-Old Art of Recycling Textiles
February 4, 2011 through January 8, 2012
I expected to love the Second Lives exhibit but was actually more fascinated by the textiles from Central Africa. This was all new to me and the graphic appeal of the monochromatic textiles, the detailed history of their use in that culture and the unusual construction had me taking copious notes. The hardcover book was $110 and HEAVY so for both reasons I had to pass on that. 

The Smithsonian Museum of American Art had an exhibit on Folk Art. 

Two textiles were especially interesting to me. This denim embroidered piece was said to be made by Cora Meek of Illinois in 1986. 
I love how the various colors of denim as background to her colorful embroidery work together. It's hand quilted! That must have been some job.
I wanted so badly to touch it, see the back, find out if there was a fill or batting.

It is loaded with interesting motifs and I saw two dates. Perhaps she started in 1986 but finished in in 1997? The photo on the left says "C Meek 97".
Click to enlarge any photo.

...And this amazing muslin garment dated about 1949 and made by Alice Eugenia Ligon as a Christmas gift for her children while she was a patient at the Missouri State Hospital. She was there for an 'unspecified' condition and the accompanying description states that this was probably a hospital gown. She is said to have enjoyed sewing, crocheting and embroidery and covered every inch with "religious, patriotic, popular and personal portraits, vignettes and inscriptions."
Sleeves and hem are crocheted.

Graphic motifs in the architecture and decorative elements are everywhere. The tile floors, ceilings and wall designs are wonderful. I was probably the only person suddenly stopping  to take a  picture of the floor! 

This is a bit out of focus but I had to capture the Double Wedding Ring motif on the floor of the Congressional (Jefferson) Library which was built in 1897.
Somehow I manage to find textiles and related items everywhere I go!

Next:  Wool Quilts - Our November MN Study Group Topic


  1. Sounds like a great site to visit, if I ever make my way back there. Love that tile floor!!

  2. I love the picture of the wedding ring pattern in the tile!! that is real quilt history...I wonder if the first person to make a wedding ring quilt saw that floor tile first? very interesting


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