Weaving Community

From time to time, I have written posts about museums around the world that celebrate the voices and the work of indigenous textiles–from the Textile Center in Minneapolis and the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection in Wisconsin to the Kurdish Textile Museum in Kurdistan and the Textile Museum of Oaxaca.

Oaxaca festival dress. Photograph by Eric Mindling from Oaxaca Stories in Cloth.

Perhaps no other museum echoes the mission of Thrums Books as closely as the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at University of California, Berkeley. The Hearst Museum was founded in 1901 and now contains about 3.8 million objects from around the world. And through that collection, they “are constantly working to tell the stories of the cultures around us. Stories that demonstrate our shared humanity and the myriad connections that bring communities—from around the world—closer together.” Well that’s what Thrums Books does, too: share stories of the cultures around us, weaving a community of global artisans.

Weaving community
A Berber weaver in N’kob, Morocco. Photo by Joe Coca from Women Artisans of Morocco.

Next week, the Hearst opens a new exhibition called Cloth that Stretches: Weaving Community Across Time and Space, on view February 13th through June 21st. The Hearst staff has chosen items that have been donated to the museum over the last ten years. The diverse range of textiles represents eleven different parts of the world working together to illustrate the “power of cloth.”

Concurrent with the exhibition, there will be a series of fabulous “Lounge Talks” about cloth and textiles with fiber experts: “Who Makes Our Clothes? The Invisibility of Labor in the Garment Industry,” “The Making, Uses and Meaning of Late Antique Textiles from Egypt,” and “Seeing and Knowing Colors of Southeast Asian Textiles,” and other talks, plus public art making events like “Crochet Jam.”

Crochet Jam! Photo courtesy of Hearst Museum.

If you live in the Berkeley, California area or if your travels take you there over the next few months, consider visiting this meaningful exhibition. You might even see some Joe Coca photographs while you’re there!



Thrums Books Weaving community around the world.



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