Craft

Function vs Form: What determines a design's value?

The first photograph is one that depicts a Jacquard loom print card, a piece of cardboard that has been punctured with holes in order to consistently replicate a complex design on a weaving loom. This particular print card would have been used to create handmade Dutch damask linen in the 19th century, as part of the W.J. van Hoogerwou & Zonen mill whose pieces are currently located at the Textielmuseum in Tilburg, Netherlands. One such product of damask linen would be a tablecloth, which was also on display nearby. 

Fanning Frictions

As we walked through the hall of "Asia" to reach "Africa," the Volkenkunde Museum's only displayed object from Thailand caught my eye, its embroidered metal threads glinting in the dark. Embroidered script and teardop-shaped lotus buds adorn a piece of silk stretched tight around a frame to form an oblong fan that would have been held by a monk near his face as he chanted during rituals at a temple, in a homes, or in other spaces where monks are invited to preside.

Afghan War Carpets

In the winter of 2021 while visiting family in Pakistan, I was searching the carpet stores of Islamabad for an affordable rug to take back to Toronto. Islamabad, with the highest number of foreign diplomats in Pakistan, is full of art and craft stores in central locations which cater mainly to non-Pakistanis. As compared to stores which target locals, these craft stores have a well-curated collection of ‘authentic-looking’ craft that appeal more to Western palates.

Ajrak: A textile without borders?

The two textiles shown side by side, are Ajraks-- the blue silk one is from Karachi, Pakistan and the blue-red is a wool-silk scarf produced in Bhuj, India. While deeply visually similar, the textiles are produced in two countries, that though border each other, are divided by political conflict that does not allow trade or travel between the two countries-- even to conduct research. The blue silk scarf is mine and the blue-red scarf belongs to Meera Curam. 

Bulamari Local Textile Dyers, Maiduguri. Borno State

Field Work to Bulamari Local Dyeing Centre, Maiduguri, Borno State.

Bulamari Dyers are the Kanuri speaking indigenes of Maiduguri, Borno State. They Specializes in the production of the Kanuri tie and dye attires, especially the Kanuri blue and black fabric known as “Dongashou”.

The findings of the survey carried out at Bulamari Dyeing Center, behind the Shehu Palace in Maiduguri, Borno State are as follows:

Charmadozi

This beautiful embroidery from Afghanistan is commonly done on velvet, in this case a soft royal blue fabric, that highlights the embroidery very well.

Beauty is Composite

Beauty is the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, it can also be a combination of qualities, such as shape, colour, or form that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight.

"Hidden" Meanings

Pha hol is the name for an ikat-patterned silk cloth woven among ethnically minoritized Khmer communities in today's Thailand, especially in Surin and Buriram provinces. Hol is "the Queen of Surin silk" many say -- the most beautiful, locally meaningful pattern. Calling hol a Queen draws attention to its creation and use primarily by women.

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