It’s amazing how much material Joy Gardiner was able to pack into our four week textile block, but she did it, covering everything from the history and manufacture of textiles to condition issues, treatment techniques, and proper storage and display. My favorite part of the block was probably the opportunity to produce some of my own textiles, through felting, spinning (watch a video of Gizmo), weaving on a loom, and through our techniques project, where my focus was on the creation of canvas work embroidery.
It was also really great hearing from guest speakers Heather Hansen and Xavier Bonnet, who demonstrated such amazing feats as spinning thread directly from a live rabbit and spitting tacks onto an upholstery hammer. Deborah Kraak, Textile Historian, showed us some beautiful examples of textiles throughout history, and Kathy Francis, of Francis Textile Conservation LLC, revealed some tricks of the trade for loss compensation. Last, but certainly not least, Vicki Cassman explained to us the process of dyeing textiles, which we were all set to experiment with until…a felled power line took out our electricity. What did textilians do before hot plates?
As always, we had some fabulous field trips. On October 31st, Mark Peters, owner of North Hills Cleaners, took time out of his busy work schedule to show us around the plant. He also gave us a magical demonstration of spot cleaning; it was similar to a conservation treatment of local stains, but completed at warp speed. The staff there were also good sports to let us wear our group Halloween costume during our visit. Can you guess what we are?
At the Philadelphia Museum of Art the following week, Sara Reiter gave us a tour of the costume and textile conservation lab and storage spaces, as well as the current exhibition by contemporary artist Tristin Lowe featuring a giant felt moon(!). It was the perfect way to wind down the block in preparation for our presentation and exam.
Thanks Joy, Joelle, and Linda for all your time and patience!