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Friday, May 24, 2024

Textiles go digital

A new exhibit called 'Pixels and Textiles: Digital Close-ups and Objects from the Helen Louise Textile Collection' opened in the Gallery of Design Oct. 4 and runs through Dec. 16. The exhibit focuses on highly-detailed textiles in the collection and digital photography's ability to show these intricacies. 

 

 

 

According to Martha Glowacki, assistant director of the Gallery of Design, the display shows a variety of fabrics, techniques and cultures. Pieces come from Amsterdam, France, China, Bolivia and other countries. 

 

 

 

'The exhibit covers a broad range of time periods and places,' Glowacki said. 

 

 

 

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Despite the different origins, styles and fabrics of the samples, all are connected by their use of intricate details. Digital enlargements of these aspects are placed near all of the samples, according to Glowacki. These photos emphasize the transparency of horsehair or delicate knots that are not visible to the human eye. 

 

 

 

Mary Ann Fitzgerald, curator of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, wants the exhibit 'to bring people to our research. A lot of the pieces haven't been on display before.' 

 

 

 

For many students, the exhibit is the first opportunity to see some of the collection samples up close. The collection has mainly been used as a resource for textile design students. The exhibit allows the general public to learn the histories of the pieces. 

 

 

 

A notable piece in the exhibit, according to Fitzgerald, is the German sampler, which shows an incredible amount of detail and skill. Small geometric designs are stitched within one-inch rectangles. 

 

 

 

Another interesting piece, which Glowacki described as sumptuous, is the female wedding attire from India. It consists of sequins, jewel-like beads and metallic threads. 

 

 

 

Perhaps one of the most unusual samples on display is the Victorian hair wreath, which symbolizes remembrance and honor. Human hair and horsehair were used to make intricate flowers and leaves on the wreath. 

 

 

 

The exhibit also highlights the fact that the entire collection is being digitally photographed for a database. Fitzgerald said that the database, which has been worked on for a year already, would be a resource for researchers. Using digital photography, the collection will become much more accessible. 

 

 

 

An opening reception with a panel discussion takes place Oct. 14. The panel consists of various people from different aspects of textiles, including Fitzgerald. Each will discuss the uses of digital photography with textiles. The panel will be from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, room 178 in the School of Human Ecology. A one-hour reception in the Gallery of Design follows the discussion.

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