I was invited to the launch of the World Eco Fibre & Textile Art Exhibition (WEFT) at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University to see the unveiling of an exhibition running until the 23rd March 2013.
I can’t say I know anything about different forms of fabric, but Anna Valentine, my friend and fashion designer was the perfect person to go with because she is spectacularly knowledgeable so I just agreed with everything she said.
The exhibition explores the three dimensionality of textile art through installations and sculptural constructions and gives insight into where contemporary textile artists are currently taking the art. The emphasis is on hand-woven and hand made textiles as opposed to the machine made. This reflected the long history of artistic and cultural tradition and the passion of all the artists and weavers about using natural yarns and dyes as artistic media was evident:- cotton, silk, rami, abaca, pina, hemp, bark and bamboo and the colours come from plant roots, leaves, flowers, fruits and insects. There was some amazing jewellery there made out of horse hair!
WEFT is curated by Edric Ong and presented in association with Society Atelier Sarawak, where I have recently been. Anna was particularly impressed with Edric’s extraordinary hat handmade in Sarawak – he did a talk – it was wonderful – “this event”, he said “”is a dream come true”. He had been working on it for years and finally the dream had been realised. He is a strong advocate for ensuring that all the endangered textile traditions are not only maintained but developed. He talked passionately about the ecological inspiration that can be found in all this natural work and that all these old traditions must be saved from becoming extinct.