Friday, September 14, 2007

“Crafting Kimono” exhibition opens at the Design Gallery October 31

“Crafting Kimono” exhibition opens at the Design Gallery October 31

Dates: October 31, 2007 – February 3, 2008
(NOTE: The gallery will be closed December 17 – January 23 for the university’s winter break)

Opening reception and lecture: Sunday, November 4, 1-4 p.m.
With a lecture by Japanese textile scholar Dr. Mary Dusenbury at 2 p.m.

Design Gallery, School of Human Ecology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
1300 Linden Drive, Madison WI 53706
Hours: W-F 11 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., S-S 12 – 5 p.m.
Free and open to the public.

Visit for directions and parking. Free parking is available after 4:30 p.m. and on weekends in several campus lots.

So much of dress is tied to identity. Even in today’s “global market” the simple (or not) decision about which outfit to wear says a great deal about you. The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection has many garments that reflect the identity of the wearer and the maker.

Kimono, the national dress of Japan, offers clear clues as to the wearer and more subtle ones from the maker. It would be easy to assume that a kimono is a kimono, with its straightforward construction, simple t-shape, and one size-fits-all nature. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Although adult kimono are uniform in size—made from one bolt of fabric, approximately 14 inches wide and a little over 12 yards long—the elegant t-shape of the garment is altered and patterned to reflect social and personal issues.

A man’s kimono is fairly straightforward: short sleeves with a square edge, often in somber hues. Colorful kimono are usually hidden under these more somber outer kimono. Women, however, have many choices when they select a kimono. A woman must take into account her marital status, the season, the occasion, and her age. The sleeve length and design of a woman’s kimono signal her age and marital status. The weave and design on the kimono can identify whether the garment is to be worn in the winter or summer, and the placement of the design is different for domestic wear, formal visits, or ceremonial occasions.

Crafting Kimono will reveal these subtle nuances and explore the materials and techniques that go into creating a kimono. Examples of kimono (wedding, formal and everyday) featuring Ro (gauze weave), Chirim (silk crepe), Shibori (tied and dyed), Kasuri (bound resist or Ikat), and Yuzen (paste resist) will be on display. Selected from the extensive holdings of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection by its curator, Rebecca Kasemeyer, this exhibition is part of a series of biennial exhibitions showcasing the HLATC collections in the Design Gallery.

The opening reception for Crafting Kimono will take place Sunday, November 4 from 1-4 p.m. At 2 p.m. during the reception, Japanese textile scholar Dr. Mary Dusenbury will give a lecture. As acting curator of Asian art for Kansas University’s Spencer Museum of Art, Dr. Dusenbury curated the exhibition “Flowers, Dragons, and Pine Trees: Asian Textiles in the Spencer Museum of Art” in 2006. She previously served as president of the Textile Society and as adjunct research associate at the Center for East Asian Studies at the University of Kansas.

The reception and lecture on November 4 follows and complements the international symposium held at the Chazen Museum of Art on November 3, Competition and Collaboration in Edo Print Culture: A New Perspective. The symposium is being held in conjunction with the opening weekend of the exhibition Competition and Collaboration: Japanese Prints of the Utagawa School held at the Chazen.

The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection is housed in the School Human Ecology at 1300 Linden Drive on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus. The collection features 12,000 textiles and costumes representing countless eras, places, and techniques, making it one of the largest university textile collections in the United States. The size and scope of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, along with its related programs, make it an outstanding resource for scholars, designers, students, and members of the community. The mission of the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection is to provide educational resources that further the understanding of human beings within their material and social environments through the study of textiles of artistic, cultural, and historic significance.

Contact: Jody Clowes.

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