Last year I attended the Costume Society’s annual convention held in San Diego. I had never been before and wasn’t really sure what to expect. Part of the event included a silent auction in which I bid on an item donated by LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art).
There wasn’t too much activity on the item and I was pleasantly surprised when I won it. It was a behind the scene tour of the LACMA textile and costume department given by the curators there for myself and three friends. Due to their busy schedule and my show schedule, we didn’t get around to actually taking the tour until last week. I emailed an short list of our interests (per their suggestion) so they could pull out some select pieces from the archives in advance of our visit.
We drove up early and had lunch at an Ethiopian restaurant on 3rd street that I’ve been wanting to try for some time. Yum!
so, here we are at the entrance to LACMA…that’s me behind the camera
since you were wondering what all the streetlamps were about…….
i understand they are quite beautiful at night…..i’ll have to drive by next time i’m up there after dark.
-they’re powered by solar panels installed on the roof of one of the LACMA buildings.
Once inside we were greeted by the curatorial staff of the costume and textiles department and after introductions were made all around we began to look over some of the pieces that they had chosen for our visit.
sorry about the quality of this photo but i’m posting it anyway- it was such an interesting piece of shibori.
It’s a raffia skirt made by the Dida people of the Ivory Coast. not that you can tell from the photo, but each of the
“shibo” had a lot of texture. it was very lightweight and surprisingly supple.
i loved this piece for it’s combination of silk shibori and embroidery. it’s a 16th century piece of a kasode from Japan. the gold embroidery appears metallic while the taupe is fine silk thread. notice the light shibori pattern inside the flower designs.
this was the back of a contemporary silk kimono-like jacket by Yoji Yamamoto. i wasn’t familiar with his work (don’t follow the high fashion designers too much) but you can google him to see some of his work. this piece was very plain and all black from the front and all purpley blue and textured on the back- nice!
another interesting and apparently rare piece of shibori. this is a Peruvian child’s cotton loincloth from the 13th century.
Kaye, who’s expertise is in pre-columbian textiles told us it is very rare to find one of these intact and in good condition.
this piece would have been tied at the waist with the ties you see hanging at the top with the solid area of fabric fitting between the legs and the patterned ends tied at the waist. notice the subtle zigzag pattern formed by the light and darker rows of shibori dots.
barkcloth painted with dyes. not sure about the age on this one but patterns represent traditional designs such as cow ears with the patterns representing life events and are worn as head scarves at funerals (if i remember that correctly) I believe this was a piece from a pacific island (mindinao?) Sandy was the expert on this one.
i’m a little fuzzy on this one…. but it is beautiful and gave us some ideas on doing some designs in the 4th grade room.
this is just a taste of what we were treated to. we also got to see some super-secret stuff that is being prepared for display in a couple of years from now. i’d tell you about it but then i’d have to……………well, you know…
We said goodbye to everyone – thanks Kaye, Sandy, Sharon & Nancy!! and went on down to the new Broad Contemporary where we enjoyed the two new Richard Serra pieces and on up to the rest of the gallery before we made our way back to Long Beach through LA rush hour traffic. A great day was had by all! Then it was off to back to school night at the elementary school.