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May 26, 2010

Seattle’s Burke Museum to Create New Exhibit About Weaving

Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection, Oct. 2, 2010 – Feb. 27, 2011

Seattle -- Weaving Heritage: Textile Masterpieces from the Burke Collection is the first major exhibition of the Burke Museum's international textile collection. The exhibit will feature over 100 textile masterpieces from the Americas, Asia, and the Pacific Islands and will be accompanied by a series of artist demonstrations and educational programs.

The project will draw on the Burke Museum's extensive collection of ethnic textiles and on the expertise of master weavers and cultural leaders from the communities represented in the exhibit.

Burke textile collections have been widely used for research, but most of these masterpieces have never before been on public display.

The availability of cheap, machine-made textiles, changes in the availability of traditional resources, economics, and changes in the use and value of traditional clothing are threatening the survival of hand-woven textile traditions around the world. Hand-woven textiles are works of art and sources of cultural identity for peoples everywhere. The loss of a weaving heritage would be significant to indigenous peoples around the globe.

Weaving Heritage will provide museum visitors with a rare opportunity to see outstanding examples of traditional textile arts. Additionally, visitors will learn:

  • The significance of these textiles as symbols of cultural heritage and identity
  • The endangered nature of traditional weaving arts and efforts to maintain them
  • The role of weavers within their communities

Many cultures with strong weaving heritages will be represented in the exhibit including: Indonesia, Micronesia, Japan, Mexico, Guatemala, China, Tibet, Philippines, Southeast Asia, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Ecuador, and Native American tribal groups such as the Salish, Tlingit, Haida, Navajo, and Hopi. The textiles will be supplemented with examples of traditional looms and other associated weaving equipment. A hands-on area will allow visitors to try weaving on different types of looms and touch samples of fibers used.

Curator Emeritus Dr. James Nason, as lead curator for the project, comments that, "Weaving Heritage will offer the public a rare insight into the demanding nature of this endangered art, and the extraordinary quality and artistic beauty of the work of indigenous master weavers, while also expanding the Burke's outreach to tribal and ethnic audiences that may not otherwise visit the museum."

Throughout the duration of the exhibit, museum visitors will have opportunities to watch and talk with contemporary master weavers from a variety of indigenous cultures, beginning with the opening weekend of the exhibition. Master weavers Darlene Peters (Coast Salish) and Maria Concepcion Cuc (Mayan), along with Northern Philippines weavers, will be among the "artists in residence" who will share their expertise with students, teachers, and the public. The Burke also plans to present public workshops on how to conserve and display textile art.

Weaving Heritage is being created in collaboration with Coast Salish, Mayan, Tibetan, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indonesian cultural experts. Major sponsorship for this exhibition has been provided by 4Culture, Quest for Truth Foundation, and University of Washington Jackson School of International Studies, Southeast Asia Center. Additional support has been provided by Jiji Foundation, Muckleshoot Charitable Fund, and Tulalip Tribes Charitable Fund.

(206) 543-9762; FAX (206) 616-1274

Woman’s kimono (Japan), embroidered silk, 1950. On view in Weaving Heritage, October 2, 2010 – February 27, 2011, Burke Museum, Seattle.
Woman’s kimono (Japan), embroidered silk, 1950. On view in Weaving Heritage, October 2, 2010 – February 27, 2011, Burke Museum, Seattle.