Sunday, December 30, 2007

SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now!)

Support Women Artists Now Day is a new international holiday celebrating women artists. Saturday, March 29, 2008 has been designated for the first SWAN DAY which thereafter will take place annually during Women's History Month on the last Saturday in March.

"As a symbol of international solidarity, there will be
events all over the world featuring women artists on
SWAN Day. The public will be encouraged to attend
these events and to make donations to their favorite
women artists.

By focusing attention on the work of women artists,
SWAN Day will help people imagine what the world
might be like if women’s art and perspectives were
fully integrated into all of our lives. The long term
goal of SWAN Day is to inspire communities
around the world to find new ways to recognize and
support women artists as a basic element of civic

For full information, please visit the web site:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Symbols pack a lot of power. Following is a list of resources:
Adinkra Symbols of West Africa - This site's mission is to make available high-quality renditions of these African symbols at no cost for personal and non-profit uses – you also can sign up to be notified whenever new Adinkra symbols are added to the index.

American Indian Symbol Dictionary

Ancient Symbols

Animal Symbolism – An alphabetized list of animals along with the meanings commonly associated with each.

Animal Symbolism – Another alphabetized list of animals along with the meanings commonly associated with each

Buddhist Symbols and Iconography

Dictionary of Symbolism – “This symbolism dictionary endeavors to provide some possible cultural significances of various symbols, and suggest ways in which those symbols may have been used in context. Most symbols are not code signals, like traffic lights, where red means stop and green means go, but part of a complex language in which green can mean jealousy or fertility or even both, depending on context. It is up to each of us to explore works of art sensitively, and decide for ourselves how the symbols in each work function.”

Gallery of Religious Symbols

Native American Symbols

Northern Native American Symbols\

Symbolism of Color: Using Color for Meaning – explore the world of symbols by using a graphic index, a word index, or by using either a text or random search – This is a directory to the world of symbolism.

Symbols in Christian Art and Architecture

The Blues – July 25, 2007 – March 2, 2008 exhibit at the Textile Museum of Canada – “The mystique of the colour blue - beautiful, elusive, reflecting the sky and the sea - pervades human life and culture around the world. The Blues examines the powerful symbolism associated with the colour blue.”

Curatorial Essay – Patricia Bentley

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The Mind of the Artist: Thoughts and Sayings of Painters and Sculptors on their Art

This is a book edited by Cicely Margarte Powell Binyon that was published in 1909.
“It is always interesting and profitable to get the views
of workmen on their work, and on the principles which
guide them in it; and in bringing together these sayings
of artists Mrs. Binyon has done a very useful thing. A
great number of opinions are presented, which, in
their points of agreement and disagreement, bring
before us in the most charming way the wide range of
the artist's thought, and enable us to realise that the
work of the great ones is not founded on vague
caprice or so-called inspiration, but on sure intuitions
which lead to definite knowledge…”
Now out of copyright, it is available as a free e-book from different sites - some of them provide you with the option to download it in several different formats including PDF, HTML, TXT, RTF, and IPhone (among others):

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

2008 International Fiber Symposium

Materiality + Meaning: A New Understanding of Fiber & Textiles in Contemporary Art and Culture – University of the Arts, Pennsylvania, PA – March 6-8, 2008

The symposium will “…address issues about the state
of contemporary Fiber, Textiles and material studies,
and interrogate, debate and consider the place of Fiber
and Textiles as an expressive force at this time.”
Symposium description:

A Contemporary Korean Fiber Exhibit also will be on display during the symposium at the Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery of the University of the Arts (exhibit dates: March 7 - April 5, 2008)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Studio & Ventilation Ideas – Susan Louise Moyer

The information provided by Susan Moyer is detailed and accompanied by pictures. Topics covered include: Dyes and Pigments; Storing Dye; Natural & Synthetic Fibers; Melted Wax; Ventilation; Fire Prevention; Storing Flammable Products; Lighting & Color; Basic Studio Worktable; Basic Storage; Sink & Storage; and How to Make a Mixing Box.

Originally presented by Susan at the 2005 World Batik Conference in Boston, it was again presented at the 2007 Surface Design Conference in Kansas City. She states:
“This information, gleaned from many years
as a batik artist and silk painter, is intended
to suggest some options artists need to consider
when creating studio space for working with
various dyes, chemicals and melted wax. The
information will include recommendations on
how to construct inexpensive ventilation,
lighting options, basic safety precautions, and
storage for studio supplies such as dyes, fibers
and flammable material.”

Additional tips and techniques can be found at:

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Talking Prices: Symbolic Meanings of Prices on the Market for Contemporary Art - Olav Velthuis


"How do dealers price contemporary art in a world
where objective criteria seem absent? Talking Prices
is the first book to examine this question from a
sociological perspective. On the basis of a wide range
of qualitative and quantitative data, including
interviews with art dealers in New York and
Amsterdam, Olav Velthuis shows how contemporary
art galleries juggle the contradictory logics of art and
economics. In doing so, they rely on a highly
ritualized business repertoire. For instance, a sharp
distinction between a gallery's museumlike front space
and its businesslike back space safeguards the
separation of art from commerce.

Velthuis shows that prices, far from being abstract
numbers, convey rich meanings to trading partners
that extend well beyond the works of art. A high price
may indicate not only the quality of a work but also
the identity of collectors who bought it before the
artist's reputation was established. Such meanings
are far from unequivocal. For some, a high price
may be a symbol of status; for others, it is a symbol
of fraud."


"The book is an excellent, readable and thorough
analysis of how prices are set in the contemporary
art market." The Art Newspaper

"[Talking Prices] provides an excellent analysis of
the tension between art and commerce that
characterizes the art world."Stuart Plattner,
American Anthropologist

Sample Chapter -
PDF Format -

To view the Table of Contents and/or to order:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

On-Line Digital Archive of Documents on Weaving, Lace and Related Topics

Maintained by the University of Arizona, this archive contains an extraordinary amount of materials about weaving, basketry, lace, and related subjects. Free access is provided to thousands of items, all out of copyright or published with the author’s permission. These include 4,222 articles, 437 books, 1,310 periodicals, for example.

The main categories include:

Full texts of books about Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics – links also are provided to tables of contents and sample pages you can review before downloading the entire book

A digital archive of articles about weaving and related topics

Digital archive of periodicals related to weaving

Manuscripts related to weaving

Monographs and Book Sections About Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Illustrations About Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Miscellaneous Material Associated with Weaving, Textiles, and Related Subjects

Patents on Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Documents on Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics Created for On-Line Publication

Online Periodicals about Weaving, Textiles, and Related Topics

Digital Archive of Documents Related to Lace

NOTE: You also can purchase CDs containing documents in this archive.

See for why you may want to purchase CDs when the information is available for free.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Just for Fun: Textile Related Oddities & Absurdities

Some of this stuff is interesting; some is just butt ugly; a lot of it lets you know that without a doubt, there are a whole lot of people out there with much too much time on their hands.

Quilt Squares created from the London Times cartoons

Exploding Knitting Needles

World's Longest Batik - This made the Guiness Book of Records - it measures 12,916 ft (1,200 m) and was created by 1,000 participants in Pekalongan City, Indonesia on September 16, 2005. It was completed in less than 24 hours. Several links:

Knitted Ferrari (Full Sized)


Animal Inspired:

Turkey – in case you need one for your holiday dinner

Turkey Hat - knitted

Squid Hat

Turkey Hat - crocheted

Turkey Tote Bag


Knitted Dino Skull

Their Pets Should Bite Them:

Bulldog Sweater

Lion Dog Sweater

Purple Nightmare

The Pupoose

You Wear this Where?:

Bunny Suit

Bank Holdup Ski Masks for the Entire Family

What the Hell???

Nobody has Ears this Big

When Your Head Needs to Be REALLY Warm


Mohair Catsuit

Gotta Be Road Kill

Even Sara Jessica Parker Wouldn’t Wear These

A Plethora of God-Awful Purses

Body Parts:

Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art
- Techniques used include quilting, appliqué,
embroidery, beadwork, knitting, and crocheting.
Materials include fabric, yarn, metallic threads,
electronic components such as magnetic
core memory, and wire, zippers, and beads.

Knitted Digestive System
Crocheted Skull

Crocheted Lungs

Anatomically Correct Crocheted Childbirth
Education Doll

Crocheted Womb

Knitted Uterus

Knitted Boobs – British hospital using them to
teach new mothers how to breast feed

Eyeballs with Nerve Endings

– I kid you not…

Penis Cushions


Crocheted Vaginas

Anatomically Correct Sock Monkey

Not Your Grandmama's Embroidery:

Nava Lubelski – “My embroidery work explores
the contradictory activities of spoiling and mending,
using a process of hand-stitching over stains, spills
and rips. The marks are either found on ruined
linens and canvas or are approached after a
process of first giving vent to the impulse to
destroy, tearing holes and spilling inks onto a pristine

Orly Cogan – WARNING: Very Strong Sexual
– from the Artist Statement: “The
tableaux I create are inspired by relationships. They
evolve from the personal mythologies of my
memories…I am drawn to the space between
dichotomies, such as soft and tough, dirty and
clean, fantasy and reality, especially as they relate
to gender. My work explores common feminine
archetypes and stereotypes…In the process, I
aim to provoke certain questions…I hope to ask
all this within the context of constantly
shifting boundaries that define our relationships
and our identities.

GENERAL - Some of the above were found on the following sites - you need to go through all of the postings - there are so-o-o-o many others I could have/should have cited:

What Not to Knit

What Not to Crochet

Museum of Kitschy Knits?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Overview of Feminist Legal Theory [Textile Related] - Ann Bartow

There have been three highly publicized quilt-related lawsuits over copyright issues of which I am aware, Brown vs McCormick (about the quilt used in the film "How to Make an American Quilt"); Ringgold vs Black Entertainment Television, Inc. (about the use of a poster with her quilt image on the set of Roc - see to read the full court opinion); and the recent lawsuit filed by Paula Nadelstern against a hotel that used her Kaleidoscope designs for their carpet (Ami Simms has a good post about this on her blog). - Gwen Magee

My scholarly specialty is intellectual property law, which is comprised of three discreet areas: Copyright law, patent law, and trademark law. Cyberspace law sometimes gets thrown in for good measure as well, since so many legal issues on the Internet involve some facet of intellectual property law. Using the personal narrative format, I will try to illustrate the categories of feminist legal theory I set out above, and I will do this by talking about quilts.

Quilting is a largely female identified art form that does not mesh well with copyright law because quilts are functional, rather than being merely decorative; because quilters use a lot of repetition, such as a particular pattern to represent a wedding, or to symbolize the birth of a child, and these features are intentionally echoed (indeed “copied”) in many later quilts; and because quilts are often designed and executed by amorphous groups (e.g. during “quilting bees”) rather than by a single heroic author. Congress has never attempted to write a provision of the Copyright Act that was specifically applicable to quilts, even though it has done so for many other discreet art forms, categories of writings, and specific technologies. Is this because quilting is viewed as unimportant? And if so, is quilting viewed as unimportant because it is perceived to be the provenance of women? These are the sorts of queries feminist legal theory raises.

The equality approach might ask whether there were “male identified” art forms that are similarly ignored by copyright law. The difference approach might ask whether women are better served by keeping copyright laws away from quilting. The dominance approach might ask why women were quilting at all, instead of using their time and talents to pursue more lucrative and culturally respected art forms. The intersectionality approach might ask whether women of particular races or economic classes quilted more than others, and if this could be part of the explanation for why copyright law ignored quilts. I would initially try to use all these approaches to analyze the interplay (or lack thereof) of quilting and copyright law. However, if I wanted to do more than describe the situation, I’d have to recommend either a change in the law, or a change in the way courts apply and interpret current law. This would require me to favor one theoretical approach over the others, based on what I though the superior normative solution was.

Because I believe that a “low barriers” approach to copyright law is best, I’d be reluctant to recommend adding a specific quilting provision to the Copyright Act if it meant that quilters could more easily assert copyright claims against each other. This would degrade the quilting culture of copying and group authorship that strikes me as socially valuable, so I would reject an “equality” approach that made quilting “equal” to drawings and sculptures. In doing so I would be embracing the “difference” approach, because my views clearly reflect a belief that quilting is different in part because it is women identified, and these differences are beneficial, so the law should preserve them. However, by reifying difference in this manner, I might also be condemning quilting to second class status. It is certainly possible that if the copyright laws treated a quilt more like an oil painting, society might follow suit, and this would elevate the social and economic status of quilters. Valuing “difference” too greatly might preclude this. Applying dominance theory would require me to recognize that women may turn to quilting because they are subordinated by men who deny them access to other creative outlets. It would therefore make more sense to devote resources to reducing impediments to women’s full participation in the fine arts, rather than simply attempting to amend the Copyright Act on behalf of quilting.

One problem with this approach is that quilters may be deeply offended, and wonder why what they do is not being valued. Some will question whether the merits of quilting are being disregarded because quilting is so closely aligned with women: Is quilting getting short shrift because it has “girl cooties”? Others will ask whether, because they prefer quilting to oil painting, they are being accused of “false consciousness,” meaning they are assumed not to recognize that by quilting rather than pursuing other artistic endeavors, they are complicit in their own oppression. I struggle with all this, because while I recognize that framing the world in terms of dominance and subordination tends to abrade the sensitivities of many women, it also seems intuitively correct to me. When I visit a major museum and notice that only a tiny fraction of the exhibited works have been created by women, I don’t blame quilting. I love well made handmade quilts, and I know that producing them requires a lot of specialized effort and skill. But I also recognize that the artistry responsible for them might have been channeled into more “museum worthy” forms of artistic expression if the talents and skills of women had been nurtured and developed for centuries along with those of men.

It is very difficult to reassure quilters that you value and appreciate their work, while simultaneously asserting that quilting is a symptom of subordination. How can upsetting and offending quilters possibly forward the goals of feminism? It’s a very hard question, and one that reappears in some form or another every time dominance theory is applied to social phenomenon.

The intersectionality approach requires me to consciously stop thinking about quilting from a white, middle class perspective and do some research about the role of quilting in the artistic, social and economic lives of women of difference races and in different economic groups than my own. If I specifically determine that the importance of quilting to (for example) poor women is greater than it is to more affluent women, I need to make sure my analysis, and any recommendations I make, take this into consideration. Maybe this means that I will recommend legal changes that would privilege quilt makers (who are mostly women) over quilt sellers (who may be mostly women), and also over quilt buyers (who may also be mostly women). Thinking about the relationships and conflicts between various groups of women can be difficult, but it is also both worthwhile and necessary. While it is certainly possible that if we took over the world, women would start acting just like men, I hold out hope (quite possibly “essentialist” hope, if truth be told) that we could do a bit better, and intersectionality theorists remind feminists that our true project is to build a better world for all women, not just ourselves.

The entire article is accessible at:
Ann Bartow is an active contributor
to the Feminist Law Professors Blog.
Please visit it for an eyeful of some very interesting
(though non-textile related) postings
Ann Bartow is an Associate Professor at the University of South Carolina School of Law teaching "...Intellectual Property Survey Law, Copyright Law, Trademarks and Unfair Competition Law, Cyberspace Law, and Constitutional Law II — Individual Liberties. She has also taught Patent Law and Property, and in practice specialized in patent litigation. Her scholarship primarily focuses on the intersection between intellectual property laws and public policy concerns."