Ancient Looms, Modern Threads

Contemporary Handwoven Garments from Oaxaca, Mexico

May 21 – August 13, 2016

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This exhibition of handwoven garments from the Mexican state of Oaxaca explains the evolution of a traditional woman’s garment called a huipil (pronounced wee-PEAL). Masters of Science Candidate Carolyn Jenkinson traces the history of this ancient garment from its traditional function and aesthetic to its contemporary form. The exhibit demonstrates how indigenous women today continue to weave huipiles on the backstrap loom and are reframing clothing as a objects of creative expression and economic necessity.

Learn how these beautiful garments are constructed and how they have changed over time to include new materials, new designs, and new audiences. A celebration will be held Saturday, July 30.

Design Gallery events are free and open to the public.
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Special Events

¡Celebrate Oaxaca! Saturday July 30, 11 am – 2 pm
School of Human Ecology, on the lawn of Nancy Nicholas Hall, 1300 Linden Dr., Madison
Hosted in conjunction with the exhibition “Ancient Looms, Modern Threads: Contemporary Handwoven Garments of Oaxaca, Mexico”

Weaving Activities: Try your hand at weaving! There will be backstrap weaving demonstrations and fiber activities and for families and children of all ages. Go home with your own handspun cotton!

Artisan Blouse Sale: The opportunity to purchase a handmade huipil of your own. Sample blouses produced by Mexican artisan weavers will be available to order on this day through the Wisconsin Without Borders Marketplace. 100% of the proceeds from these sales will support weavers and increase economic stability in their community.

Food: Spread of regional foods and sweets including fresh tamales catered by Taqueria Guadalajara Restaurant and authentic chocolate beverage from native Oaxacan plants.

Music: Listen to regional music

Exhibition: View the incredible textiles on display in the exhibition. Learn how Mexican indigenous women today continue to weave garments on the backstrap loom and are reframing clothing as objects of creative expression and economic necessity.

The exhibition is supported, in part, by the Design Studies Departmental Thesis Award, the School of Human Ecology Graduate Student MS Thesis Award, and the Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies Program.


About the Design Gallery

Each academic semester the Design Gallery organizes a major curated exhibition related to a design topic followed by showcase installations of Design Studies student creative work at both the undergraduate and graduate level.

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All Design Gallery events and exhibitions are funded entirely by competitive grants and private donations. Help us keep our programs free and accessible to the public through a gift to the Design Gallery Exhibition Fund at the University of Wisconsin Foundation.
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Please call 608-262-8815. You can also email Design Gallery.