Research & Discover
Ancient Looms, Modern Threads
Contemporary Handwoven Garments from Oaxaca, Mexico
Saturday, May 21 – Saturday, August 13
Community celebration Saturday, July 30
Summer hours beginning May 21: Wednesday to Saturday, Noon – 4 p.m.
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.
Community celebration: July 30 – Please join us on the lawn of Nancy Nicholas Hall for a Oaxacan-style community celebration! View the exhibition, listen to regional music, eat traditional Oaxacan foods, drink chocolate from native plants, and try your hand at weaving on a backstrap loom. Weaving demonstrations and other activities available for all ages in addition to the opportunity to purchase a handmade huipil of your own. Sample blouses produced by 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 communities. Time of events to come.
Special tours for public groups and summer camps welcome! Contact Carolyn Jenkinson to schedule an appointment.
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.
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About Design Gallery
The Ruth Davis Design Gallery holds exhibitions that relate to the processes and results of design. Together we encourage research, education and outreach by bringing together the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection, the Design Gallery and Ruth Ketterer Harris Library, as well as undergraduate and graduate programs in Design Studies. We are located in the new Nancy Nicholas Hall at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Human Ecology.Completed in June 2012, the LEED-certified Nancy Nicholas Hall supports the School’s mission to improve the quality of human life, through its education, research, creative endeavors, outreach and engagement. This technology-rich environment facilitates webinars, video conferencing, and interactive learning. Its accessibility, café, roof terrace, and other comfortable community spaces welcome visitors and promote interactions among faculty, staff, students, and visitors. An enlarged, climate-controlled Design Gallery and Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection enhance the visibility of creative works from both students and professional artists.
All Design Gallery events and exhibitions are free and open to the public, thanks in part to the generous support from the Anonymous Fund. Support our programming through a gift to the University of Wisconsin Foundation.