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Archive for the ‘Museums’ Category


The Victoria and Albert Museum is the epitome of British refinement and decorum. Here, they present a free online educational seminar in corsetry, complete with photographs of corsets, bustles, and crinolines from their collection.
“No other garment in Western history has assumed such political, social, and sexual significance. What is it about the corset? A mere undergarment, designed to enhance the female figure, has become an icon of all that fascinates about the ambiguous sexual codes of the Victorian era. Was wearing corsets primarily about sexual empowerment or restrictive chastisement? Could the corset explain common female maladies of the Victorian era, from fainting fits to miscarriage? How great was the suffering, for how small a waist? Lucy Johnston, curator at the Fashion Department of The Victoria and Albert Museum, takes us through the history of the corset, from the ascension of Queen Victoria through the first decade of the twentieth century. Most of us are not aware of the many different phases, shapes and fabrics of the corset, as well as the technological innovation involved. Suzanne Lussier, also of the (V & A Museum ) Fashion Department, sees the corset through to contemporary fashion, to reveal how our obsession with the corset has persisted and evolved to incorporate modern sexual and aesthetic tastes.”

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Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes Exhibition is currently showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Founded by Serge Pavlovich Diaghilev (1872-1929), called in turns a dictator, devil, charlatan, sorcerer, and charmer, he revolutionised early 20th-century arts and continues to influence cultural activity today. Many of the amazing Ballets Russes costumes are available for online viewing on the V & A website, and their blog. Here is the cover of Le Théatre showing Tamara Karsavina in costume as the Firebird (May 1911) with a fillip of a white feather bustle, and a black and white photo of Ballet Russes dancers in costumes for Le Train bleu, wearing costumes designed by Chanel (Sasha – 1924.)

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Paris is swell. Designer Elsa Schiaparelli worked in collaboration with avant-garde artist Jean Cocteau in 1937 to design a jacket for that year’s Autumn collection. The jacket was embroidered with a woman caressing the waist of the wearer, and long blonde glittering locks cascading down one sleeve, with the embroidering being executed by the couture embroidery house of Lesage. This stunning garment is made of linen, gilded metallic thread embroidery, beads, and paillettes. This is in the collection of the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

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To Dye For: A World Saturated in Color, July 31, 2010 – January 9, 2011, The de Young Golden Gate Park, 50 Hagiwara Tea Garden Drive, San Francisco, CA 94118. To Dye For features over 50 textiles and costumes from the Fine Arts Museums’ comprehensive collection of textiles from Africa, Asia and the Americas. This exhibition showcases objects from diverse cultures and historical periods, including a tie-dyed mantle from the Wari-Nasca culture of pre-Hispanic Peru (500–900 A.D.), a paste-resist Mongolian felt rug from the 15th–17th century and a group of stitch-resist dyed 20th-century kerchiefs from the Dida people of the Ivory Coast. These historical pieces are contrasted with artworks from contemporary Bay Area artists. The exhibition highlights several recent acquisitions, including important gifts such as a pair of ikat-woven, early-20th-century women’s skirts from the Iban people of Sarawak, Malaysia and two exquisite hand-painted and mordant-dyed Indian trade cloths used as heirloom cloths by the Toraja peoples of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

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Thursday June 3rd from 6-8pm – Amelia Strader from the Museum of Craft and Folk Art Celebrate, Etsy and Britex Fabrics team up to bring you a workshop in creating this charming, vintage-inspired fabric and felt pin. It’s super simple to make, gussy up any outfit, and costs little to put together. There will also be free-form Stitch and Bitch area where you can start a new project, or work on an existing one. The cost for the workshop is $5, which includes admission to the gallery, and supplies for the craft. Resident crafter Amelia Strader will be doing the Etsy Virtual Lab at 1 PM on June 3rd—be sure to check it out if you can’t make it to CRAFT BAR! 51 Museum of Craft and Folk Art, Yerba Buena Lane, San Francisco, California 94103.

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Museum of the African Diaspora, 685 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94105. Session I – Sat. May 8, 2010, Session II -Sat. May 15, 2010, Session III – Sat. May 22, 2010. All classes are from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm and in the Education Center. Nkisi literally translates as “sacred medicine in the Kongo language of Central Africa. The term Nkisi is the general name for a variety of objects used throughout the Congo Basin and are thought to contain spiritual powers used for healing and protection. In this 3 day workshop, participants will learn needle felting techniques to create the structure for a felted Nkisi doll, as well as various methods to add decorative elements including healing charms and various African symbols in order to finish the Nkisi. NO PRIOR EXPERIENCE NECESSARY & ALL MATERIALS PROVIDED. Workshop Series: $45/members $55/non-members OR Individual Session: $20/member $30/non-member

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Craft Bar with Etsy Labs at MOCFA SF returns! 2010 launches with an eco-savvy theme for the conscientious consumer. On Thursday, March 4th between 4pm to 8pm craftastic classes and schmoozing begins! One of our crafty Britex employees will teach folks how to crochet with recycled plastic bags, and there will also be guided knitting lessons. Sip locally-brewed refreshments, nibble on homemade baked goods, and visit the new exhibit Rhythm and Hues: Cloth and Culture of Mali for inspiration. All skill levels welcome: materials and instruction will be provided. 51 Yerba Buena Lane. SF 94103.

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