One of my obsessions this week is Emma Campbell's 1940s textile-and-art-filled colonial 'shack' just outside Nairobi (it's featured in The World of Interiors' latest issue). Initially I planned to spotlight this view of her living room as Gallery Wall of the Day and maybe comment on the work of Tarka Kings or the other artists represented in the grouping. But Campbell's international mix of fabrics -- although not pictured above, elsewhere in the bungalow she's got Swinging Sixties Brit designer Celia Birtwell mingling with Indian textiles and some great African Ewe cloths -- brought me back to the show I mentioned the other day, Cotton: Global Threads.
[Detail, Niké Okundaye-Davies, Adire quilt, 1987. Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester, on view through May 13, 2012 in Cotton: Global Threads.]
Since the earlier post focused on India and contemporary artist Liz Rideal's dramatic sari installation, juxtaposed with Sultan Tipu’s Tent on loan from Powis Castle in Wales, today I wanted to add that African cotton features prominently in the exhibition, too. This page from the show's microsite gives a sampling of the old textiles displayed alongside recent works. Many are from The University of Manchester's collection but others, particularly fashion, are loans. And that brings me to Liza Lemsatef Cunningham's terrific interview with Whitworth Gallery textile conservator Ann French.
The informal, audio-recorded chat lasts roughly twelve minutes, with French explaining how she and her team painstakingly crafted mannequins to fit the loaned antique clothes. Well worth an afternoon break.