Interpretation and Care of Fine Needlework in Museums and Historic Houses
Wednesday 12 June 2013
University of Wolverhampton
Embellished textiles such as embroidery, lace, netting, fringing and tassels have long been used to add beauty and value to clothing and household furnishings. Great skill and time were required, and the work often included expensive materials such as pearls, sequins, silver and gold. Textile items are particularly prone to the effects of time and embellished items rarely survive in a pristine state that verifies their original status and value. This workshop seeks to explore the interpretation, care and conservation of such artefacts in museums and historic houses. Possible topics might include:
The material culture and history of embellished textiles in museums and historic houses
Delicate textiles on open display
Interpreting needlework skills
Gendered production and use
The relationship between embellished textiles and the heritage setting
Presentation of degraded and fragmentary artefacts
Material culture created and was created by connections with ‘others’ in the era before the global exchange of people, political ideas and economic processes intensified through industrialization. The exchange of goods and the culture of commodities played central roles in forging enduring and transformative global connections.
This conference seeks to explore how our understanding of early modern global connections changes if we consider the role material culture played in shaping such connections. In what ways did material objects participate in the development of the multiple processes often referred to as ‘globalisation’? How did objects contribute to the construction of such notions as hybridism and cosmopolitanism? What was their role in trade and migration, gifts and diplomacy, encounters and conflict? What kind of geographies did they create in the early modern world? What was their cultural value vis-à-vis their economic value? In short, we seek to explore the ways in which commodities and connections intersected in the early modern world.
This conference wishes to bring together scholars with expertise across a range of disciplines and geographic areas that came into direct contact in the early modern period, by which we mean the world between ca. 1400 and 1800. Of course many areas of the humanities and social sciences have expanded their enquiries in disciplinary and spatial terms, but truly global and interdisciplinary approaches still have to rely heavily on dialogue and collaboration between scholars. We hope that this conference will present an opportunity to bring together scholars from very different geographical and disciplinary backgrounds, who all share an interest in exploring commodities in global contexts.
Shoe Obsession Special Exhibitions Gallery
February 8 – April 13, 2013
Shoe Obsession examines our culture’s ever-growing fascination with extravagant and fashionable shoes. In fact, designer shoes have overtaken “It” bags as the most coveted fashion accessories. In response, shoe departments in major department stores have undergone significant expansions, and the “great designer shoe wars” have escalated. Shoes by established designers such as Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin continue to be bestsellers, while the number of rising stars within the footwear industry is multiplying. Over the past decade, heels have reached new heights —as have prices. High-heeled shoes—the fashion shoes of the 21st century—have become so tall that even a 4-inch heel is considered “low.”
Shoe Obsession will feature approximately 150 examples of contemporary footwear, highlighting the extreme, lavish, and imaginative styles that have made shoes central to fashion. The exhibition will include work by prominent footwear labels such as Manolo Blahnik, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Louboutin, and Roger Vivier, as well as shoes from influential design houses, including Azzedine Alaïa, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, and Prada. Avant-garde designers such as Kei Kagami and Noritaka Tatehana—who have made some of the most extreme shoes of the 21st century—will further underscore the exceptional creativity of contemporary shoe design. Shoe Obsession will also include highlights from the incredible shoe collections of several stylish women, including jewelry designer Lynn Ban and fashion icon Daphne Guinness. The exhibition is curated by Dr. Valerie Steele, director and chief curator, and Colleen Hill, associate curator of accessories.