It all began in 1927 with the gift of a Kashmir shawl. That shawl was the Denver Art Museum’s (DAM) first recorded non-American Indian textile. In the decades that followed, the museum’s collection grew exponentially. Now, its Textile Art and Fashion Collection holds over 5,000 objects from Asia, Europe, and North and South America. These range from archeological textiles to contemporary fiber art pieces and include everything from Amish quilts and Japanese Kimonos to an 18th-century wall hanging from the Ottoman Empire and a centuries-old tunic from Peru. The museum’s Chinese robe collection is one of the best in the country.
A huge gift from those generous and textile-loving folks at the Avenir Foundation allowed the museum to expand in 2013, taking over about 7,000 square feet of space. This newly expanded Textile Art Gallery allows curators to show a larger portion of the Museum’s collection, to host more loaned exhibitions of textile art, and to give visitors a space to participate in a variety of textile-related activities.
At the monthly Textile Talk, textile conservators invite museum visitors to join them as they work with objects from the museum’s collection.
The Mellon Foundation Fellow shares the process and decision making of textile conservation with examples from current projects each month during the Textile Conservation Fellow Talk
Throughout the year, the museum hosts special textile events that highlight various techniques, like spinning yarn, dyeing fabric, and weaving tapestries.
Conservation Uncovered allows visitors to peek into the world of conserving textiles with the help of a museum educator. You can explore fabrics closely and try out tools that conservators use.
The Nancy Lake Benson Thread Studio provides the opportunity to learn about a variety of textile arts and to try hands-on activities, such as embroidery and tapestry weaving.
And of course, there are the exhibits. The current show, Creative Crossroads: The Art of Tapestry, is on view through August 7, 2016.
Check out the DAM–it really is good!
And for more Thread Talk, check out the best textile books there are at Thrums Books.