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Woven to Wear: CSWS Exhibition

Woven to Wear: CSWS Exhibition

Story by Meryl Ramsey

Friday, March 29, 2013 | Number of views (6368)

The Woven to Wear exhibit featuring Navajo and Puebloan textiles is currently on display in the Center of Southwest Studies here at Fort Lewis College.

The exhibit features many pieces from not only the vaults and collection of textiles from the CSWS itself but pieces that are loaned and donated from various other collections in the area.

 “The exhibits develop here, with very few exceptions,” said Jay Harrison, the director of CSWS.   “Occasionally we will take in a traveling exhibit such as the rare plants exhibit several years ago, but typically we develop the exhibit from scratch here at the Center,”

Woven to Wear presents Navajo and Puebloan textiles from our greater region.  The textiles are woven items that were intended for wearing rather than show or gifting to others.  Rather, these items all were meant to be used, and as such, they show us the way their makers and wearers each desired to identify themselves as part of a specific culture in a particular place and time he said.

Harrison continued to explain that the exhibit contains items showing the history of weaving in the Southwest and that all the pieces are authentic and all but a few come from our Durango Collection® here at the CSWS.

The process to set up an exhibit like this takes time and a lot of effort.

“Its a lot of rushing around to set up the exhibits,” said Benson. “We have to clean the room and set up the art. We set up mannequins; we even brought in an expert to help us with the mannequins. She made mannequins with no arms look like they had arms, it was really cool,”

It is a long process, first is the design phase, where artist seek input from experts. During this time inventories are done on the collections to see if the art is working with the theme, Harrison said.

“We then develop the budget, draft a storyline, and begin to assemble the parts needed to work,” Harrison said. “We schedule personnel, including outside experts when needed, and work towards a planned opening as a team.  The curator, volunteers, student workers, interns, and other CSWS staff all work on the project.”

The exhibit is open from Feb. 7, 2013 to May 2014 he said


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