“Lace: Labor and Luxury”, a small installation at San Francisco’s de Young Fine Arts Museum taught me exquisite textiles come in small packages. Plus, my favorites from “Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Wiesel Family Collection” and Te Rongo Kirkwood’s “Ka Awatea ~ The Journey of Life Through Light” exhibitions.
When I started doing DIY fashion projects, I learnt quickly that a little bit of lace can go a long way. When used effectively, lace is the ultimate weapon of femininity, luxury, and elegance. The intricacy of delicate details woven into each designs are exquisite, and it’s hard not to love lace, as it’s a great example of a masterful execution of a design concept. When I used just a little bit of lace trims on my DIY Dress Extension, it gives the perfect dose of subtle glamour. My current in-progress DIY also uses lace, and I will definitely continue incorporating lace into many more DIY projects in the future. When I go to thrift stores, fabric stores, fabric rescue warehouses, or garage sales, I would naturally look (mostly dig or hunt) for lace trims. Ugh, how can I NOT love lace? The challenge for me is to not buy too many of them…it’s an addiction :)
So I was very happy that de Young Museum currently has a “Lace: Labor and Luxury” installation on view now until Fall 2014. I haven’t visited the museum in a while, and I had the chance to do it on a week day after I was done with an afternoon appointment. The lovely museum was not crowded and the weather was beautiful, so I took my time observing and taking pictures of the small installation in front of the textile library on the 2nd floor, as well as quickly visiting “Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Wiesel Family Collection” and Te Rongo Kirkwood’s “Ka Awatea ~ The Journey of Life Through Light” exhibitions before the museum closed for the day.
I forgot to bring my “real” camera, so I had to make do with my Android phone’s camera, and then edited them in Google+. So I do apologize for the less-than-stellar quality, but I think they turned out pretty decent! Plus, you have to go visit de Young Museum yourself anyways if you happen to be visiting the city :)
Lace: Labor and Luxury Installation
The handsome black lace jacket greeted my view when I first entered the room, and I thought the introduction (see below) to “Lace: Labor and Luxury” was just perfect to start exploring the vintage lace riches in the room.
I started with observing the jacket. It’s so gorgeous…my gosh.
Jacket, late 195h century. France. Machine lace (Chantilly). Gift of Mrs. Noble T. Biddle.
Next stop, the vintage laces!
Top to Bottom: Border, 16th century. Italy. Linen needle lace (reticella and punto in aria). Gift of Mrs. Hans Benedict. Border, 16th century. Italy. Linen needle lace (reticella and punto in aria). Gift of Mrs. Hans Benedict. Border, 16-17th centuries. Italy. Linen bobbin lace. Gift of Mrs. D.L. Wemple.
And I saw this text plate on the wall:
More vintage laces greatness to observe:
Flounce, 17th century. Italy. Linen needle lace (gros point de Venise). Museum collection.
Flounce, late 17th century. France. Linen needle lace (gros point de Venise). Gift of Mrs. D.L. Wemple.
Left to Right: Scarf, late 18th century. France. Linen needle lace (point d’Alençon). Gift of Archer M. Huntington. Lappet (headwear), early 18th century. France. Linen needle lace (point d’Argentan). Gift of Mrs. Hans Benedict. Cap back, early 18th century. France. Linen needle lace (point d’Alençon). Gift of Mrs. Hans Benedict.
Aren’t those vintage laces gorgeous? Words simply cannot explain how captivated I was in that room. Wow. If you want to admire and learn more about vintage laces and you live in (or happen to visit) SF Bay Area, seriously consider going to the Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley (you can buy them too!) and The Lace Museum in Sunnyvale. I think I’m going to visit both places sometime soon. Or if you’re hardcore lace lovers, makers, and preservers, consider joining the International Organization of Lace!
Anyway, even though I was done drooling vintage laces, I was not done! Of course I had to open the drawers full of textile treasures in the room. This activity is highly recommended, especially if you’re a textile lover who’s visiting de Young Museum for the first time.
Fragment. German or Russian. Early 20th century. Cotton; block-printed. Museum collection.
Favorites from Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection Exhibition
I was not planning to visit this big exhibition just down the hall from the Lace: Labor and Luxury installation, but I had some time, so why not? There were a stunning selection of pottery and textiles at Lines on the Horizon: Native American Art from the Weisel Family Collection. This is what I saw the first time I came to the room:
Below is my favorite object in the room…I mean, look at that super cute rabbit bowl!
Bowl (rabbit), ca. 1010 – 1130. Mimbres. Earthenware with pigment. Gift of the Thomas W. Weisel Family to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
The close runner-ups (in terms of pottery) are these two “pots” of different sizes.
Out of all the textile arts hanging in the room, the one below is my favorite. It’s simple and effective in its charcoal grey and orange combo.
Moki-style serape, ca. 1880 – 1890. Navajo. Wool; weft-faced plain weave, interlocked and vertical-join tapestry weave. Promised gift of the Thomas W. Weisel Family to the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.
Wearable Arts from Te Rongo Kirkwood’s Ka Awatea ~ The Journey of Life Through Light Exhibition
I still had some time after I was done seeing the previous exhibition, so I went to the adjacent hall to do a pit stop at the multimedia exhibition of Te Rongo Kirkwood‘s Ka Awatea ~ The Journey of Life Through Light. You seriously have to check her Facebook page to see the gorgeous things she’s made, and on this exhibition, she showcased her personal exploration of the Maori cloak form. The four wearable arts on the wall originated “from a ceremonial garment to a sculpted art object in glass, where it is used to depict a spiritual journey through the cycle of life.”
Finally, de Young Museum was about to close. Before I ended my visit, I took this last shot. It was rare for me to see a non-crowded de Young Museum, so I really treasure this serene, simple shot.
There you have it, folks! Thank you de Young Museum for your dedication to exhibit the historical treasure trove that is Textile Arts. And if you want to support the museum’s department of textiles and want to get free or discounted tickets to special seminars, workshops, and more, consider joining the Textile Arts Council (TAC). Just check out their calendar to see events that are coming up. The Wearable Technology and E-Textiles lecture on September 27, 2014 seems particularly interesting!
You can also join the email list to be notified of new textiles installations and exhibitions in the galleries at both the de Young and the Legion of Honor. The upcoming Spring/Summer 2015 High Style: The Brooklyn Museum’s Costume Collection at Legion of Honor Museum is highly anticipated and I can hardly wait to see it!
So, have you seen the textile arts exhibition in San Francisco’s Fine Arts Museums lately? If the answer is no, you totally should.
Thank you for reading; until next time,