Saturday, November 8, 2014

Going Back to China, Part Two

Marin Hanson
Curator of Exhibitions

Yesterday, I blogged about the quilt exhibition we were a part of at the China Keqiao International Textile Expo, October 24-27.

But that wasn't the only reason I was in China. I was also there on behalf of Quilt House to deliver a signed Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Shaoxing University (SXU). For this memorandum, we are focusing on quilt-related cooperation between UNL's International Quilt Study Center & Museum and SXU's College of Fine Arts.

Here I am with Professor Chen Hao, Dean of the College of Fine Arts, exchanging the memorandum:

As part of the cooperation between our institutions, we are lending a group of Education quilts to the SXU College of Fine Arts so that their students can learn about American quilts by examining them "in the cloth," rather than only in pictures. The quilts were donated to us especially for this purpose by Joan White, who made the quilts herself in classic patterns using antique fabrics. Here I am delivering some of the quilts to Professor Chen:

We also hope to continue to send IQSCM curatorial staff to give lectures and to guest teach in SXU College of Fine Arts classes.

A half-day symposium on worldwide quilt traditions was part of October's quilt exhibition at the China Keqiao International Textile Expo.

For their part, SXU is excited about helping us continue to discover patchwork and quilting traditions in China. When I visited Shaoxing last May, for instance, I was delighted to find a baijia pao (One Hundred Families Robe) on display at the ancestral home of Lu Xun, China's most famous early 20th-century author.

A patchwork baijia pao (One Hundred Families Robe) at the Lu Xun museum in Shaoxing

Chinese patchwork and quilting is a major focus for us at IQSCM right now. Stay tuned as we continue to perform research in China, become acquainted with contemporary Chinese quilt artists, and produce China-focused quilt exhibitions, as we will be doing in 2016, in partnership with our good friends at the Michigan State University Museum, home of the fantastic Quilt Index.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Going Back to China, Part One

Marin Hanson
Curator of Exhibitions

I love going to China. Ever since my first visit there in 1992, I have enjoyed journeying to this complex, fascinating country. Admittedly, after spending a semester there in college in 1994, I didn't return to China for 15 years, but since 2009, I've gone back four times. I love the food, getting to practice my rusty Mandarin, the crazy mix of ancient and new, even the crowds; but most of all, I love the people I've met.

For instance, meet Mr. Yang.

Mr. Yang is the Manager at Shaoxing Master Cultural and Creative Industries, a company that produces art supplies and is looking to get into the quilting supplies market. He organized a commercial quilt exhibition as a part of the huge China Keqiao International Textile Expo and invited us to show some of our antique Education quilts there. (Our Education Collection consists of quilts that have been designated to be able to be shown in non-museum settings, to share with as wide an audience as possible).

Here  I am outside the huge expo hall
in Shaoxing, a city a few hours from Shanghai.

Some of our Education quilts on display.

There were vendors of all kinds, both from China and abroad:

There were full-sized quilts as well as smaller projects, like crib quilts and bags.

Quilting on a longarm machine.

And many other artists participated in the quilt exhibition. It was wonderful to meet quiltmakers from all over Asia and from North America. Here I am with Taiwanese artist, Lin Hsin-Chen, who is also President of the Taiwan Art Quilt Society. Those are her art quilts across the aisle from our antique quilts.


And it's always fun to go halfway around the world to meet people from (relatively speaking) your own back yard. Here I am with Bonnie Browning and Ann Hammel, of the American Quilter's Society:

And Brenda Miller, from Canada, was also a delight to meet. Here she is at her booth for her business, "Among Brenda's Quilts."

Be sure to check out Brenda's in-depth, informative, and entertaining blog post about her experience in China.

It was a pleasure and honor to also meet China's most famous and accomplished quiltmaker, Jin Yuanshan, who was a participant in this year's Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. Of Korean ethnic heritage, her works resemble the pojagi patchwork we featured in our 2008 exhibition, "Pojagi: Patchwork and Quilts from Korea." In addition, Japan's Saito Yasuko and Korea's Kim Mi-Sik were there with their beautiful works of art.

L to R: Lin Hsin-Chen (Taiwan), Kim Mi-Sik (Korea), Saito Yasuko (Japan), Brenda Miller (Canada), me, Jin Yuanshan (China), Mr. Yang

It was a wonderful international gathering, all with a focus on quilts -- what could be more fun?!

Tomorrow, I will blog about our partnership with Shaoxing University's College of Fine Arts. We are so excited to collaborate with a Chinese academic institution -- again, all with a focus on quilts!