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Museum Monday: Ancient Looms now open

January 20, 2017
By Carolyn Jenkinson

The Logan Museum of Anthropology is excited to announce the opening of the textile exhibit, Ancient Looms, Modern Threads: Contemporary Handwoven Garments from Oaxaca, Mexico. This exhibition investigates the present-day production and use of a traditional woman’s dress-like garment called a huipil (pronounced wee-peal) from Oaxaca, Mexico.

Due to the size and weight of these garments, Logan Museum staff had to get creative when thinking of ways to display them.

“These garments are both works of art as well as incredibly significant cultural objects,” said curator Carolyn Jenkinson. “I wanted to display them in a way that highlighted their technical sophistication, but also invoked a sense of the people who make and wear them as clothing. By suspending these two-dimensional garments, at roughly shoulder-height, approaching them feels both like walking up to a person and a painting.”

On Thursday, Jan. 26 at 4 p.m. in the Logan, Carolyn will be hosting a live interactive weaving demonstration and giving a firsthand account of her research in Oaxaca. She will discuss her experience studying with indigenous weavers who specialize in both innovating and preserving the practice of weaving on backstrap looms.

Museum Monday: Ancient Looms now open

Curator and Logan Museum NEH Project Coordinator Carolyn Jenkinson, and Curator of Exhibitions and Education Dan Bartlett, suspending a huipil from a specially constructed support system.

Museum Monday: Ancient Looms now openCarolyn making final adjustments to a hanging huipil. Museum Monday: Ancient Looms now openA video featuring weaver Ofelia Merino is projected on the wall behind the floating huipiles, giving the visitor a sense of the time and skill required to make the garments on display in front of them. Through diagrams, quotes from weavers, and textile displays, visitors will explore how indigenous women today continue to weave huipiles as well as innovate new hybrid textiles on the backstrap loom. Learn how these beautiful garments are constructed and how they have changed over time to include new materials, new designs, and new audiences.

Museum Monday: Ancient Looms now open Carolyn learning to weave on a backstrap loom with Triqui weaver, Yatahli Rosas Sandoval.

Museum Monday: Ancient Looms now openAssistant Curator Krista Barry’15 gets an up close look at the textiles as she cleans the glass display cases.