Anyone travelling to Lodz should watch “The Promised Land”, a film by Andrzej Wajda. It will help them understand a city that developed rapidly on account of the thriving textile industry in Poland. When I first visited Lodz in September 1990 to attend the “Pleinair” textile symposium in nearby Arturowek, I was amazed by the warm hospitality of the Polish artists. In 1992, I suggested the city as the location for the international study retreat “Distant Lives – Shared Voices”, an initiative by American tapestry weaver Sharon Marcus, with Wlodzimierz Cygan, Jolanta Rudzka-Habisiak and Aleksandra Manczak acting as hosts. The international textile artists present at the event were not only impressed by the high professional standard of their Polish colleagues but were also charmed by their joie de vivre. During a Polish wedding party at the same location, I saw American non-smoking, serious artists transform into smoking, drinking and dancing happy people!
That same year, I also paid my first visit to the famous Lodz Tapestry Triennial, the oldest triennial of textiles in Europe, with 104 participating artists from 36 countries across the globe. This triennial visit would remain my chief reason for travelling to Lodz regularly for all these years. Norbert Zawisza, the director of the Central Museum of Textiles, is also a founder member of the European Textile Network, officially established in 1993 under the umbrella of the Council of Europe. Unfortunate circumstances prevented us from ever having an ETN Conference in Lodz, so this will be the first year for ETN to meet in the city that is so famous for its textile art. I am very happy that the current generation of staff at the Central Museum of Textiles will start a new chapter in the history of the oldest European Textile Triennial, offering a meeting place for textile artists from all over the world.
More information about the ETN-conference, March 2 – 4, 2023, on site in Łódź, Poland and online: https://etn-net.org/etn-conference-2023.html
By Beatrijs Sterk