Image: Cover, Issue 109.
BIAS: Polly Leonard
The lavish excess of ornamentation in the embroidery practised by the Spanish Lagartera might be considered anathema to someone educated within Bauhaus principles of modernism but, in this issue, we see that embroidery is far more than simply a way to embellish cloth. It is also an encyclopaedia of history: In the case of the Lagartera, it is the embodiment of Jewish, Muslim, and Catholic influences on the history of a place.
Image: Spanish embroidery, Issue 109.
A similar layering of material archaeology is evident in the contrasting patterns played off against each other across the globe in the portraits of Corina Gertz, which elevate community over individuality.
Image : Corina Gertz, photo story, Issue 109.
Bringing us up to date, Claudia Muñoz Morales introduces us to the ways in which embroidery artisans across Mexico are using the rich cultural history found in their embroidery to uplift communities. This is echoed in a project initiated by the designer Larissa von Planta, who is working to bring new life to pre-loved clothes, and a new future to Palestinian refugees living in Lebanese refugee camps, through embroidery. The embroidery produced in Palestine is famed the world over and, in the run-up to the holiday, it seems appropriate to include an in-depth look, by Dr Gillian Vogelsang-Eastwood, at embroidery from Bethlehem.
Image: Embroidery from Bethlehem, Issue 109.
For String in Palestine, Anne O. Waterman explores the once thriving craft community, now struggling to overcome the obstacles caused by conflict in the region. She finds resilience and hope for the future.
Image: Issue 109.
Political instability can bring about unexpected and engaging art. It can influence an individual artist's career for a lifetime. Geopolitical and social upheaval, including the war in Ukraine, has shaken European artists— those who fled Europe, those who worked under repressive regimes, and those who live there now. Rhonda Brown provides on overview of work impacted by political instability.
Image: Homeland, Issue 109.
On the ground in Kyiv, Dr. Maritte van Beek and Gisela Duetting report on the groundswell of interest in Ukrainian traditional embroidery that has emerged during the last nine months.
Finally, in a reflection on our changing society we consider the future of textile education, static since the Bauhaus opened its doors in 1919. In a world where our relationship with cloth has changed radically, textiles have taken on a greater significance in our lives and are even more important for our future. Is it time to re-evaluate the role of textile education and how it can best serve our society today?
Image: Polish arts and crafts, Issue 109.
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