About the Workshop: Cultural Cloth


Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild

Cultural Cloth: Exploring and Expressing Our Cultural Histories.

Cultural Cloth celebrates the many cultural and ethnic fiber arts that comprise America’s collective expression. Nearly every culture on this planet has used textiles to communicate their beliefs, their history and their heritage. Cultural representation of symbols, icons and motifs fashioned in cloth can be found in a variety of forms, such as: tapestries, molas, kimonos, blankets and quilts. Imagery can be painted, dyed, woven, embroidered or appliquéd. Ethnic fiber arts incorporate China silks and Highland wool, and fibers as old as flaxseed or as new as Tencel®. Dyes, beads, and feathers are just a few of the materials used to embellish textiles for ethnic expression throughout the world.

In each 6-8 hour session, participants will create a fiber collage in conjunction with guided discussion pertaining to issues of cultural diversity. Participants will then be encouraged to share their work with the community in an exhibit setting.

The Workshop:

Each participant will create a  fiber collage representing his or her own cultural heritage. The work may focus on one particular culture, ethnic group or a combination of cultures that the student identifies with. Hand techniques utilized in the workshop will include fabric collage, fabric painting, threadwork, and embellishment with beads, buttons and found items. The artist can also use whatever they feel is necessary to the piece and that can be incorporated within the framework of the workshop. Those who wish to include photo-transfer images on fabric in their work may arrange to have them printed prior to the workshop. Participants will leave with a completed work, or the skills to complete the project at home. Participants will also create a short statement to accompany their work.

Cultural Cloth is appropriate for participants 14 years or older and requires no special skills. Participants will be given a list of necessary items to bring to the workshop. In addition to the course fee, a materials fee will be charged to cover the cost of printing images on fabric, the foundation layer of the collage, adhesives and other incidentals that would be more cost-effective to purchase as a group.

The Discussion:

We will begin each workshop with simple exercises to open minds and examine personal beliefs pertaining to individual cultural identity. Throughout the day, discussion on issues of diversity, and the sharing of family histories as part of the American experience will be encouraged. Participants will gain an understanding of each other and what it means to be part of America’s vision of ” E Pluribus Unum” (Out of Many, One).

Exhibition of the Completed Works:

The workshop host or sponsor is strongly encouraged to arrange a venue for participants to show and share their work, and invite their community into the cultural discussion. Whether it be in a gallery space, a local arts center, the lobby of a local business, or electronically on the web, sharing the completed works is essential to the purpose of this workshop: a celebration of the many cultures that comprise the community of America.

To learn more about Cultural Cloth and how your community can benefit from this exciting workshop, please feel free to contact me at culturalcloth@gmail.com.

© 2008 Ann Flaherty


2 Responses

  1. […] About the Workshop: Cultural Cloth […]

  2. Hi Ann, It is me, Anne Copeland, after these many years. I am no longer a part of Quiltart list, but can I participate anyway? I am making my quilt right now and it definitely fits your theme and guidelines. I will have it ready before or by the 16th of January. How do I send my $10 entry fee? Do I just send a photo for the deadline or do I send the quilt itself? My e-mail is anneappraiser@gmail.com and I will send you my address in Yucaipa, CA and my phone number etc. to your e-mail. Let me know if I can be part of it. Peace and many blessings, Anne Copeland

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