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Indepth Arts News:

"The Art of Resist Dyeing"
2003-07-05 until 2003-01-05
Textile Museum
Washington, DC, USA

From July 5, 2003 through January 5, 2004 The Textile Museum will present the exhibition The Art of Resist Dyeing, showcasing approximately 25 objects that demonstrate the various methods of resist dyeing that can be used to decorate textiles. Representing traditions from a variety of cultures, the textiles show the wide range of results that can be achieved through resist dyeing. The objects in the exhibition span the globe and are drawn exclusively from The Textile Museum’s collections.

Resist dyeing is a method of textile patterning used around the world, encompassing a variety of processes, tools, materials, and subsequent results. With this technique, areas of cloth or individual yarns are protected from dye penetration using wax, paste, thread, or another substance. The areas where dye is prevented from being absorbed are said to be ‘reserved’. By repeating the process, textile artists can create complex and beautiful patterns with numerous colors, although some of the most striking examples have only two colors – the dyed color and the original color of the reserved areas of cloth or yarns.

A familiar form of resist dyeing is tie dyeing, where areas of a woven cloth are bound, leaving them untouched by the dye. Another process involves tightly wrapping groups of individual yarns. After dyeing, the yarns are carefully set up on a loom, leaving the pattern to emerge during weaving. This technique is called ikat from the Malay word mengikat meaning ‘to tie’ or ‘to bind’.

The Art of Resist Dyeing includes examples of resist-dyed textiles from around the world, including objects from Guatemala, Cambodia, Peru, and Uzbekistan. In addition to the many textiles, a ceramic bowl from Oaxaca, Mexico will demonstrate how resist-dyed patterning can be imitated in other mediums.

IMAGE:
Ndop cloth, West Africa, Cameroon
Hausa Culture, 1950s
The Textile Museum 1982.44.52
Bequest of Irene Emery


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