Lecture tour: Madelyn Shaw, Curator of Textiles, Smithsonian

Madelyn Shaw is the Curator of Textiles at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. She specialises in the exploration of American culture and history through textiles and dress.

Madelyn is visiting New Zealand in April / May for a conference. Much to our delight, the CTANZ has been able to encourage her to extend her stay in order to present a series of lectures in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin focusing on different aspects of textile histories, from women pilots to ‘exoticism’ in fashion.

High Flown Fashion: Women Pilots and the Selling of Aviation, 1909-39

Auckland War Memorial Museum, Saturday 22 April 3pm FREE

In 1928, Amelia Earhart became the first woman to cross the Atlantic Ocean by air, when she rode as a passenger in a plane captained and navigated by two men.  This flight, coming a year after Charles Lindbergh’s nonstop solo flight between New York and Paris in May 1927, heightened the marketing frenzy among manufacturers and designers eager to share in the lustre of aviation’s heroes.  Earhart (who later made the trans-Atlantic flight on her own) joined Lindbergh as the most influential spokespersons for American aviation.

Cover: Needlecraft Magazine, May 1930

Cover: Needlecraft Magazine, May 1930

But the years between 1909 and 1939, sometimes considered aviation’s “Golden Age,” produced many female pilots—household names in their day—who worked hard for the cause of aviation.  Women such as Harriet Quimby, Amy Johnson, Louise Thaden, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Elinor Smith, Ruth Nichols, Fay Gillis, and Jacqueline Cochran played important roles in socializing aviation, through their flying skills and their public images.  This talk explores how “clothes made the [wo]man,” helping female pilots promote aviation as a safe, commonplace mode of transportation.

Exoticism in Fashion

Te Papa, Wellington, Saturday 29 April 2017, 11am – 12pm

Presented by the Friends of Te Papa. Members $10, non-members $15 (includes free parking & 20% Espresso Cafe voucher) BOOK HERE.

Otago Museum (Hutton Theatre), Dunedin, Sunday 30 April, 2pm FREE

SI Morocco plan

SI Morocco plan: HR Mallinson & Co. exhibition plan sketch for 1931 donation to Smithsonian of “Morocco” series dress silks. (NMAH/Textiles Collection)

”Exoticism’ as it applies to fashion might be defined as viewing ‘the other’ in a romantic light, resulting in mining other cultures for styles, motifs, techniques, silhouettes, colors, patterns – all the elements of design – in order to create a marketable design novelty.  This illustrated talk explores the taste for the romance of exoticism and how it continues to influence fashion today, exploring how the quest for novelty and lure of exoticism can create a cultural connection that transcends romance. [A version of Exoticism in Fashion was published in an anthology, Global Textile Encounters, by the Danish Centre for Textile Research, University of Copenhagen.]

28BBk.colorad: 1928 “Blue Book of Silks” back cover. H.R. Mallinson & Co. American Indian series of printed dress silks. (Private collection)

28BBk.colorad: 1928 “Blue Book of Silks” back cover. H.R. Mallinson & Co. American Indian series of printed dress silks. (Private collection)

Madelyn Shaw – Bio

Madelyn Shaw is the Curator of Textiles at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution. Recent projects include an award-winning Civil War sesquicentennial book and traveling exhibition, Homefront & Battlefield: Quilts & Context in the Civil War, the exhibition Color Revolution: Science Meets Style in the 1960s; and the book Clothing through American History: The British Colonial Era for ABC-Clio Press.

She contributed the case study “H. R. Mallinson & Company” to American Silk: Entrepreneurs & Artifacts, 1830-1930, winner of the Millia Davenport Award. Ms. Shaw has previously held curatorial and administrative positions at the Museum at FIT, the Textile Museum, the RISD Museum, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the Heritage Museums and Gardens.

CTANZ would like to thank co-hosts, the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Otago Museum and Otago Polytechnic, for making this tour possible.

Posted in Auckland, Dunedin, Fabric, Fashion, History, Lectures & Talks | Leave a comment

Exhibition: Current

OM-Current_ODT-online_300x250px_GIF_v2 (002)

Current, Otago Museum, 1877 Gallery, 18 March – 2 July 2017

To coincide with this year’s  iD Fashion Week, the Otago Museum invited a group of emerging artists and designers to create new work based on the museum’s extensive textile collections. The result is fabulous.

It’s not a big exhibition, just nine objects and nine works in one of the exhibition spaces in the original part of the museum. Objects are displayed so you can get a good look at them, especially the original objects, which get you close enough to see the delicate darns in the stockings that inspired artist Devon Smith’s drawings or the scales of the salmon skin suit from China that Melanie Child echoes in her denim dress, jacket and scarf.

Over on a table, you can get closer still to the technicalities of some of the new work, with samples of the prints and fabrics and ceramic used by the artists. Four of the new artworks are at least garment-shaped, but transformations are various, from one kaftan to another, from dress or bag to painting, from tiny hat to four-piece suit plus accessories, from Swanndri bush shirt to ceramics.

The electronically supplied labels are comprehensive, with a curator’s note as well as details of both objects, an artist bio and further close-up images. This information is also available at the exhibition website (below), but if you’re in Dunedin between now and 2 July, it’s an absolute delight. There will be guided tours at 2pm throughout iD Fashion Week.

Current at Otago Museum

(You can also click on the gif above for a quick runthrough of Current)

And some more indepth coverage from the ODT and Otago’s student magazine, Critic



Posted in Artists, Craft, Dunedin, Exhibitions, History, Museums, Students | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Meanwhile in Auckland….

Walk the walk1March is definitively New Zealand’s fashion month, with iD down in Dunedin, and Auckland’s Four Days of Fashion in the City, including films, seasonal previews and other special activities. The four days specifically are 29 March – 1 April, but things kick off on 22 March with a special New Zealand Fashion Museum exhibition with new interactive twists: the walking tour and the museum’s first ever live fashion show.

 Walk the Walk: A history of fashion in the city will reveal the traces that remain of our inner city fashion history through an exhibition of beautiful garments, two live fashion parades and a guided walking tour of the city.

Smith & Caughey’s will host the Walk the Walk exhibition in the historic Lippincott Room on the 6th floor. The exhibition will provide a rare opportunity to visit this lovely venue and an auspicious background for the Fashion Museum to display garments from over 20 local designers, manufacturers and retailers from the past and today. A curator’s tour will take place on 22 and 24 March at 12pm.

More in-depth insight to our city’s rich history will be revealed through a series of 45 minute guided walking tours of related fashion sites around the city. Register for the walking tours by emailing us. Include your name and the session you’d like to attend.

The Walk the Walk: a history of fashion in the city programme will culminate in two dynamic live catwalk events on Elliott Street on Saturday 1 April. Wear your New Zealand fashion to go into the draw for a goodie bag supplied by Smith & Caughey’s..

Participation in all parts of the Walk the Walk: a history of fashion in the city programme is free to the public.

Exhibition 22 – 31 March, 11am to 5pm
Curator’s tour 22 and 24 March, 12pm; 25 March, 10.30am

Walking tours: Thursday 23 March, 5pm; Saturday 25 March, 12.30pm (fully booked); Saturday 25 March, 2pm; Tuesday 28 March, 12:30pm; Thursday 30 March, 12.30pm; Thursday 30 March, 5pm

For more details:


The Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand is delighted to be a Foundation Fan supporter of the New Zealand Fashion Museum.













Posted in Auckland, Exhibitions, Fashion, History, Lectures & Talks, Museums, New Zealand, Shopping, Shows | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Exhibition: Emma Kitts and the event of a thread

The Dowse Art Museum, 25 March – 02 July 2017

Floortalk Sat 25 March 11:00 am

Join artist Emma Fitts and curator Melanie Oliver in conversation at the Dowse about textiles, feminist history and the exhibition From Pressure to Vibration—The Event of a Thread.

From Pressure to Vibration—The Event of a Thread will engage the history of textiles in Aotearoa New Zealand through artist Emma Fitts working in response to and alongside a selection of works from The Dowse Art Museum collection.

Emma Fitts with a work by Joan Calvert at The Dowse. Photo by Melanie Oliver.

Emma Fitts with a work by Joan Calvert at The Dowse. Photo by Melanie Oliver.

Looking at the relationship of textiles to architecture, modernism, Māori weaving, garment making and the local textile industry, Fitts will draw out connections and the broader historical context for these collection works with a focus on the social dimension that is rarely captured in archives.

A rising interest in textiles internationally has brought fresh scholarship on fibre art and the Bauhaus Women Weavers, in particular weaver and writer Anni Albers, who was an important inspiration for weavers in New Zealand in the 1970s and 80s. Making textiles was a popular art form at this time, strongly related to the contemporary architecture, ceramics and education practices that flourished. After losing favour for a few decades, we are now seeing a resurgence of weaving within the arts due to its material tactility and the distinctive ability for textiles to tell stories. Fitts creates fabric works that are sculptural rather than weaving, but her work reflects on the figures, thoughts and feelings of various textile narratives and moments in time.

The exhibition will include work by Judy Patience, Margery Blackman, Sheila  Reimann, Kathleen Low, Zena Abbott, Ruth Castle, Joan Calvert, Georgia Suiter, Jenny Hunt, Erenora Puketapu-Hetet, Philipa Devonshire and Whiona Epiha.

Margery Blackman a her loom. Dowse Art Museum.


Posted in Artists, Craft, CTANZ people, Emma Fitts, Lectures & Talks, Local events, Maori, Museums, Textiles, Wellington | Leave a comment

‘Shoe School’ is coming to Wellington

Louise Clifton is a shoemaker and teacher dedicated to making shoemaking skills simple, accessible and fun. This winter she is offering sandal making workshops so that you can step out in your own creations next summer!

You too could make some of these for next summer!

Although Louise’s Shoe School is primarily based in her home city of Dunedin, she will be teaching two sandal making workshops in Wellington: 4-5th May and 6-7th May. Beginners are welcome.


For more information on Shoe School, including a full list of forthcoming workshops in Dunedin and elsewhere, check out Louise’s website which includes an inspirational gallery of shoes fashioned by her students. She is also on instagram @shoe_school.


Posted in Classes, Dunedin, Wellington | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

When dreams turn to gold

graphicThe 2017 iD Dunedin Fashion Week programme is out, and it’s going to be a busy one, as usual supported by several exhibitions around Dunedin’s many cultural institutions. A major highlight will be When Dreams turn to Gold at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Curated by Lucy Hammonds and Dr Natalie Smith, with curatorial support from Andrea Bell, this covers the 35 years of the Benson and Hedges and Smokefree Fashion Awards, once the highlight of the New Zealand fashion calendar. (This space is now contested by iD and some Auckland events.)

Deborah Crowe and Kim Fraser Dual Outlook, 1997 Photographer: Max Bellamy Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Deborah Crowe and Kim Fraser
Dual Outlook, 1997
Photographer: Max Bellamy
Collection of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa

Opening in time for iD week, the exhibition (perhaps fittingly, given how important sponsorship was to the event, supported  by Quartz Reef wines) includes garments, photography and footage celebrating the era of an annual showcase of New Zealand design excellence that launched careers and gave fashion a real sense of occasion.

There will of course be floortalks: on Wednesday 22 March, Lucy and Natalie will present with Cecilie Geary, who wrote commentary for the shows, and on 25 March, Lucy and Natalie, with special guests Linda Lepou, Margo Barton and Lisa McEwan, all of whom have works in the exhibition.

Margo Barton (New Zealand) Black swimsuit and hat (from a collection of three), 1992 Photographer: Max Bellamy Courtesy of Margo Barton

Margo Barton (New Zealand)
Black swimsuit and hat (from a collection of three), 1992
Photographer: Max Bellamy
Courtesy of Margo Barton

This is by no means the only reason the fashion crowd will be spending a lot of time at the gallery during the week. Other events at Dunedin Public Art Gallery include

  • A selection of Emerging Designers garments on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 March; 3-4pm on Saturday, some of the designers will be present for informal discussions about their work.
  • Sunday movies: 19 March, Dior and I; 25 March, First Monday in May.
  • iD guest talk by Marc Moore of Stolen Girlfriends Club, Thursday 23 March, 12 noon (gold coin entry).
  • Playspace activity focus on fabric design throughout the week.
  • For updates on other speakers, keep an eye on the gallery’s Event Listing and the iD calendar.

Note that the exhibition runs until 15 June, so out-of-towners have a few months to organise their Dunedin visit. (Don’t forget to check out Current at the same time.)

Meanwhile, here’s some more on the exhibition in the Otago Daily Times and RNZ’s interview with Lucy from 12 March.

Posted in Awards, CTANZ people, Dunedin, Exhibitions, Fashion, Lectures & Talks | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2017 symposium registrations now open


Registrations are now open for CTANZ’s 2017 symposium, Fibre: Connecting People, taking place 18-20 May in Hamilton.

Please download, complete and return the registration form linked below.  It includes full details about the exhibition opening on Thursday 18 May, and the symposium dinner on Friday night, as well as information on accommodation and parking.

If you have difficulties with the form (there are two formats available to download now) or any other questions, please contact Sharon: sharon@parnassus.co.nz



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New Magazine for Textile Lovers

“Connecting makers, collectors & lovers of textile craft arts”

For those of you who missed it, in September last year, a brand spanking new textile magazine – Fabricate – was launched.  And the 2nd issue (Summer 2016) isn’t long published.


A celebration of all things textile in New Zealand,  Fabricate aims to profile artists, craft practitioners, techniques, products and resources, education, textile tours and travel, exhibitions and events, ethnic and traditional textiles, conservation and preservation, technological developments, sustainability projects and contemporary issues.

Felting, weaving, spinning, knitting, knotting, stitching, crocheting, piecing, sewing, quilting and embroidering – whatever your textile tipple this quarterly promises something for you.

The Essentials: Fabricate is published quarterly and is distributed nationwide through related retail businesses and exhibition venues, textile trade fairs and by subscription; Find more information on Facebook/fabricatemag; Contact: fabricate@ihug.co.nz for subscription details and for details of a stockist near you


Posted in Craft, Fabric, Journal, Magazine, Media, New Zealand, Publications, Reading, Shopping, Textiles | Leave a comment

Exhibition: Once at the Dowse starring ‘Huttette’

Vita Cochran, Huttette at 21, 2008. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum

Once, The Dowse Art Museum 25 Feb – 11 Jun 2017

FREE admission

In 2008 when I worked at the Dowse Art Museum we commissioned textile artist Vita Cochran to make a creative response to Malcolm Harrison’s remarkable work, The Family. This much-loved work comprises 35 hand-made dolls, all of whom have big personalities and are imaginatively and lavishly dressed in a wide array of ‘upcycled’ fabrics and accessories.

Malcolm Harrison, The Family (Emerston (Ritz) and Cassandra Edith), 1983–87. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum

Malcolm christened the youngest member of the family, a baby, Huttette after Lower Hutt.  When The Family turned 21, we asked Vita to imagine Huttette at the age of 21, and she did so beautifully. The grown up Huttette arrived wearing garments inspired by over two decades of living in the Dowse’s collection.

In the exhibition Once, Huttette will be exhibited alongside the works that influenced the creation of her wardrobe, including Colin McCahon’s Caterpillar Landscape (see the t-shirt), Warwick Freemans Circle Necklace and Brain Brooch (the skirt) and Vita Cochran’s own work, Bloom.  She will be accompanied by her brother Mungo and their parents, Jerry and Chloe from Malcolm Harrison’s original work.

The exhibition has been curated by Jen Boland, the Dowse’s community curator and members of the Naenae clubhouse.

Posted in Artists, Exhibitions, Favourite things, Jewellery, Museums | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Movie season

Julie and the Shoe Factory

shoe2 Julie and the Shoe Factory









It’s time for the annual film preview postings. This year, the frock movies start with the Alliance Francaise Film Festival, which is offering us accessories. Shoes and umbrellas, to be precise, starting with Julie and the Shoe Factory, a ‘musical and social comedy, a recent film with echoes of the festival’s closing film, the much celebrated The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Which is also a musical, only tangentially a style film but oh, what style it has.


For trailers and screening details in 10 locations around the country in March-April:

Julie and the Shoe Factory (2016)

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964)


Posted in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin, Fashion, Hamilton, Hawkes Bay, Movies, Nelson, Palmerston North, Tauranga, Timaru, Wellington | Tagged | Leave a comment