Archive for July, 2011

Textile Museum Joins George Washington University

Posted in Uncategorized on July 27, 2011 by rjohn

Yesterday was a historic one for rug and textile enthusiasts, world-wide, but especially for those of us in the Washington, DC area.

To repeat, the press release headline was:




Speaking in turn to nearly 300 attendees at a press conference on July 26, 2011, were  GW President Steve Knapp, 

Dr. Bruce Baganz, President of the Board of Trustees at The Textile Museum,

and  Ford W. Bell, President of the American Association of Museums,

who attended to express his organization’s optimism about this new association.

The link below takes you to the press package that indicates what they said.

There are links inside the press pack, and I encourage you to read it all.  There’s a lot of good information about this merger and the partners to it.

There was a different collection also treated in this press conference, since it will, in part, occupy the museum building GW will build primarily to house the TM.  Again, the press pack includes a page devoted to this second collection, but we need to say here that the new GW Museum will also house the Albert H. Small Washingtonia Collection of historical papers and documents.  Mr. Small has donated his collection and a lead gift of five million dollars.  Mr. Small was in the room and asked to take a bow.

The general reactions I saw and heard about this new association of the TM and GW were positive, even euphoric.  Most felt that the TM was finding it increasingly difficult to operate as an entirely independent entity.  This new association seems, especially, to solve its pressing facilities problems.

Bruce  said that he thought that this new association placed the TM on sound footing for as far ahead as we can currently see, and that may well be the case.

The misgivings I have heard, and I have a few myself, have to do with what The Textile Museum is likely to become, in say 20 years, as part of a large university.

 I admire and praise the imagination and hard work that went into this new and exciting arrangement.  It seems to me that the decision makers have addressed most of the serious issues the TM faces. It seems like the right decision now.

But I worked in big organizations most of my life, and I’m worried, just a little, now, about what the TM may gradually become. 

A new enabling of the strong feeling of need to attract new publics, which is already visibly impacting some exhibitions by taking things away from the TM’s glorious collection, and the pervasive pressures of a heavily academic environment, seem likely, long-term, to produce a very different kind of Textile Museum.

But this is probably a day for cheering, rather than for doubts. 

And as I said at the beginning, yesterday was a historic day for The Textile Museum, perhaps more historic than most of us yet realize.


R. John Howe

ICOC XII: A Walk Around Dealers’ Row

Posted in Uncategorized on July 21, 2011 by rjohn

I’ve been a little lax.  ICOC XII in Stockholm ended June 19, 2011.

And Danny Shaffer, of Hali,

and, Ivan Soenderholm, of Jozan,

have long-since had their ICOC XII photos up.

So what follows here may be somewhat redundant, but I’ll do it anyway.

I’ll only comment about things that occur to me as I assemble these photos.

Mostly these are images I took walking around the dealers’ fair at ICOC XII.

I like old fragments.  Sometimes they can be had for lower prices.  Not this one.

Annette Granlund, headed the local organizing committee that presented ICOC XII.  This is the photo of her that appeared in the conference brochure.

And early on, I caught Dennis Dodds, the President of ICOC.

Dennis is smiling here, in part because,  unlike the night before opening in Istanbul, he had not had to spend until 4 am personally hanging an exhibition.

Let’s do one more “important person” photo here.

This is Hans Blix, visible in recent international news, because he headed, first, the effort to discover whether Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass distruction,” and more recently, the investigation of the seeming drive of Iran to produce nuclear weapons.  Dr. Blix spoke elegantly and humorously as part of the opening ceremonies for ICOC XII.  He is standing in front of a favorite rug that he loaned to one of the conference exhibitions.

Back to dealer fair rugs and textiles.

One dealer had two chairs upholstered in parts of Tekke pile bag faces.

He said that he had six such chairs and an accompanying table.

I think my near-neighbor, here in Washington, D.C., Ali Aydin, was the only dealer actually living in the U.S. who was “set up” at ICOC XII.

Flash!!!:  I have been informed from two directions that Hagop Manoyan, a prominent dealer living in NYC, was a major exhibitor at ICOC XII. 

Sorry, should have checked the dealer listing.

I caught Michael Craycraft in a condition of unexpected nudity.

He was, of course, famous, for years, for almost never having been photographed without a baseball cap.

I wear hats a lot now for similar reasons,

and thought for a while that I might have to serve in Michael’s place in this respect at ICOC XII.

It was a relief to see him, later, in his more usual mode.

Michael and I talked a little about the fact that I have in the past been able to buy good material from him reasonably, but that I no longer can.   He claimed that it is largely the fault of the depressed value of the U.S. dollar in relation to the euro.  There’s something to that, of course, but I think it is also a matter of the large number of euros that are being asked by many dealers nowadays.

I am a sucker for compartmented designs.

Notice the “lappet” devices in this piece are placed inside the field and point inward.  Unusual.

The piece above is one of the prettiest salt bags I saw.

Going out the door, there was a Swedish band playing traditional Swedish band music on traditional Swedish instruments.

Hope you have enjoyed this little interlude from the dealers’ fair at ICOC XII in Stockholm.


R. John Howe