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Textile makers around the world do more than create vibrant fabrics for innumerable uses. Their creations stretch in countless ways. They reach back in time—continuing time-honored practices—and forward in time, bringing countless innovations and cross-cultural influences. Textiles may reflect hope, as makers use traditional knowledge to sustain the economies and ecologies of their communities. At the same time, cloth objects may reflect painful histories and the oppression of colonialism, while global demand for “fast fashion” has led to human rights and environmental crises in many parts of the world. Artisans therefore weave and stitch fabrics that stretch beyond comfort, protection, and beauty. The handmade textiles and objects in this exhibit, coming from 11 different parts of the world, each tie in to powerful human stories.


For this exhibit, the Hearst Museum’s staff selected pieces that were donated to the museum within the past 10 years, demonstrating the Hearst’s continuing efforts to document, conserve, and interpret global heritage through material culture.As you explore the objects and stories in this exhibit, we invite you to consider your own textile stories.  (Thank you Adriane Nicolaisen for bring this to our attention.