Sunday, 29 August 2010

Canada Trip Day 10: Toronto's Textile Museum of Canada

22 June 2010 - The visit to the Textile Museum of Canada (TMC) (Wikipedia) was quite a challenge. We were running out of time since the Textile Museum closes at 5pm and the hop-on hop-off bus services end about 6pm. Another was that we could not find the place despite the map and no one we spoke to at the street could give us specific directions.

When we finally got there, we had about 15 minutes left to look at the exhibitions. Still, I was happy to even have a glimpse of the galleries. The lady at the ticket booth was kind enough to advise us to head straight to the currently showing exhibitions before visiting the permanent exhibitions.

I found the exhibitions Skin & Bone by David R. Harper and Stumble by Stephen Schofield very interesting. While Lia Cook's exhibition on Faces & Mazes were on, personally, I did not find it as interesting as the other two. Both Harper and Schofield's art pieces gave an interesting edge.

I particularly liked "Gathering" by David R. Harper where he used a herd of half-sliced deers to place his hand-embroidery of Victorian-style portraits over the cross-section. His theme involves human portrait embroideries on animal skin, perhaps a portrayal of coexistence between nature and culture. In a different perspective, it looked as though the fallen deers could never forget the people who may have attacked or caused trouble to them or their home. The title, though, seem to speak of common grounds between humans and animals. Arist and writer Ingrid Mida wrote a comprehensive and interesting post on the artist and his work.

Stephen Schofield's work are of one-and-a-half-sized human forms patched together using old clothes that are treated to become taut like skin. These figures are based on Pliny the Elder’s tale of Dibutade. How the patchwork could carve out facial expressions and human posture is a real wonder. With these art pieces placed in some sort of suspension, it really does "hover between a highly spirited/spiritual realm and a dream world filled with personal reverie." as described by Curator Sarah Quinton at the exhibition overview website. I like how Art Department of New Jersey City University describe Schofield's work.
Sis and mum asking for directions to the Textile Museum of Canada

Textile Museum of Canada building

Gathering by David R. Harper

Dibutade 3 from Stephen Schofield's Stumble exhibition

Dibutade 1 from Stephen Schofield's Stumble exhibition

Green Man by Stephen Schofield. Materials used are cotton, rabbit skin glue and cord for suspension

I and I by Stephen Schofield. Ceramic, fabric, clothing and rabbit skin glue were used.

Weaving tools

Head ring flap from India (1930 -1970)

"Artists in the School Project" at Westwood MS in collaboration with Textile Museum of Canada and local textile artists.

Quilt made by grade 6 students of Westwood MS during the "Artists in the School Project"

Blouse panel, mola (San Blas Island, Panama 20th Century)

Rug-making tools from China and Turkey

Batik Tools from Indonesia

Afghanistan's Tekke Turkmen lady's coat (mid to late 20th century)

World map showing the textiles that originated in each respective region

Display of different textiles, shawls, rugs, mats, tapestries.

Textiles used to decorate bicycle stand just right outside the museum

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Canada Trip Day 10: Toronto Bata Shoe Museum

22 June 2010 - The Bata Shoe Museum (Wikipedia) was one stop which I was very keen on making. Just by the sound of it, I wondered what would be the shoes that may be on display. And, what a find this place is. Shoe exibits of different cultures and ages that come in all sorts of sizes, form and materials.

I particularly like the exhibition on Renaissance and Baroque footwear with displays of chopines with insanely high heels! So fascinated I was with the exhibition, I bought the book about the social history of these footwear, written by Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum, Elizabeth Semmelhack, which cost CAN$30.

At the time of our visit, there were four exhibitions. One was on footwear all throughout the ages, then another about socks, and another on native North American footwear and finally the footwear of Renaissance and Baroque.

Alas, I shall let the shoes do the talking this time. :)

Bata Shoe Museum door handle

Entering the first exhibition hall, All About Shoes: Footwear Through The Ages, which showcases footwear of all ages

Clever design of using the staircase as shelves for the exhibits

Some of the exhibits from All About Shoes exhibition

Exhibition hall, Beauty, Identity, Pride: Native North American Footwear

Exhibition hall, On a Pedestal: From Renaissance Chopines to Baroque Heels. Check out the tall stands in the glass display. Those are actually shoes people wore during the Renaissance period! Paintings of both Renaissance and Baroque art were on display as well, showing evidence of the footwear.

This room showcases mostly different chopines, which came in different heights and form, which I found most intriguing! The oddest shoes I knew before this shoe museum visit were those tiny shoes for Chinese ladies with bound feet. This visit has been extremely educational for me.

An x-ray showing how the nails are driven from the sole into the thick heel of the chopine, to keep them together.

Please click on these pictures below to view a large version.

Turkish bath sandals called Nalins, worn by women to public bath houses during the time of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century
A pair of paduka with toe knobs are wooden footwear related to Hinduism in India. It also refers to the footprints of deities and saints that are venerated

Kurdaitcha shoes are made from feathers and human hair, and treated with blood. They worn by men who are kurdaitchas (ritual executioners) from the Arrernte people, Australian Aborigines.
Chestnut crushing clog worn to shell chestnuts during the 19th century in the Haute Ardeches, Auvergne region of France.
Fumidawara are special boots made from rice straw and used in northern parts of Japan to clear a path through the snow around the house.
Cow boot worn when cows in Canada injure their legs and are undergoing recuperation
Sumo geta are worn by sumo wrestlers. They are carved from a single piece of wood for strong support. Oregon boot or Gardner Shackle is a footwear with a heavy metal ring locked around the ankle of a prisoner to prevent him from escaping during transfers. Heavy leather boots worn by Han women with bound feet who did laborious work
Hand-knitted and covered with embelishments are these Croatian men's socks from Grlici, worn in the 19th century Leather boot socks from Northern Afghanistan in the late 19th century served as a boot for horseback riding and walking.
A layer of grass is placed in the boots to add warmth and keep moisture out. This was practised by many Saami peoples of Norway, Finland, Sweden and Kola Peninsula in the 20th century.
Bright colours and daring design of 'car' shoes by Betty Levine in the mid 1960s The 5,300 year-old Otzi man found in the Alps in 1991 was wearing this shoe stuffed with grass that served as a sock. Grass help keep moisture away and have been used as either socks or sewn into socks. Socks made from human hair by Anasazi, the ancient Puebloan people in 1200 BC. Human hair was considered to be the most accessible and renewable form of fibre. The Anasazi are famous for their buildings carved and made from stones and other earth materials, that are are called stone and adobe dwellings.
Native American boots made from hide leather, some with beadings or paintings of natural elements Boots with water-related symbolism worn by Kachinas of the Zuni tribe. The blue represented water and sky and the red flaps a thirsty tongue Caddo moccasins influenced by Delaware and Kickapoo designs
Heavily embroidered Huron moccasins. Early 18th century Iroquois moccasins. Iroquois, Huron and Delaware just reminded me of one of my favourite books, The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper Chipewyan moose skin moccasins with silk-wrapped horse hair bands in different colours and muskrat fur trim
Qabaqib sandals worn by woman in Turkish bathhouses during the time of the Ottoman Empire Italian and velvet-covered chopine with silver lace, silk tassel and tacks, popular in the 16th and 17th century in Europe Spanish chopine covered in green silk damask with open-toe design, popular in the 16th century
Italian pontofole or pianelle are low platform mules, worn at home by both men and women, were considered fashionable in the 16th century Wooden Italian 16th century chopine. Chopines are considered expensive due to their height. Not to mention having to extend the length of the wearer's dresses just so that the chopines stay hidden under the dress. Often though, chopines look more expensive than they really cost. Chopines were worn to make the ladies look taller and the taller one here is half my height or maybe more!
Open-toe chopines with a large flare base that is decorated with tacks
Ivory coloured chopines with pretty embroideries Red chopines. Chopines were sometimes given to brides as gifts from the groom. Thus, chopines may represent a new social status of a young bride.
Late 16th century Persian heeled footwear worn by Turkmen or Mongol warriors French heeled shoes with mules of the 17th century Swedish jackboots with stacked-leather heels and sharply squared toes of the 17th century

Heeled boots worn by upper-class men

High-heeled and platform-soled shoes. Shoes with high heels do not necessarily mean they are for women. Women shoes generally have pointed toes and narrow heels. White children shoes are an expression of status due to their impracticality

Slap-sole shoes with stacked leather heel painted red to signify social status and privilege White slap-sole shoes with pretty embroideries Elvis Presley's blue patent loafers.