This last weekend I attended the 9th Annual Symposium of the Costume & Textile Association of New Zealand, held at TheNewDowse, Lower Hutt. I didn't need any encouragement to register, it was great to have such an event in my home town. About 120 people attended, many from the greater Wellington area, but others from Australia and the USA. This conference was centred around research and conservation practices rather than hands-on.
During a fairly intense weekend we had a programme of 19 presentations. The conference title was Hanging By A Thread and many papers referenced the survival of textiles (and people) in dire circumstances such as war time, Antarctic exploration, and lives of poverty.
Specific topics of interest (to me) included the stitching of Maori dog skins (these dogs are now extinct) in pre-European times; the resurrection of Cambodian weaving; German paper textiles of WW1; the emptying of an old poof (hassock) filled with remnants of torn and mended clothing from the family who owned it, and the stories they engendered; the fight for survival in WW2 and post war Germany; making it last and work in early Antarctic expeditions; replicating a lost carpet in its original style produced in the 1860's for Victoria Mansion USA; the Victorian Tapestry Workshop, Melbourne; a light-hearted look at keeping a stash (knitting wools, fabrics etc); and masculinity and the knitting pattern; plus much more.
Such a lot of wonderful information and food for thought. It was a well organised weekend and great to catch up with many people I already knew, and to meet many more. Next year this conference is to be in Christchurch. Stay tuned!
Natalie Cadenhead, Curator of Antarctic and Canterbury Social History, Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, and Clare Plug, recipient of Antarctic Artist Fellowship, 2006/7, enjoying a light-hearted moment.
Where have they all gone?
Ahhh... its lunch time.