Founding Presidents Awardees at the 14th Biennial Symposium
by Roxane Shaughnessy, Chair of 2014 FPA Awards Committee
The Founding Presidents Award was inaugurated in 2008 to recognize excellence in the field of textile studies and to ensure that the finest new work is represented at the organization’s Biennial Symposium. The awards are named in honor of the five founding presidents – Peggy Gilfoy, Milton Sonday, Lotus Stack, Mattiebelle Gittinger and Louise W. Mackie. Candidates are nominated by the committee based on preliminary review of their abstracts, and asked to submit their papers in advance of the Symposium for final review. The nominees receive complimentary Symposium registration and the winning paper receives in addition, a mone- tary award.
The 2014 committee consisted of Roxane Shaughnessy (Chair), Jill D’Alessandro, Pat Hickman, Louise W. Mackie (non-Board mem- ber) and Ruth Scheuing (non-Board member). The 2014 Symposium program committee chose 15 outstanding abstracts from the overall selection of accepted papers. The Founding Presidents Award Committee narrowed this group to five nominees for the Award based on the program committee’s recommendations. This year the award for best paper was jointly awarded to two nominees who each received a $500 cash prize: Olivia Valentine and Emilie Wellfelt.
I would like to congratulate all the 2014 FPA nominees for their excellent papers. In addition to the award winners, the nominees include Margarita Gleba, “The Fabric for a City: Development of Textile Materials During the Urbanization Period in Mediterranean Europe”; Eric Mindling, “The Oaxacan Silk Comeback”; and Ann Peters, “Dressing the Leader, Dressing the Ancestor: The longue duree in the South Central Andes.”
Olivia Valentine creates architectural scale textile installations exhibited nationally and internationally. Recent solo exhibitions have included Panorama at Pasajist in Istanbul and 1:1 at Happy Collaborationists Exhibition Space in Chicago. Olivia received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010 and her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. Recent awards include a Fulbright Fellowship for Installation Art in Turkey (2012- 13) and the Brandford/Elliott Award for excellence in Fiber Arts (2012.)
Abstract: Supported by a Fulbright Fellowship and the Brandford/Elliot Award, I spent 2012-13 living and working in Turkey, researching the traditional needle lace edging İğne Oyasi and making relationships between this traditional edging, the contemporary urban fabric and the rural landscape of Turkey. In this paper, I will speak about my time in Turkey, presenting my research into İğne Oyasi, the regional needle lace often seen at the edge of a headscarf, and my studio production, where I used my research material to create Oya at new scales in new materials and contexts. In my project Panorama, I created a long strand of İğne Oyasi out of another material used on threshold spaces – balcony tarp, often used to create edgings and awnings for exterior balconies. Cutting this material in motifs based on the structure of oya, I created a cityscape to hang within the interior and exterior spaces of the Beyoğlu neighborhood of Istanbul. My second project was the work I did in Cappadocia, a rural and heavily touristed area of central Anatolia. I created oya for the edges of the table mountains, using my body to walk out this traditional edging for the camera. Responding to living in a small village for the first time in my life and to the political uprising of Turkish citizens over police in Gezi Park, I used my body to ornament and define the edges of this crumbling, volcanic landscape, using the act of both standing and walking as a new way of understanding the edge.
Emilie Wellfelt is an anthropologist and historian with over a decade’s experience of field work in Indonesia. She is currently a PhD candidate at the Linnaeus University in Sweden researching historiography in oral societies. She has a special interest in textile traditions in Eastern Indonesia.
Abstract: Eastern Indonesia is known for a great variety of textiles. One part of the region that has been largely overlooked in the literature is textiles of the Alor archipelago. However, the literature does recognize and speculate about the unusual silky character of some Alorese cloths that have entered Western museum collections. Based on fieldwork among weavers in the village Uma Pura, situated on a small island in the Pantar strait, this paper reveals the secret behind the characteristic shiny finish of the ‘silk’ sarongs from Alor. Ruled by necessity rather than choice weavers used to mix cotton with fibres from kolon susu, a common plant along arid coasts of Eastern Indonesia. The same lack of raw materials for women depending on weaving for their livelihood also led to a triangle trade in the Solor-Alor archipelago where sarongs were traded for pots that were traded for cotton – which was brought back to Uma Pura to be mixed with kolon susu and spun into a kampung version of silk cloth. In the paper these economical and practical aspects of the production of hand-spun yarns is set against the backdrop of a mythological past where Eko Sari, a hari woman from a village in the sea, taught Alorese women about spinning and the tangible present where hand-spun yarn plays a central role to pregnancy and childbirth in Uma Pura.