Letter from Editor by Wendy Weiss
In this edition of the newsletter, you will continue to see a few changes to content and formatting. When I was elected to the job of External Relations Director I also took on the role of newsletter editor. Newsletter produc- tion has become a team effort, which starts with TSA members, who contribute content and continues with editorial, design, production, and distribution. Our executive director, Tali Weinberg, is responsible for design- ing the newsletter. Last fall you may have noticed that the format shifted from four to one to two columns, a design response to member feedback to make our content more readable on a computer screen.
While newsletter production last fall was a trial by fire for me—it coincided with my arrival in India for a nine- month Fulbright research project on ikat documentation and digital design development with a small group of artisans in Saurashtra—it has now become a real pleasure. We have clarified roles and responsibilities, recruited member volunteers to contribute copy, proofread, and copy edit, and have been discussing mission in relation to organizational vision. Your contributions to the newsletter are vital and you will find submission guidelines at http://textilesocietyofamerica.org/newsletters/ as well as access to past newsletters. If you have an article idea, book or exhibition review or other news you would like to contribute, feel free to contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In March 2015, the board agreed to change newsletter production from three to two times per year and dis- cussed role of social media in disseminating member and professional news. The publications committee will present a proposal to the board next fall that addresses these questions. Please email me, Publication Committee Chair Eulanda Sanders (email@example.com), and Board Member Laura Camerlengo ( firstname.lastname@example.org) with your suggestions regarding how we could use our digital platforms to communicate with you and a broader audience.
Notes from India
In Vadodara, Gujarat, which is home of the Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, I am affiliated with the Department of Clothing and Textiles. It is my second time here to work on this project and I have developed relationships that may be of interest to members. Additionally, the Fulbright Commission and the Indian Government have collaborated in funding for Fulbright awardees in India. Textile scholars and artists can seek funding for significant projects that link people and research or creative work in one of the various Fulbright categories. I urge you to visit United States – India Educational Foundation http://www.usief.org.in/Fellowships/Fellowships-for-US-Citizens.aspx, where you can find links to the organizations that administer US applications.
Bodhi is the name of a small textile and apparel producer located in Baroda since 1984. Mala and Pradeep Sinha create hand crafted printed and embellished wearable textiles and are guided by a commitment to design integrity, sustainability, and fair trade. Their web page, http://bodhi.in/ provides an overview of their story. What you won’t learn from the web page is the incredible inventory of hand carved blocks that Mala purchased from the estate of national award winning master craftsman and Saudagari wood block carver Maneklal Gajjar. With the intention of preserving his legacy, the couple was able to acquire his paper files as well. This collection complements another major acquisition of blocks from a workshop in Mumbai that went out of business. Bodhi’s owners hope that these collections will attract the attention of scholars and will make them available for research. Alternatively, advanced students interested in an internship working to organize and catalog the collection should contact them at email@example.com.
Alarmed at the steady attrition of handloom weavers in India, TSA member, Sally Holkar and the organization Women Weave, have launched a handloom school for young weavers throughout India. The inaugural class started in February and we expect to publish a report in a future newsletter. You can take a preview of the course at the link from http://www.womenweave.org/.
I have visited ikat weaving communities in Telengana and Orissa and met with master weavers, faculty mem- bers, social enterprise organizations, cooperative members, weaver’s service center staff and designers who all are committed to preserving the legacy of India’s handloom heritage and helping it shift to an economy where weavers can earn a sustainable wage, thus stemming the flow of weavers to other occupations. The task is immense, but I am heartened to see young people engaged in work at these different communities.
TSA Newsletter Editor Wendy Weiss ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼