TO DYE FOR: A World Saturated in Color – At the de Young Museum

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Photo by Lynn Imanaka

This season, fashion designers all over the world are presenting tie-dye inspired collections on the runway as something new and fresh. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) investigates the trend by exploring its history, which has been honed for centuries by cultures spanning the globe. From pre-historic to modern times, the unique art of tie-dye is resurging. On July 31st the de Young presents To Dye For: A World Saturated in Color in the Lonna and Marshall Wais Gallery and Diana Dollar Knowles and Gorham B. Knowles Gallery for Textile Arts. To Dye For, which runs through January 9th, 2011, features over 50 textiles and costumes that include a diverse array of resist-dye examples from the comprehensive collection of textiles from Africa, Asia and the Americas at FAMSF, as well as several Bay Area private collections.

mat
Mat (mosen) for the tea ceremony, 19th century.
Mongolia or China for the Japanese market
Wool; felted, resist dyeing (tie-dye)
The Caroline and H. McCoy Jones Collection
Gift of Caroline McCoy-Jones

palampore
Wall hanging or bedcover (palampore), 18th–19th century. India

Cotton; plain weave, mordant- and resist-dyeing, painting
Gift of George and Marie Hecksher

Tie-dye is just one example of the resist-dye method, an inclusive term used for the process of dyeing textiles to form patterns by preventing dye from reaching specific areas of the cloth. Methods of resist dyeing include tie-dye, stitch-resist, batik or wax-resist dyeing, stencil-resist, mordant-resist, ikat (warp- or weft-resist dyeing), as well as other techniques. FAMSF textile curator Jill D’Alessandro explains, “To Dye For not only highlights the museum’s impressive permanent collection of textiles, but also shows how cultures across the world have used similar techniques for centuries – with results that are sometimes similar, and at other times startlingly different. The end result will be a stunning array of textures, patterns and color.”
Click here for more information: Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

oscar-de-la-renta
Oscar de la Renta, Trench coat, 2005
Coat: Silk; warp-faced plain weave, warp-resist dyeing (ikat)
Belt: synthetic raffia, leather; crocheted
Gift of Mr. Thomas L. Kempner

ana-lisa-hedstrom
Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Horizontal Shift, 2010
Silk; wrap-resist dyeing (arashi shibori), pieced, hand stitched
Collection of the Artist
Photo, Don Tuttle

A truly cross-cultural presentation, this exhibition showcases objects from a variety of diverse cultures and historical periods, including a tie-dyed tunic from the Wari-Nasca culture of pre-Hispanic Peru (A.D. 500–900), a paste-resist Mongolian felt rug from the 15th–17th century, and a group of stitch-resist dyed 20th-century kerchiefs from the Dida people of the Ivory Coast. These historical pieces are contrasted with artworks from contemporary Bay Area artists like Judith Content, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Angelina DeAntonis and Yoshiko Wada.

felt-rug
Felt rug, 15th – 17th century. Mongolia

Wool; felt, stencil-resist dyed
Gift of Peter Lyman

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Seán Martinfield
Sentinel Editor and Publisher
Seán Martinfield, who also serves as Fine Arts Critic, is a native San Franciscan. He is a Theatre Arts Graduate from San Francisco State University, a professional singer, and well-known private vocal coach to Bay Area actors and singers of all ages and persuasions. His clients have appeared in Broadway National Tours including Wicked, Aïda, Miss Saigon, Rent, Bye Bye Birdie, in theatres and cabarets throughout the Bay Area, and are regularly featured in major City events including Diva Fest, Gay Pride, and Halloween In The Castro. As an Internet consultant in vocal development and audition preparation he has published thousands of responses to those seeking his advice concerning singing techniques, professional and academic auditions, and careers in the Performing Arts. Mr. Martinfield’s Broadway clients have all profited from his vocal methodology, “The Belter’s Method”, which is being prepared for publication. If you want answers about your vocal technique, post him a question on AllExperts.com. If you would like to build up your vocal performance chops and participate in the Bay Area’s rich theatrical scene, e-mail him at: sean.martinfield@comcast.net.


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