Nice Threads

Put some fiber in your diet with a citywide exhibition of wearable art and textiles.

By artist Jan Ru Wan

Photo: Henry Stindt, courtesy academy art center


They’re a political statement, an honoring of tradition, and a way to stitch ‘n’ bitch. Any way you cut it, the fiber arts (knitting, weaving, and sewing among them), once seem as unfashionably domestic, are experiencing a pop-culture renaissance.

This month, you can learn all about it, in an unprecedented conjunction of Honolulu’s museums, galleries and exhibition spaces. From Korean papermaking to contemporary art installations, the fiber arts will be everywhere. Two dozen shows stretching across 20 venues will explore Hawaiian quilts and Mughal carpets, plantation clothing and chiefs’ regalia, the distant past and the cutting-edge present.

At the heart of these exhibitions is the 11th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, a major international gathering of artists, scholars and educators. There will also be a two-day International Textile Marketplace, featuring fiber arts from four continents.

Have other cities coordinated shows on this grand a scale? “No,” says Tom Klobe, the symposium’s co-chair. “But I figured, if we’re going to do it, we’re going to do it better than anyone else. We’re getting international attention.”

By artist Jiyoung Chung

Photo: Chinghie Lee, courtesy academy art center

Event Highlights

Textile Society of America 11th Biennial Symposium

Sept. 24–27,

International Textile Marketplace

Sept. 25–26, Sheraton Waikiki Hotel

Pride and Practicality: Japanese Immigrant Clothing in Hawaii

Now through Sept. 27, Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

Tattered Cultures: Mended Histories

Sept. 6 to 28, Academy Art Center,

Writing with Thread: Traditional Textiles of Southwest Chinese Minorities

Sept. 21–Nov. 30, U.H. Manoa Art Gallery

Ili Iho: The Surface Within

Sept. 20, 2008–Jan. 11, 2009, Bishop Museum,

Intertwine: A Selection of Hawaii Fiber Art

Sept. 5, 2008–Jan. 17, 2009, Hawaii State Art Museum,