Ontario Association of Art Galleries Tour: Textile Museum of Canada
As I make my way through the OAAG Tour list, I am always surprised when I find a beautiful, vibrant gallery not-quite-hidden away within close proximity of an area I frequent daily.
The Textile Museum of Canada is about one kilometer away from my university and never once, in my entire academic career did I know if its existence or visited it. I am now quite sorry that I didn’t.
Although I blog frequently about fashion, I find that I am not very comfortable with the subject matter as I lack basic understanding on the mechanics of textiles and the history and industry that surrounds it. The only fashion posts I feel confident about are about my consumer experiences. While searching through my archives for my blog’s birthday post, I was embarrassed to find that most of my fashion-related posts were junk thoughts which I wrote only because the pop culture surrounding fashion allows for precarious opinions. I can’t say that I am proud of many of them and I am looking for ways to improve.
I wasn’t sure what to expect at the museum and was really afraid that all the exhibitions would be too advanced for me to enjoy.
The Textile Museum is house in one of those non-descript brown brick high rises that litter the downtown core. The entrance was hard to locate and I had to walk around the building once to find it.
The Textile Museum seemed to have been dealt a bad hand in terms of real estate. It seems to be laid out in a typical office-type building -low ceilings, modular spaces, barely any natural light – and it seems to sap the life out of the items being displayed. I don’t have enough understanding of curation to articulate the problem but the rooms were lacking something that makes you realize that you are looking at something special.
The permanent collection consists of an around-the-world display of traditional costumes. What I really enjoyed was that each of the information plaques had a diagram of the patterns used to create the garment.
Romanian and Chinese traditional costumes:
The collection also included pieces from contemporary designers:
This was a fun interactive display that allows you to drape a male and a female mannequin. Evidently, I don’t have what it takes to be Canada’s. Next. Top. Designer.
There was also an awesome exhibition of Judy Chicago’s work which I thoroughly enjoyed. I loved the documentary about the very conservative-looking middle aged women who participated in the genitalia-themed needlework.
I loved the gallery shop. The clerk was just so genuinely helpful. I was looking for a book about clothing maintenance as I have somehow managed to wear out all of my suits and work blouses and dresses in one year. I wanted to learn how to identify durable fabrics and then subsequently maintain their structural integrity. The clerk helped me locate a book called “Laundry: The Whys and Hows of Cleaning Clothes” by Robert Doyle. While I know why I should be cleaning my clothes, I am unable to accomplish the hows and often just shove a mass of clothing at the dry cleaner and hope for the best. Doyle did a great job explaining the material and manufacturing of the most frequently used fabrics along with detailed instructions on how to clean them. I have read this book cover to cover and am looking forward to a reduction in my dry cleaning bill.
I would like to further my understanding of textiles and fashion.
Do you have any book recommendations?
Attractiveness of space: 5/10
Use of space: 7/10
Maintenance of space: 10/10
Element of Surprise: 0/10
Effectiveness of Display: 8/10
Consistency of Display: 10/10
Attractiveness of Display: 5/10
Effectiveness of Exhibition : 10/10
Average: 7.1/10 – worth a visit