Drawn from the Collection
In the West, the connection for romance may be a personal ad, sometimes leading to a white dress and a veil before an altar.
In Gujarat India, the arranged marriage is negotiated by families through an exchange of goods known as a dowry. The bride is swathed in red tied and dyed garments and elaborate jewelry, a red bindi dot marks her forehead.
Gujarat is an arid region famous for cultivation of cotton and indigo and the early use of mordanted dyes. The variety of textiles in this region is accomplished through dyeing (resist dyeing, tie dye, ikat, and block printing) rather than weaving techniques.
When I was invited to curate an exhibition from teh Lucy Truman Aldrich Asian Textile Collection, it was the Gujarat textiles that captured my passion. I had actually seen similar pieces during my own travels, to Gujarat, where ten years ago I was a Fulbright scholar teaching at the National Institute of Design (the RISD of India).
Investigating the museum's magnificent textile collection, I was astounded by its quality and depth, and intrigued by Lucy Aldrich's personal travel albums of India. 75 years ago she wrote from India to her sister Abby Aldrich Rockefeller: "The whole thing is a blur of wet roses, hot sunshine [Illegible]...."
[Illegible...] opportunity recently to work closely with two Indian students -- Sonal Jha, a graphic design graduate student, and Falza Khanani, an undergraduate in Industrial Design.
Both women will be married this year, it is in celebration of our friendships and of their marriages that I dedicate this exhibition, which features wedding textiles.
Professor of Graphic Design