Souls Grown Deep

This weekend I finally dropped in to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the exhibition Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South. In 2014, the Souls Grown Deep Foundation began transferring a majority of the 1,000 artworks in their collection to permanent collections around the world. Last year, the Philadelphia Museum of Art acquired some of the famous Gee’s Bend quilts as well as sculpture. This exhibition showcased some of these new acquisitions.

Gee’s Bend in Alabama is known for the quilts made there  in the early twentieth century through to today. These artworks are expressive and unique, using scraps of fabric and clothing, patchworks hand-stitched into bed-sized quilts. Many of the quilts in the exhibit are online, so I’ll link to those better quality images.


Roman Stripes Variation Quilt by Loretta Pettway, 1970


Pettway was inspired to make this quilt by her stepmother who had created a “crazy” quilt from old pants. There are quite a few Pettway quilters. The Bennett family, including Delia (left) were also prolific and related by marriage to Pettways. Below is Delia’s 1955 Housetop Fractured Medallion Variation.




nettie_young_3606Nettie Young’s Milky Way (1971) is part of the Freedom Quilting Bee. Young was a co-manager of the bee and this quilt is an example of the commercialization of the Gee’s Bend quilts. While this quilt is personal, the design is reflective of the contract the bee had with Bloomingdale’s. The department store design a quilt of circles and squares, then commissioned the bee to produce it. These may have been leftover elements from that design.

Gee's Bend Quilt

Right next door to this exhibition was The Art of Collage and Assemblage, a theme that fits will with the Gee’s Bend quilts. One of the pieces is Charlie Logan’s Man’s “Diamond Sis” Coat (1978-84). Logan, often homeless and sick in Alton, Illinois, wore embellished garments like this one. Found objects such as buttons and photos are stitched right in to the jacket.








Summer Exhibitions

Taking some time off this summer? Traveling? Here are some museum fashion and textile exhibitions throughout the US these next few months.

Heading to NYC? Be sure to check out The Met’s Camp: Notes on Fashion “which examines how the elements of irony, humor, parody, pastiche, artifice, theatricality, and exaggeration are expressed in fashion.” This show runs through September 8. The Museum at FIT is exhibiting Minimalism/Maximalism through November 16. The show is “devoted to the historical interplay of minimalist and maximalist aesthetics as expressed through high fashion.”

Is a trip to Los Angeles in your summer plans? Two shows of interest are at the FIDM Museum. BA in Design is a student exhibition running through the end of June. Starting in mid-August, catch the Art of Television Costume Design. Over at LACMA, check out Power of Pattern, an exhibition of Asian ikat robes and panels until August 11.

If you’ll be traveling through the Midwest, take a detour to Kent State University in Ohio. Two exhibitions are up this summer. Focus: Fiber 2019 is juried exhibition of contemporary fiber art and Fashion Meets the Body highlights work from the University’s faculty.

Or stop over in Chicago to see Weaving Beyond the Bauhaus at the Art Institute of Chicago, opening at the beginning of August. MCA has two shows of interest: Jessica Campbell’s textile works (through July) and Virgil Abloh’s fashion (through September).

If you’re coming to my city, Philly, there are a few fashion treats awaiting you. Souls Grown Deep, to September, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is an exhibition of Southern African American textiles and artwork. The Fabric Workshop has Sonya Clark on display through August and Bill Viola through October.

Head south and view both Asian textiles and Dior at the Dallas Museum of Art. Sheila Hicks is exhibiting at The Bass in Miami. Atlanta has two shows for textiles lovers: Hand to Hand showcases southern craft until August 4 and SCAD FASH has Mary Katrantzou on view until July 28.

Know of fashion, textile, or costume exhibitions in your neck of the woods? Share with us!

Costume Institute Exhibition + Gala

The Metropolitan Museum of Arts’ Costume Institute’s 2019 exhibition, Camp: Notes on Fashion opens May 9 and runs through September 8. The exhibit showcases hundreds of objects from the seventeenth century through today. Just what is camp? Watch the Met’s video on the exhibition to find out.

The exhibition theme is framed around Susan Sontag’s essay Notes on Camp (1964). You can freely download the essay from Monoskop. Sontag includes clothing as a large part of camp, “emphasizing texture, sensuous surface, and style at the expense of content.”  Observer reviewed the exhibit and highlights some of the campiest of costumes included.

Of course, you can also see how celebrities interpreted the camp theme at last night’s Gala. Vogue and CNN have plenty of photos from the red carpet. Find out what camp means to Billy Porter.

Follow the hashtag #MetCamp and get a copy of the catalog for your library!


Fashion at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

If you happen to be headed toward the Philadelphia region during the upcoming holidays, there are two exhibitions of interest at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fabulous Fashion: From Dior’s New Look to Now highlights the museum’s costume collection, with many pieces on view for the first time. The show includes over seven decades of fashion and includes work by Pierre Cardin, Issey Miyake, and Vera Wang among many others.

Also on view is Little Ladies: Victorian Fashion Dolls and the Feminine Idea, a small show “starring four extraordinary dolls and their extravagant wardrobes.” The exhibit demonstrates Victorian fashion through these dolls’ clothing and accessories. Both exhibits are on view until March 3, 2019.

Online Costume & Fashion Collections

As part of an overhaul of my library research guides, I created a Tumblr to post online collections and websites covering art, architecture, and design images, books, films, photography, and more. Each collection is tagged by subject so that I can directly link to those posts on the appropriate guide. There are currently 28 items tagged fashion with sub-collections including fashion plates and costume.

thumbnails of fashion images

There are so many incredible digital collections relevant to the arts and design and we librarians know that the images and other media in these collections don’t always surface in a Google or Google Image search. Moving this content off my research guides helps with reducing information anxiety and overall web design – I no longer have massive lists of links. With Tumblr, I can post as many collections as I discover, editing or deleting when necessary.

What fashion, costume, or textile collections do you recommend?

Fashion Photoshop Tutorials

A faculty member asked me about video tutorials for teaching Adobe’s Photoshop to fashion design students. She had been charged with developing a new course and wanted to find resources to support her curriculum. The goals was to find video tutorials that taught Photoshop techniques that used fashion to teach the technique. For example, there is one tutorial from Adobe that highlights a fashion student’s work, Design a Fashion Textile (2017).

I’m not a heavy Adobe user so I’m not certain how quickly a software tutorial may become outdated. I’ve included dates below for quick reference.

I started my search with While my institution does not subscribe, our public library does – and yours may too! Students can often get a public library card for the system that supports their institution’s region. Fashion tutorials for Photoshop include Photoshop for Fashion Design: Rendering Techniques (2013), Photoshop Retouching: Fashion Editorial (2013), Fixing Teeth in a Fashion Photography (listed as covering Photoshop) (2016-2018), and Changing Makeup Color on the Lips (from Learning Photoshop: Portrait Retouching) (2017).

Not surprisingly, there were a lot of tutorials to plow through on YouTube. I selected videos based on the creators and I’ve included links for additional information about them. I selected creators who focus on Photoshop tutorials and had a large subscriber base. LinkedIn Learning Tutorials (website) is connected with LinkedIn and (2009-2015). Easy Beauty Photoshop Retouching Tutorial from PSD Box Official (2015) (website) only does Photoshop tutorials and also includes videos like Realistic Fabric Folds Effect in Photoshop (2007). Photoshop Tutorial for Fashion Design from Designers Nexus (website) says it’s developed by two professional fashion designers (2011-2012). How to Change Clothing Texture in Photoshop (2017) and How to Smooth Skin with Dodge & Burn (2017) are by Nemanja Sekulic who also as a few tutorials related to hair (2016-present). Dansky has tutorials on hair (2016-present) and Adding Digital Makeup (2015). Michael Woloszynowicz is a fashion photographer with tutorials related to fashion (2013-present) and makeup (2012-2015).

I also searched Vimeo but much of the content was older than what’s on YouTube. And, though the faculty member was looking for videos, I did send along a few book titles that might be useful in developing curriculum. These link to WorldCat; see if your library has them.

Fashion and Textile Design with Photoshop and Illustration by Robert Hume (2016)
Fashion drawing : illustration techniques for fashion designers by Michele Wesen Bryant (2016)
Fashion designer’s handbook for Adobe Illustrator by Marianne Centner & Frances Vereker (2012)
Adobe Photoshop for fashion design by Susan M. Lazear (according to publisher, this is the latest edition) (2010)
Essential fashion illustration : digital by Loreto Binvignat Streeter (covers Photoshop and Illustrator) (2010)
Digital textile design by Melanie Bowles and Ceri Isaac (covers Photoshop and Illustrator) (2009)

Know of more Photoshop tutorials focused on fashion? Please share!