Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom — Walter Benjamin

Today the world of art and design is confronted with a debilitating lack of knowledge concerning textiles. Architects, artists and industrial designers as well as fashion designers no longer know the materials they work with each day of their careers. At a time when textile heritage is at a crossroads and centuries of tradition and knowledge are being compromised, the need arises to protect these endangered species in the same way we have come to defend our animal friends in the natural world; therefore we urgently need to discuss and talk about textiles again.

At this time of decline we simultaneously experience a return of the interest in textiles and their cultural expressions. Fashion design starts to focus on fabric, interior design brings back upholstery and art students reach out the loom. There is a renewed interest in material processes and an urgency to understand what fabric is made of. In the USA the production of textiles has long been lost but begins to make a timid come-back, crafting and producing all American products with local yarns and fibers; weaving the weft of tradition with the warp of innovation. Production is being brought to our doorsteps, as high-tech developments promise a dramatic new way of producing bio fiber and smart matter.

To investigate and celebrate the survival of the different textile components and expressions NEW YORK TEXTILE MONTH will help the general public to better comprehend and embrace the textiles of life.

— Lidewij Edelkoort



Sherri Lynn Wood is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant for Painters and Sculptors, two MacDowell Colony Fellowships, as well as arts residencies at the Headlands Center for the Arts, Blue Mountain Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and most recently at Recology San Francisco in 2016. An interdisciplinary artist based in Oakland, CA, she holds an MFA in Sculpture from Bard College and a Masters of Theological Studies from Emory University. Her 2015 publication The Improv Handbook for Modern Quilters: A Guide to Creating, Quilting & Living Courageously (Abrams) provides frameworks for creative exploration, along with practical instruction in stitching techniques and color theory.  Sherri teaches and speaks about improvisational patchwork and flexible patterning at art and craft schools, guilds, and conferences nationally and abroad.












Atim Annette Oton is a Nigerian-born, American and British educated designer. She is the co-owner of Calabar Imports, a 12-1/2 year old Brooklyn retail business, co-founder of Experience Africa and the founder of the Creative Side. She is the African Art Curator for AMREF Health Africa ARTBALL and Bronx:Africa.
She co-founded of Black Design News Network and was a Huffington Post Black Voices Blogger who created the series, The Pulse of Africa where she wrote about Global Africans working in Africa and across the Diaspora and has an inside view on Africa’s progress, issues on arts and culture, technology and opportunities. She spent her formative years in Calabar, Nigeria and studied architecture at the City College of New York and did graduate studies at the Architectural Association Graduate School in London, England. In New York, she worked in architecture and, by 2000, was part of the design team that won the African Burial Ground Interpretive Center. She worked as an executive producer on the Underground Railroad Experience, a cultural education website on the Underground Railroad and won an Independent Grant from the NYSCA for her work, the Black Hair Salon.
A founder of Blacklines Magazine, a quarterly magazine featuring black designers, she served as its executive vice president before joining Parsons School of Design as the Associate Chair of Product Design for 6 years. She opened Calabar Imports in 2004 and in 2006, she launched Calabar Magazine as a brand extension of her store Calabar Imports in Brooklyn. She has expanded the store to 3 neighborhood locations in Brooklyn -Crown Heights, Bed Stuy and Harlem by 2015.

Art of African Textiles by Atim Oton with State of the Arts NYC


Calabar Imports Harlem 2504 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, NYC

Saturday, August 19, 2017, 5 PM

Atim Annette Oton will talk on the diversity of African textiles from new modes of production to motifs. She will discuss materials like silk, cotton, wool, how textiles are woven in strips, tied and dyed, stamped into batiks, waxed and spun.

Oton will also share how African countries specialize  in silk and cotton kente, woven in Ghana to earth-toned mud cloth from Mali, and deep indigo–toned fabrics dyed in northern Nigeria. And she will discuss how wool and cotton strip-woven architectural elements are created in Mali and Niger; blue indigo, resist-dyed textiles are produced in Senegal, Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon; textile panels composed and woven by Igbo women and Yoruba men in Nigeria, and a series of robes and tunics are designed from regional fabrics from Algeria to Nigeria.

Finally, Oton will trace how textiles were imported into sub-Saharan Africa, through trade routes that extended south across the Sahara from North Africa until the 15th century and subsequently by Europeans along the Gold Coast. And vital to the discussion how ” African print evolved from Holland, successfully marked by European textile manufacturers seeking new markets for their own exports in the 19th century.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s