PRESS RELEASE ‘TRAVEL MATERIAL’ from Oman and Venezuela

30 April 2016

Colourful clothing and utensils of high quality.

The makers are nomadic people from Oman and the Wayuu Indians from the Guajira, the northern border region of Venezuela and Colombia. Mirja Wark collected these clothes and utensils. Focus is on textiles and craftsmanship.

Both peoples live in a natural environment with a limited number of subdued colours. They compensate for this by making their clothes, utensils, mule harnesses and shoes intensely colourful. In the field of weaving, textile processing, embroidery and leatherworking they have developed a high standard of craftsmanship. And they did so in an environment without running water and electricity. It is also remarkable that they have no permanent residences and transport everything, including their looms, on their donkeys.

A special item is the decorated belt, or si’ira, which the Wayuu women weave for their husbands’ and sons’ loincloths. They make them on simple, upright looms applying a large number of highly developed textile techniques. With endless patience they steadily manipulate their warps and wefts, thus creating their colourful and extraordinarily daring and well-balanced designs.

In Oman Sultan Qaboos makes sure that his subjects continue to know and appreciate their historical traditions. There are support programs for workers in traditional crafts such as silversmiths, indigo growers, weavers, potters, basket weavers and leatherworkers.

The exhibition shows clothing, utensils, jewelery, mule harnesses and bags. You can also see shoes and hammocks from the Wayuu from Venezuela. At the same time you get an idea of the way of life of these nomadic people.

Mirja Wark

Mirja Wark is a weaving artist and weaving is her passion.

She lived in Venezuela, Oman, Syria and Libya and in those countries she explored traditional textile techniques and started collecting pieces.

She attended various international trainings in weaving and weaving art, ran the handweaving school ‘De Binding’ in Utrecht for six years, organized textile trips, designed weaving art and wrote Si’ira, a book on a special belt woven by the Wayuu, and contributions in among others ‘Handwerken Zonder Grenzen’.

Exhibition TRAVEL MATERIAL

Museum ‘de Kantfabriek’ in Horst

26th June up to 20th November 2016

Man in Oman spinning goat hair at the annual fair in Muscat.

The goat hair is fastened between two rocks and with wet fingers he is pulling fiber from it and with his other hand he is turning the spinning stick.

(Oman) Woman embroidering, from the coastal city of Sur.

She is wearing the Suri woman costume with a lot of silver embroidery. A pair of baggy pants with embroidered legs, a colourful silk tunic with embroidered cuffs and an oversized black voile dress with embroidery along the neckband.

Detail of a camel bag, Wahiba Sands desert in Oman.

The bag was woven with sheep wool which was spun with the spinning whirligig. The red colour was painted with madder and dried limes. This detail shows the many techniques applied: bicoloured embroidered edge stitch, black/white edging in a special technique, braided threaded ends in 5-braids, wrapping round and festooning where the three braids are tied together and at the bottom a piece of the fabric with pattern selections from Venezuela.

Dorila Echetu, potter from Guarero, at a festive gathering.

Her face is painted with mutton fat and mushroom spores. She decorates her pots with the same patterns. She is wearing traditional clothes: a plaited hat with hat brim, a manta dress with crocheted neck and sleeve decorations. Her jewelery is made of glass and ceramics.

Chief cachique in the northern Guajira in ceremonial robe Shei’i.

His robe consists of a rectangular, ingeniously draped piece of cloth. On his head a headdress karats with knotted fringe and on his feet sandals alpargatas made of car tires and handwoven fabric.

The cloth  is made of cotton and wool, woven with complicated Kanas patterns.

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