ISU exhibit displays ethnic textile traditions of Iowa immigrant and native populations

AMES, Iowa - Iowa's cultural diversity will be showcased through fabric and fiber arts in a new exhibit at Iowa State University that opens on Wednesday, Sept. 16.

"The Ethnic Textile Traditions of Iowa Immigrants and Native Populations" will be showcased in the Mary Alice Gallery, 1015 Morrill Hall, through Friday, Nov. 20. The gallery is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The exhibit highlights both traditional fiber/fabric arts and contemporary works inspired by cultural fibers and fabric traditions found in Iowa. That work includes Amish quilting, African-American quilting, Bosnian kilim rug weaving, Latin American guayabera shirts, Native American Meskwaki ribbonwork, Norwegian hardanger embroidery, Sudanese textiles, and Tai Dam and Laotian textiles.

The curators of the exhibit - College of Human Sciences faculty Jan Fitzpatrick, Sara Kadolph and Sara Marcketti - will give an introductory talk during the exhibit's opening reception from 5 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 16.

The different fabrics and materials displayed in the exhibit provide insight into the diverse cultures and their impact on present-day Iowa. The curators organized historians and artists from across the state to research, document, and select historical and contemporary cultural traditions in the fiber and fabric arts.

"What seemed to be most interesting was the way that the fiber and fabric arts represented both the preservation of ethnic traditions and the evolution of these traditions as they have been impacted by environment, technology and neighboring cultures," said Marcketti, an assistant professor in the Department of Apparel, Educational Studies, and Hospitality Management (AESHM).


A Meskwaki regalia piece that will be part of the exhibit. (Downloadable photo available online)

The event is presented by AESHM, with financial support from Humanities Iowa and ISU's Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities.

Additional information may be obtained by calling (515) 294-7474. Information on all ISU exhibits is available online at: