San Jose Museum of Quilts

If you’re a craft enthusiast visiting the Bay Area, take time for a quick visit to the downtown San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles — a space dedicated to ambitious, highquality exhibitions representing historic and

San Jose Museum of Quilts
San Jose Museum of Quilts

contemporary quilts and textiles. Visit on or before October 14, 2012 and you’ll catch the Second International TECHstyle Art Biennial (ITAB), a juried exhibition focusing on new ways in which contemporary fiber artists are using technology as a part of their artistic process or within the content of their work. TECHstyle exposes and explores the technological tensions and provocative imagery within the realm of fiber, cloth, and fashion.

Also as part of the Second International TECHstyle Art Biennial, the museum offers on-site access to The AIDS Quilt Interactive, a 42-inch interactive touchscreen tabletop that allows users to search through and examine detailed individual images from the 1.3 million square feet of the AIDS Memorial Quilt. (Pictured above is Panel 00214 of the 54-ton AIDS Quilt.) Describing the exhibit, curator Deborah Corsini gives a few key examples: “Artist Wen- Yin Huang used various ‘new’ materials like luminous yarns, metallic, spun polyester and Jacquard hand weaving that transform under three different types of rotating light sources-regular light, UV light, and darkness – to show different images.

Yuan Guoxiang used laser engraving to create sculptural garments that hang on the wall. Many artists in the exhibit used digital jacquard weaving to create complicated layered imagery that is abstract or representational. Others, such as Dan Ofle, used Photoshop and Maya (animation) software to create their quilted imagery.” With art that will appeal to both the traditional quilter, and the technophile alike, the exhibition includes pieces that feature traditional hand-work (such as locally hand-made Kapa cloth) as well as high-tech pieces of quilted binary code, QR code, and HTML; digital processes including machine embroidery, jacquard weaving, and printing; 3-D rendering; laser engraving; and much more.

Quilt enthusiasts will particularly delight in the wide range of quilts that make use of digital imagery and digital printing. From an entry pool of 124 pieces of art, the exhibition was narrowed down to 44 works by 37 artists by jurors Janet Koplas, Barbara Layne and Christine Tarkowski. The exhibition highlights the multi-cultural nature of technology-influenced contemporary art, with work submitted from ten countries – including Australia, Canada, China, Finland and Japan, and from across the United States (including local California artists). The San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles is located at 520 South First Street, San Jose, CA 95113. General admission is $8.00; for seniors and students with ID it’s $6.50 and admission is free for members and children 12 and under. On the first Friday of every month, the museum offers free admission for everyone! Admission is always free to the Museum Store, a delightful place to buy unique, handcrafted keepsakes and gifts. For further information visit

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