Cotsen Textile Traces Colloquium: [re]Think Silk

April 10-11, 2024, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT
Colorful silk fragment

Textile fragment (detail), China, Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection T-1633. Photo by Bruce M. White Photography.


Wednesday, April 10, 2024, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT

Thursday, April 11,  2024, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT

[re]Think Silk is an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural examination of silk and sericulture that explores the subject beyond traditional geographic and cultural perspectives. Join established scholars, curators and other specialists as they share their recent research and discoveries on silk textiles from around the world. 

Panels include “Silk Around the World,” which reveals the global range of moths that produce cocoons of silk filament used to make thread. “Silk as an Interface Between Cultures” explores the social and psychological appeal of silk in different regions around the world. Finally, “Silk Innovations” considers contemporary technological and bioengineering efforts to modify silk.

This program is made possible through support from the Rubin-Ladd Foundation and the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection Endowment.

About the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

The museum’s Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center is dedicated to textile research and houses the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection, which represents a lifetime of collecting by business leader and philanthropist Lloyd Cotsen (1929-2017). One of the world’s most significant textile study collections, it comprises nearly 4,000 fragments dating from antiquity to the present, offering insights into human creativity around the world. Learn more about the center

How to Participate

The colloquium will take place on Zoom. To participate, please register online, and we will email you a link and instructions for joining. Simply follow that link at the time the program starts (10 a.m. EDT / 7 a.m. PDT). When you register, you can also request to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.

Wednesday, April 10, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT

John Wetenhall, museum director

John E. Vollmer, president, Vollmer Cultural Consultants, Inc.

Keynote Lecture: New Directions in Silk Studies
Dr. Zhao Feng, dean of School of Art and Archaeology, Zhejiang University, and honorary director of the National Silk Museum, China

Panel 1: Silk Around the World

Wild Silks: West Africa, Southern Africa and Madagascar
Richard S. Peigler, professor, University of the Incarnate Word, Texas

Wild Silk in India: Connecting to the Land for Sustainable Development
Karen Selk, textile artist and founder, Treenway Silks, Canada

Twist and Turn: Silk and the Problem of Quality in Medieval and Early Modern Italy
Giorgio Riello, professor, European University Institute, Italy, and the University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Panel Discussion and Q&A

Thursday, April 11, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EDT

Introduction: Silk Textiles in the Cotsen Textile Traces Study Collection
Karthika Audinet, academic coordinator, Cotsen Textile Traces Study Center

Panel 1: Silk as an Interface Between Cultures

Silk in the Cultural Landscape of 16th- to 20th-century Mesoamerica and the Andes 
Elena Phipps, conservator and curator, Metropolitan Museum of Art (retired) and lecturer, UCLA

Tuyuhun Usage of Northern Wei Silk
Mariachiara Gasparini, assistant professor, University of Oregon

Panel Discussion and Q&A

Panel 2: Silk Traits, Technology and Innovation

Sericulture and Applications in Science, Technology and Art
Silvia Capellozza, researcher, Council for Agricultural Research and Agricultural Economy Analysis, Italy

Silk in Regenerative Design and Architecture
Laia Mogas-Soldevila, DumoLab research director and assistant professor, University of Pennsylvania

Panel Discussion and Q&A

Virtual Event

Share This Event