TUCSON, ­­­AZ
(July 8, 2013)—Like never before, two brand new, searchable, and illustrated
databases aim to share the artistry and study of southwestern textiles with the
world. 


The databases, plus extensive background information and helpful guides, are
available on the Arizona State Museum website at: 

http://www.statemuseum.arizona.edu/coll/textile/asm_southwest_textile_database/


Available
at the click of a mouse are baseline data and images essential for
understanding the evolution of three cultural textile traditions in the
American Southwest—Navajo, Pueblo, and Spanish-American. Focusing
on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the information spans three
major periods from the time of Spanish governance to 1821, the Mexican era
until 1846, and the American and early reservation period since then.
 
These groundbreaking resources represent the culmination of decades of research
by two world-renowned textile authorities: the late Dr. Joe Ben Wheat of the
University of Colorado at Boulder and Dr. Ann Lane Hedlund, who recently
retired as curator at Arizona State Museum and professor of anthropology at the
University of Arizona.
 
Of this capstone project, Hedlund said, “These tools can be used by anyone to
create absolutely new knowledge about the Southwest’s Native American and
European-influenced textile traditions. Most importantly, as an anthropologist
who studies both living and long past artists, I want artists of all stripes to
have access to this wondrous visual and technical compilation.”
Other audiences that she lists include
every museum curator with SW textiles in their collections; scholars interested
in SW history and material culture; handweavers and artists seeking the roots
of SW weaving; collectors and others who appreciate worldwide crafts, folk art,
and art of all time. “And certainly students of all ages—I hope students will
enjoy exploring the information and will get it to tell us things that we’ve
never known before.”
Though other
online databases of museum collections exist, and there are certainly in-depth
databases of ceramics and other media, there is nothing quite like these two
new textile resources in terms of their detail and query-based interactivity. 
“It’s also a first to have such stellar visual, technical, and historical
selections from so many museum collections gathered in one place for
comparisons,” said Hedlund. “I know of nothing that allows visitors as much
access and ability to query the data as this incredible store of information does.
We included nearly every SW textile in our collection, some 600 examples, and
just over 1300 specimens studied by Wheat in 50 other public collections.” 
One of the first two recipients of a PhD in anthropology at the University of
Arizona, Wheat is the author of Blanket Weaving in the Southwest,
posthumously published in 2003. Hedlund’s books include Reflections of the
Weaver’s World, Navajo Weaving in the Late 20th Century,
Navajo
Weavings from the Andy Williams Collection,
and Gloria F. Ross &
Modern Tapestry.
Hedlund continues to serve as the managing editor of the
Joe Ben Wheat SW Textile Database.
This project was supported by the Gloria F. Ross Tapestry Program at Arizona
State Museum, with generous contributions from several private donors. The
online databases were engineered by ASM Webmaster Laura LePere and Applications
Programmer Michael Ornelas, with assistance from many valuable individual and
institutional participants acknowledged on each website.

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