Too often, textiles produced outside the First World are considered as ethnographic material rather than examples of traditional fine art. Our research into the wonderful Mercedes Zobel collection of indigenous Philippine weavings was intent on redressing that imbalance.
A team from the Prince’s School undertook extensive research, studying over 100 pieces and visiting several weaving centres in the Philippines. From this research the team prepared a visual analysis of the patterns of the designs of 12 selected pieces. This research, which included the analysis of the patterns and progression drawings, was one of the highlights in an exhibition of its textile collection at the Ayala museum. The presentation of this research was included in the book and catalogue that accompanied the exhibition.
Both the exhibition and publications have provided new insights into the wealth and diversity of textile arts in the Philippines. As a result, our tutors have been invited by three of the country’s leading universities to present lectures and workshops on the Order of Nature, Geometry and Biomorphic Design Principles, and on the Language of Traditional Arts. Also, the Ayala Museum is broadening its education agenda, integrating theoretical research carried out by its curators with practical workshops led by a team from the Prince’s School.