Hands on internship experience– up close and personal with world textiles

Students standing around a table looking at colorful textiles

Interning at the Gregg

Working as an intern at Gregg Museum of Art and Design provides a backstage pass into a museum environment. As a Visual Art Studies major, my degree has focused on many classes emphasizing art history and production. I have often been told that seeing artwork as a power point presentation on a screen is an entirely different experience than seeing an object or a painting in person. While I have experienced this revelation in several personal instances, (such as visiting the Tate Museum in London and seeing John Constable’s Romantic paintings) there is a whole new dimension when the sense of touch is added to the experience- the rare opportunity of being able to handle objects.

Each week my position involves setting up for a textile history class (ADN 475– Pre-Industrial World Textiles) that meets for three hours every Friday. Although I am not in the class, I have been able to assist in displaying objects that come from various regions all over the world. These textiles have numerous mediums, ages, and uses, which makes handling these objects special and offers an opportunity for something new to learn. My understanding of the textiles has been even more enlightened thanks to a fellow intern (shout out to Ashley) who had enrolled in this textile class a previous semester and can elaborate on the information about the pieces.

Students standing around a table looking at colorful textiles

Students from Pre-Industrial World Textiles class looking at textiles behind-the-scenes at the Gregg Museum off site facility

The vocabulary that accompanies the unique objects has also been fascinating to learn. Before working at the Gregg, I would not have known what a mola shirt, yei rug, or handwoven kente cloth was, much less what they looked like and were used for. The intricacy of the techniques and craftsmanship that goes into each textile (and object) both astounds and inspires me (e.g. hand sewn quilts, beaded objects, mud cloths). All of these various textile traditions took hours to create and have been passed down through generations.

I look forward to the weeks ahead and the many new things I will learn and encounter during my internship.

Rosalynn Villaescusa, Art Studies (Senior)

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