The Museo Textil de Oaxaca, definitely counts as one of my top twenty favorite small museums in the world. It has three rooms downstairs always devoted to a single show and then another smaller more artist driven show upstairs.
Can we just say they, once again, totally nailed it with another amazing show? This one was devoted to the collection and field notes of early ethnographer and textile collector Irmgard Johnson who lived and worked in Mexico until her recent death in 2011 when she was well into her nineties.
The textiles were amazingly beautiful and the photos of Irmgard traveling rural Mexico
were really inspiring. We're talking by horseback on dirt roads in the 30's. But what took this show to the next level were the unbelievably detailed hand and type written field notes, drawings, and sketches she made of textiles and people she encountered. There's a little sample above. She didn't believe you could accurately ascribe meaning to a piece without talking directly to the maker - The level of devotion she had to her studies is something I have so rarely encountered. And apparently, without her notes and her collection ,huge swathes of Mexican indigenous textiles knowledge would be lost.
I felt really lucky to be able to see this show and, once again, learned so much about textiles.
The textiles are never behind glass and you are always encouraged to have a direct encounter.
And the docent on the English speaking tour at el Museo was excellent.
Can't really say enough good things about this little jewel box of a museum.