Sunday 20 June 2021

Amulets and Talismanic Clothing

 I've  had a fascination  with amulets  for a very long time,  from my travels   to  making a journal quilt and shrine  for lost earrings.  

Turkmen child's kurta, Afghanistan  ( from Amulets by Sheila Paine )

My first  outing with the ' Drawing Tuesday'  group   was drawing amulets in the Islamic Gallery  at the British Museum  

Also  seen in the Islamic Gallery on another occasion was  this amuletic cloak by Bita Ghezelayagh

I first came across  talismanic/ charm  shirts in the ' Turks' Exhibition   at the Royal Academy  in 2005 and the example above in the   fabulous ' Fabric of India' exhibition at the  V&A  in 2015. 
Then  in 2019   I drew a talismanic cloth at the Brunei gallery , SOAS  ( below) 


Recently on   my  first  visit to the British Museum since lockdown ( !)   I came across this   wonderful Talismanic Tunic    in the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World 

 It was also shown  at the  inspiring Grayson Perry ' Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman' exhibition  in 2011 - this detail of the tunic is from the book 


The back of the tunic ( and other 'Charm Cloths')   are included in  John Gillow's books on African  Textiles and Islamic textiles. Besides books, I've bought many textiles from John over the years: kanthas , ikats, indigo  and he gave us the details of a  dealer in Yazd, Iran


All this delightful research  among my books and online  was prompted  by  the  idea of  making  a talismanic shirt  from  Colour Catchers   as my contribution   to   Lito Apostalokou's  participatory project "Clothesyoullneverwear"  ( as featured in the Evening Standard!).  Lito was a fellow  student  at City Lit on collage  and EDAM  courses  and  I sent her a box of fabrics etc  ( which has made no impression  on my stash... ) which has already  been put to   use in making some fantastic garments based on memories  of clothes.  The course I did earlier in the year on Time and Memory, highlighted the importance of fabrics to me,  I think I'll have to do some  'mind mapping'  to  explore  this  more and decide what I'm  going  to make.  It might even be a  hat ! 

Leather  Amuletic hat from African Textile   book.