The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection

The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection


*music plays* In an era where many women never left their own towns, Professor Helen Louise Allen traveled the world collecting: stories, textiles, and technologies she loved to teach, she loved to pass on that knowledge of why it was culturally significant in terms of range and sheer number of artifacts this really is one of the most important collections of it’s kind Once comprised of Helen’s original 4,000 pieces, the collections now tombs more than 13,000 artifacts representing the work of countless human hands. This textile collection is an incredible resource for both students and researchers. The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection has been part of the UW-Madison story for thousands of alumni and continues to engage students and scholars around the world. I was able to take those pieces we have in the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection and study them in Oaxacan asking Oaxacan weavers about their designs, about how they’re made. I think about a global industry of 1.75 trillion dollars here in the United States alone more than 1.8 million jobs. So when I think about the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection I don’t see the past, I see the future. As an art form and an industry textiles have been a bridge between cultures. and a showcase of innovation. from the inventions of spinning and weaving, to the frontiers of modern science. I’m working with a chemist using nanotechnology to create a solar textile. in the collection, I look at fibers that naturally conduct electricity. we could be harvesting trillions of watts of the sun’s energy just by putting photovoltaics on textiles we use every day. like your T-Shirt or an umbrella. The Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection it’s an amazing resource for our faculty and our students. one we need to protect and grow into the future. From birth to death through extraordinary journeys. and every day life these are the threads of human experience. that unite us.

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