Walk by the large window displays on the first floor or Nancy Nicholas Hall, and you’ll see the current exhibit of large-print British textiles from the late 60s and early 70s. According to Natasha Thoreson, Curator and Collections Manager at SoHE, the bold prints represent the Avant Garde style popular at the time in London. Heal’s, a British furnishing store, used these three-dimensional looking prints in their windows to attract of passing customers.
Take a step inside the Mecklenburg Reading Room and you’ll see even more of these oversized prints on display. On the far wall, there are large white drawers holding more treasures from the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection.
Pull out the drawers to find the current exhibit of kimono fabrics from the collection. Thoreson points to two children kimonos s her favorites. One was donated by the daughter of past faculty member, Charles McCarthy. The small exhibit was a collaboration with Thoreson and Asian Languages and Cultures faculty member Charo D’Etcheverry.
The textiles on display in the drawers are rotated each semester, and the windows change about every 10-12 weeks. In the next few months, SoHE visitors can see textiles from the 60s exhibited in both the drawers and windows.
About the curator:
Natasha Thoreson was hired in 2015 by the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s School of Human Ecology as the Curator and Collections Manager for the Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection. Part of this role is selecting and displaying textiles year-round in the Lynn Mecklenburg Reading Room exhibition spaces.
Natasha Thoreson grew up watching her mother embroider and listening to her encourage her in the arts. She attended the University of California Riverside and the University of Minnesota, learning everything she could about textiles and design. She was interested in the art form because it is an underrepresented and female dominated industry.