Past Events

Here are just a few of our past lectures and events. Each year, we offer an insightful, always interesting lectures with wide-ranging topics from the use of contemporary materials to the documentation of traditional handwork.

TAC Tour to the 11th Annual Tapestry Biennial, San Jose


TAC Tour to the 11th American Tapestry Biennial at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017, 11 am, San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles

This tour is open to current TAC members and is $25.00.

The 11th American Tapestry Biennial is a traveling exhibit organized by the American Tapestry Alliance, a non-profit organization supporting the fine arts medium of contemporary handwoven tapestry since 1982. Alex Friedman, well respected tapestry weaver, former Director of the ATA, and current TAC board member, will be our guide and walk us through the exhibit giving us insights and background on the tapestries and the artists.

The ATA attracts members from around the world and these juried biennials document some of the most interesting works in contemporary tapestry. For more information, please visit their website at

To learn more about the tour and to RSVP, please e-mail us at

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“Natural Dyes in the Textile Industry and the Art of Sustainability” with Kathy Hattori


Food and Fibers Project shoot, Cordova, Alaska

“Natural Dyes in the Textile Industry and the Art of Sustainability” with Kathy Hattori

Saturday, March 4th, 2017, 10 a.m.
Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

Admission: Free for current members of the TAC; $5 for students and members of FAMSF; $10 General Admission

Apparel and textile dyeing are among the most polluting processes due to the high levels of toxic chemistry in dyes and fabric finishes. Apparel brands are looking for environmental solutions that help them get one step closer to sustainability. While countries worldwide—including the U.S.—are battling drought and contaminated water supplies, getting the fashion and textile industry to clean up to protect water sources is starting to take center stage.

We’ll take a closer look at some of the ways natural dyes are being incorporated into the textile industry and ways to support non-toxic color in your everyday life.

Kathy Hattori is the founder and President of Botanical Colors and sells organically certified dyes to artisans and industrial clients seeking a more sustainable, natural color palette. She is a recognized authority on natural dyes and pigments as well as commercial applications using natural dyes and has been a pioneer in the field since 2003. In addition to consulting and advising companies on their natural dye implementation strategies, Kathy has worked with the largest natural dye houses in the U.S. Her international experience includes creating a natural dye program for the largest organically certified tannery in Europe and implementing large-scale natural dye programs.She has also consulted and advised a number of major retail brands and was awarded a USDA VAPG grant in 2013 for natural dye research. In 2016, Botanical Colors was named a Sustainability Leadership Award finalist by Sustainable Seattle and continues to grow working with major fashion brands worldwide. Kathie currently teaches and lectures about natural dyes and is sought after as a speaker about the status of natural dyes in global textile production as well as scaling natural color.

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TAC Exclusive: “Safeguarding your Textile Treasures,” a textile conservation workshop


TAC Exclusive: “Safeguarding your Textile Treasures,” a textile conservation workshop

with de Young Conservators Sarah Gates and Anne Ghetts
Textile Conservation Lab at the De Young Museum, Thursday, April 20th, 2017, 9 am to 12 pm

$75 | Open to current TAC members| Pre-registration is required

FAMSF staff conservators Sarah Gates and Anne Getts will conduct a workshop on how textile collectors can best safeguard their textiles at home.  This event will take place “behind the scenes” in the Museums’ expansive Textile Conservation Lab at the de Young.  The first part of the 3-hour event will discuss what causes textiles to degrade, how you can identify these threats, and what you yourself can do about it – including the safest way to store and display your textiles in a non-museum environment.   Following the lecture, there will be an opportunity for attendees to ask questions about their own particular collection conundrums.   This will allow attendees to learn how to apply and adapt conservation solutions, tailoring them to individual time, labor, space, and funding constraints.  Examples will be drawn from the museum’s permanent collection.  Take home resources such as archival supplier lists and helpful web sites will be provided.
NOTE:  this is not a workshop where attendees bring in their own textiles for specific treatment advice, but high resolution color photographs are encouraged in order to illustrate your questions.  Instead we will be providing guidelines by which you can extend the lifetime of your favorite textiles – and for some, a way to protect your investment.

Sarah Gates has been associated with the FAMSF for over 35 years and head of the Textile Conservation Lab for over 20.  She received her training from the University of London textile conservation program at Hampton Court.  Anne Getts is the Mellon-funded, Assistant Conservator.  She is a graduate of the Winterthur-University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. Together they are responsible for the safekeeping of over 13,000 textiles in the Museums’ permanent collection.

For more information and to pre-register, contact

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“Hmong Story Cloths: A Historical and Cultural Understanding”

“Hmong Story Cloths: A Historical and Cultural Understanding” with Dr. Linda Gerdner

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017, 10 a.m.
Koret Auditorium, de Young Museum

Admission: Free for current members of the TAC; $5 for students and members of FAMSF; $10 General Admission

Story cloths originated during a pivotal time in the history of a specific cohort of Hmong people from Laos. Following U.S. withdrawal from the “Secret War,” those Hmong who had allied with the U.S. were forced to flee their homeland. During confinement in refugee camps in Thailand, Hmong women applied their superior needlework skills to create a new art form. These embroidered story cloths visually convey lived experiences and cultural heritage. Following closure of the last refugee settlement, story cloths have become a dying art. The presenter has been collecting story cloths for over two decades, with a discerning eye for quality of stitches and diversity of content.  Her collection includes 51 of these unique textile arts. The earliest piece in this collection dates back to 1977 and was made at Ban Viani Refugee Camp. The most recent story cloth was purchased from an elder woman shortly after her arrival to the U.S., with last wave of refugees in 2005, from a Hmong settlement adjacent to Wat Thamkrabok. The presentation will include a photographic sampling of these meticulously embroidered textiles along with a discussion that including unique attributes and cultural significance.  Select images will be supplemented with life photos, memories previously shared by Hmong individuals, and handcrafted artifacts to enrich understanding. Close-up photos of embroidered images spotlight meticulous attention to detail. The time span in which these textiles were created allows for a visual comparison regarding the evolution of embroidered artistry. Story cloths are divided and presented by the following themes: Hmong People’s Journey, Traditional Life in Laos, Hmong New Year, Folk Tales, and Neighboring Ethnic People. Content is synthesized to discuss the overall significance of this art form. This presentation is based on the book, Hmong Story Cloths: Preserving Historical & Cultural Treasures, published in 2015 by Schiffer Publishing.

Dr. Gerdner has an earned doctorate in Nursing in Aging and a minor in Anthropology. She served as an ethnogeriatric specialist at Stanford University and continues to have an affiliation there. Her research and scholarly efforts have focused on the Hmong American community since 2002. To enrich her understanding she visited three Hmong villages located in Xieng Khouang, in northern Laos. She has also visited Wat Thamkrabok and the former refugee settlement adjacent to the Buddhist monastery on two separate trips to Thailand.  She has published three books that focus on Hmong Americans, these include: Hmong Story Cloths: Preserving Historical and Cultural Treasures, Demystifying Hmong Shamanism: Practice and Use by Hmong Americans Across the Lifespan, and Grandfather’s Story Cloth (a bilingual book for Hmong American children and their family to promote understanding of Alzheimer’s Disease).

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TAC Exclusive: Special Guided tour of the Fukusa collection at Mills College


TAC Exclusive: Special Guided Tour of the Fukusa Collection at Mills College

Tuesday, May 9, 10:30 AM at Mills College Museum, Oakland California

$25 | Open to current TAC members| Tour is full

A collection of Japanese gift covers, fukusa, dating from the Edo Period (1603-1868), was presented to the Mills College Art Museum in 1935 by the son of well-known Japanese collector and textile connoisseur Shojiro Nomura. Fukusa were used by the aristocracy and samurai (and later by wealthy merchants) to cover important gifts – often presented on lacquered trays in elaborate gift-giving ceremonies. They are made from silk that was finely and imaginatively decorated by expert crafts people. Some were decorated with sumptuous embroidery, others with paste-resist dye techniques or hand-painted designs, while others were made from elaborate tapestry weave or weft brocade (nishiki) fabrics. The richness of the decoration attested to the wealth, social status, and aesthetic sensibility of the gift giver. Peter Sinton will guide us through the highlights of this collection. He is a collector of fukusa, and has presented talks on fukusa for TAC’s Ethnic Textile Study Group, and for the Asian Art Museum’s Society for Asian Art.

For more information and to pre-register for this special member tour, please contact us at

Image Courtesy Mills College: 1954.153: Japanese fukusa, A Dutch Trading Vessel, 1764-1771, embroidered satin, lined and framed with red crepe, Collection Mills College Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Nomura

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