Special Exhibition: 


Bands of color are primordial. The natural world is filled with stripes from rainbows to zebras. As consciousness evolved, so too came the perception of beauty and with it, some geometric patterns, like stripes, being found especially pleasing. This may be gleaned by observing a consistent preference by the earliest humans in the kind of stones they selected to fashion their first tools some quarter million years ago; we note aesthetically pleasing striations whose beauty as the first “striped art” survives as their testament unto today. Physiologists have proposed this preference may be related to the physics of how neural networks process information being relayed from the rods and cones of the eye to the brain. Take for example how we wonder today at panorama vistas at sunset, which often include banded variegation of shade and hue. There can be little doubt that early man also came to appreciate such a view and thus can I speculate that it was the distant horizon itself that could have served as the first inspiration for a color banded weaving.

The technical side of interlacing yarns on looms lends itself to decorating with vertical or horizontal bands. Whether we speak of warp or weft faced cloth, the process of inlaying alternating stripes creates a vigorous dynamic textile pattern. It is easy to imagine the first blanket being covered with black and white stripes taken from the color of natural sheep’s wool. Eventually the discovery and mastery of natural dyes permitted a brilliant range of colors only enhancing the potential for the beauty of stripes as an artistic expression. 

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