Today my chapter of the Pomegranate Guild had a presentation and tour of the Ikat exhibit at the Textile Museum in Washington, DC. Simply defined, Ikat is a particular technique of dying and weaving material. This material was then made into coats. The exhibit pieces were really beautiful, and really challenge the idea that "nothing" culturally was going on in mid-Asian in the 18-19 centuries. It was a multi-layer dying process, starting with yellow and going on through indigo.
More interesting to me, though, was a smaller exhibit on "recycling" textiles. Most people think immediately of patch quilting which makes use of various usable parts of clothing, etc., but this exhibit also showed a vest made from a native American ceremonial mantle, exquisitely embroidered pieces that had become tent decorations, a jacket made of a combination of woven materials, and a few other interesting pieces. So, we're not talking the last 40-50 years here. I cannot imagine the time it took to hand embroider some of these pieces, one explanation said two to three years.
Every time I start to think I have some talent, I see something like these exhibits, and realize that I have a whole lot more to learn. It's exciting!