Textile Museum Associates of Southern California TMASC TMA/SC
Textile Museum Associates of Southern California, Inc.

About Us
News & Events
Past Programs
Contact Us


Celebrate our 30th Anniversary
of presenting fabulous monthly programs on Ethnographic textiles and costumes, Oriental rugs, and contemporary fiber art

“Silver, Silk and Cotton Threads: Textiles and Costumes of Yemen”

Marjorie Ransom
 Former Diplomat, Collector, Researcher and Author, Washington, DC

 The mountainous terrain of north Yemen and the vast expanses of desert in the southern part of the country separated the people into discrete communities, each with their own designs and motifs.  Marjorie Ransom will introduce you to this remote and beautiful country in a richly illustrated presentation.  Her survey of textiles will highlight the unique indigo dyed fabric worn in the northern cooler climate and the densely embroidered costumes of the flat Tihama coastal plain that borders the Red Sea.  The costumes worn in the south used Syrian and Indian fabrics of silk and cotton and were embroidered by couched, twisted silver thread embroidery.  The Beduin and tribeswomen from all parts of the country wore elaborate costumes with their heavy jewelry – the most elaborate for weddings and ceremonial occasions. Ms. Ransom will display a rare textile she is researching, the beaded and embroidered headpiece worn by a Sanaa bride, an example of tablet weaving that was the work of Yemeni Jews in the area near Sanaa and the Ras Maqmuq.


 Ottoman By Design: Branding an Empire
 via Floral Designs in Carpets and Textiles"

Walter B. Denny 
Distinguished Professor of Art History,
Scholar and Expert on Islamic Art, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Ottoman art reflects the wealth, abundance, and influence of an empire, which spanned seven centuries and, at its height, three continents. Professor Denny’s talk chronicles how stylized tulips, carnations, hyacinths, honeysuckles, roses and rosebuds came to embellish nearly all media produced by the Ottoman court beginning in the mid-sixteenth century. These instantly recognizable elements became the brand of the empire, and synonymous with its power.  Incredibly, the development of this design identity can be attributed to a single artist, Kara Memi, working in the royal arts workshop of Istanbul. A 2012 exhibition at The Textile Museum in Washington, DC, The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art, unveiled the influence of Ottoman floral style and traces its continuing impact through the textile arts—some of the most luxurious and technically complex productions of the empire


Marjorie Ransom is an author and former US diplomat, where she lived twice in Yemen in a career that took her to India, Iran, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, the United Arab Emirates, Syria and Egypt.  She and her late husband David Ransom assembled a large collection of jewelry and costumes during their postings.  In 2006-7, Ms. Ransom lent 78 pieces from her collection to the exhibit, Symbols of Identity — Jewelry of Five Continents, at the Mingei International Museum in San Diego.  In 2008 she co-curated an exhibit of her jewelry, Female Adornment from Bilad al-Sham (Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria), at the Jerusalem Fund in Washington, DC.  Ms. Ransom spent a year in Yemen during the years 2004-9 with research grants, studying traditional silver jewelry and crafts.  The American University in Cairo Press published a book of her findings, Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba: Yemeni Regional Jewelry, in June 2014, which will be on display at the program.   

Prof. Walter B. Denny has taught at the University of Massachusetts/Amherst Art History Program since 1970. His primary field of teaching and research is the art and architecture of the Islamic world, in particular the artistic traditions of the Ottoman Turks, Islamic carpets and textiles, and issues of economics and patronage in Islamic art.  In addition to curatorships at the Harvard University (1970-2000) and Smith College (2000-2005) art museums, in September of 2002 he was named Charles Grant Ellis Research Associate in Oriental Carpets at The Textile Museum, Washington, DC, and in 2011 he received the George Hewitt Myers Award for Lifetime Achievement in Textile Studies from The Textile Museum.  He served as Marshall and Marilyn Wolf Senior Consultant in the Department of Islamic Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art from 2007 to 2013 as it rebuilt its Islamic Art galleries, and in 2012, he co-curated the exhibition, The Sultan’s Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art, at The Textile Museum, and co-authored the catalog for same.  In 2014 he was named Distinguished Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and is an extremely popular past speaker at TMA/SC.





Copyright © 2008. All Rights Reserved. Website Design & Search Engine Optimization by ITChair.com, Los Angeles