Judy Frater

Coming Together: Culturally Inspired Creation

April 14, 2022, 12:00-1:00 p.m. CT

UW Madison students holding their co-designed pieces

The contemporary world is plagued by dependence on industry and technology. Interpersonal disconnection has been amplified by the ongoing pandemic.  Climate change and inundation with waste threaten our existence. Fashion has been identified as one culprit and sustainable fashion only perpetuates the desire to continually consume.

The link between these problems is the issue of meaning and value.  Hand craft could direct us toward more sustainable lifestyles. But in India sustainable hand craft livelihoods are threatened by undervaluation. Each year artisans leave craft because it does not offer adequate income or recognition.

Judy Frater’s residency aims to explore whether realizing the value of creativity and human connection can increase value for hand craft of the developing world. Students at UW Madison learned the basics of weaving, hand printing, resist dyeing, and hand embroidery. They worked long distance one-to-one with artisans of Kutch, India to co-create textiles inspired the HLATC collections. They studied value and its generation through framing and presentation.  Now they will produce an exhibition that presents their co-designed textiles and experiences. Can they bring an audience to craft by creating value for it- and encourage more sustainable lifestyles?  Hear this talk and come to the exhibition to find out.

Judy Frater’s interdisciplinary arts residency is presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts and hosted by the Design Studies Department with Professor Jenny Angus as lead faculty.

About the Speaker

Living in the Kutch region in the Northwest part of India for 30 years, Judy Frater co-founded the Kala Raksha Trust and Museum. An award-winning Ashoka Fellow, she also founded the first design schools for artisans: Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya and its current structure Somaiya Kala Vidya. Previously, she was Associate Curator of The Textile Museum in Washington, D.C. She is the author of “Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris,” “The Art of the Dyer in Kutch: Traditional Block Printed Textiles: Culture and Technique (published in October 2021)” and numerous other publications. Frater also received the Sir Misha Black Medal for design education. Judy Frater’s longer biography can be found on her website: textileslive.com. Judy Frater is the Interdisciplinary Artist in Residence at UW-Madison for Spring 2022!