Profile of the Association > Scope of Activities
Since 1991 TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH has been organising an international summer symposium in the last two weeks of July with a variety of cultural events around the theme of weaving and textile art. Over the years this has become an important meeting place for people from all over Europe interested in textiles. The concentration of enthusiastic specialists as well as non-specialists creates a very special mood which is felt in the whole town. Each summer symposium has a certain motto and throws light on certain aspects of textile art and culture in exhibitions and courses.
The following scopes of events are contained in the summer symposium:
Due to the demand for a profound training spectrum for participants from Austria and abroad the course programme expanded from year to year. Respective courses are held by instructors/instructresses from several countries which are open to specialists as well as interested non-specialists. Apart from various weaving techniques there are other textile techniques and modes of creation such as dyeing processes, stitch-forming, braiding and knotting techniques as well a paper-making. There are also workshops for children each year. As the textile issue has become more and more neglected in schools and other fields of education, education for specialists as well as non-specialists TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH seems to fill a gap.
The courses are held in the classrooms of the Hauptschule Haslach. In addition newly adapted workshops have been available in the Textile Centre Haslach since 2008. The informal atmosphere and the remoteness of the town give the participants a chance to fully concentrate on the newly acquired knowledge, and also to form friendships with persons with similar interests in those 3 to 5 days of the courses.
Since 2011 Haslach has been home to a new university course entitled Shuttle, which offers theoretical instruction such as material and merchandise knowledge of textiles, the theory of interlacing, theory of design, practical mechanics and process control apart from a basic training system.
For years exhibitions and art performances of a variety of textile themes have been a focal point of the summer symposium. On the one hand artist and students were invited to present their work at TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH, on the other hand there were competitions with winners selected by jury with titles such as Shawls, Cushions, Vistas, Spaces In Between, Thinking different – Thinking JacquART,... the results of which were exhibited. Occasionally private collections of historically or ethnologically interesting textiles were presented to the public or travelling exhibitions taken over. These encounters and discourses about interesting objects greatly contribute to the stimulating and creative atmosphere of the summer symposium.
Individual art performances in the public space are topics of conversation, invite participation and promote the meeting of artist with the populace – a basic concern of TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH.
In recent year exhibitions were also held in venues such as shops or schools, in the Vault-Gallery or in the Hain workshop. A very special ambience was the castle ruin of Piberstein near Helfenberg about 10 km from Haslach. However, through the project of the Textile Centre Haslach, the former weaving mills of Vonwiller and Obermüller have become the most important exhibition venues.
Since the second year of the existence of TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH a two days’ Weavers’ Market has been held , and this has become a magnet for the public in the course of time. It is located in the crooked little streets of the oldest part of the town and the market place. 90 exhibitors from several nations have the possibility to display the range of their textile creations, all of them exquisite hand-made products. The market is renowned far beyond the Mühlviertel for the high quality of the goods as well as for its pleasant atmosphere and has been recognised with a prize on several occasions. Every year a mixed jury selects the participants from the several hundred applicants on the basis of the documentation they submit, which guarantees a high level of quality as well as a certain variation that maintains the individuality of and interest in the market. The Weavers’ Market sets the whole region in motion every year. Thousands of visitors flock to Haslach in order to admire the products and shop to their hearts’ content. The event has become an important impulse for the local economy and is therefore indispensable.
It has become more and more difficult for hand-weavers and textile creators to find beautiful materials, yarns and working equipment. It is important to be able to touch the material before buying it and to see the actual colours instead of buying on the internet.
TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH therefore has been organising a yarn and material fair called “Faserzone” since 2009 where yarn producers and producers of accessories can offer their produce. The fair lasts from Friday to Sunday on the week-end of the Weavers’ Market, and its venue is the smaller hall in the TuK-Vonwiller complex.
The purpose of the Experimental Workshop is to bring specialists from various fields together, to work, research and develop new ideas under a certain theme.
At the beginning of TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH there had been an Experimental Workshop every summer. The focus then was the interface between hand-weaving and machine production. Each year 8 to 12 weavers and textile designers from several countries were invited to Haslach to collaborate on a certain theme for 2 weeks, and to explore new paths in weaving in a stimulating and creative atmosphere. Examples of such themes were “Linen – Water – Cloth”, “The language of the Weave”, “Structures in Black and White”. The interchange amongst each other as well as with the local industry was an important issue which was achieved with varied success in the individual years. The organisers supplied different kinds of looms and pattern looms, some of them electronically controlled. From 1996 onwards there was the possibility to experiment on the large power looms of the Textile College at Haslach and/or at the linen weaving mill Messrs. Vieböck at Helfenberg, aided by the local technicians. After a break of some years, the next Experimental Workshop took place in 2008, when weaves and product ideas in view of the coming opening of the Textile Centre Haslach were developed. Presently the interface between hand-weaving and machine production is covered by the new university course Shuttle.
For the Experimental Workshop in 2009 international Shibori artists were invited to create interventions for the public space. In 2010 the Experimental Workshop was under the motto of “Knot in the Brain”. It investigated the effect of manual activities on the brain, and brought neurologists and textile experts together performing medical tests and examinations to get to the bottom of these interesting interactions.
During the summer symposium there are always a lot of evening and supporting events, apart from the courses, exhibitions and the Weavers’ Market to round off the programme. Various lectures by specialists usually with reference to the annual theme supply interesting impulses on certain textile subjects. Guided tours, performances, dance and theatre shows, fashion parades, inspiring films, readings, concerts, hiking tours, cabarets and parties provide entertainment and a pleasant, stimulating atmosphere and are conducive to an exchange between the participants of the symposium.
During the Weavers’ Market a special children’s programme acquaints children with textile subjects, while the grown-ups can pursue their interests in peace.
The supporting events are basically open to all. They are meant to provide a platform and put things textile in a larger social context.
Weekend Courses and Activities at the Textile Centre Haslach
On the premises of two former textile mills, the local Museum of Weaving and smaller textile enterprises, workshops and offers of advanced training are united under one roof in the Textile Centre Haslach. There are also facilities for weaving and various kinds of training for the association TEXTILE KULTUR HASLACH. There we have also been holding week-end courses during the year from 2010 onwards. After 20 years in which the equipment had only been used during the summer courses, there is now the long wished-for workshop which houses part of our looms on a permanent basis. In future this workshop could be used as an open studio, and be used by weavers from outside or by former course participants for their individual work.
As a partner in the Textile Centre Haslach, our association provides interesting contacts and fresh ideas, organises special exhibitions, lectures and presentations as well as impulses for the collaboration of all the partners on the premises.