Threads That Bind: Fibres of the World

by - Saturday, April 11, 2009

2009 Maiwa Textile Symposium

Tuesday October 20, 2009 at 7pm
Vancouver Museum (MacMillan Space Centre Auditorium)

Sheila is one of a handful of intrepid adventurers who have left home (often with no more than pocket change and some extra clothes) to see the world, motivated by a love of textiles and exploring.

Sheila will talk about different regions of the world based on the fibre they use beginning with the felt work of Finland (made from special Finn sheep), then the linen of Eastern Europe (Slovakia, Romania, Albania), and finally the cotton of Africa (Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan) and the Middle East (Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Yemen). Sheila will also touch on the tragedy of the Aral Sea (the world’s fourth largest inland sea) its loss caused by diverting water to irrigate cotton fields. The talk will conclude on the Silk Road (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan). All are places Sheila has travelled to, described in her books, and researched for their textile traditions. Her lecture will be accompanied by her own photographs.

Sheila joins us from the UK. Her talk will feature textiles for sale from her extensive collection. Her books will also be available.


Sheila Paine is a world expert on tribal societies and textiles. Her passion for travel began when she was very young and has taken her around the world. She is a fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and has worked as a professional translator/interpreter in French, German, Italian, and Spanish. Her museum-quality collection includes embroidery and amulets and has been staged in numerous exhibitions. She is the author of several acclaimed books and has won travel-writing awards from the Independent and the Sunday Times.


The Afghan Amulet: Travels from the Hindu Kush to Razgrad
The Golden Horde: Travels from the Himalaya to Karpathos
The Linen Goddess: Travels from the Red Sea to Prizren
Chikan Embroidery: The Floral Whitework of India
Embroidered Textiles: Traditional Patterns from Five Continents
Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic
Embroidery from India and Pakistan
Embroidery from Afghanistan
Embroidered Textiles
(expanded edition of original)

Contributor: Meetings with Remarkable Muslims

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