Planned Events
of the International Hajji Baba Society







*Some programs such as salons and home visits marked with an * are open only to Hajji members and require pre-registration two weeks in advance of the event. Information on location and how to register will be forthcoming.



DATE: Sunday, February 4, 2018
EVENT: Annual Business Meeting and Pot Luck Dinner

HAPPY HOUR – 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm

POTLUCK DINNER –Dinner will be served from 6:30 to 7:30 pm. The IHBS has been holding successful potluck dinners for many years. Participants should bring a favorite dish that can either be an appetizer, entrée, salad or dessert. Whatever you bring should serve about eight people. The IHBS will provide wine, beer, and some non-alcoholic beverages.

SHORT ANNUAL MEETING –between 7:30 and 8:00 pm. Election of Board of Directors and announcements.

LOCATION: Basement of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, 4900 Connecticut Avenue, NW, at the intersection of Ellicott Street and Connecticut Avenue.

SPEAKER: Hillary Steel

SUBJECT: Mexican Ikat Rebozos

The Mexican jaspe rebozo is unique both in originality of design and the process of achieving it. While it may be lesser known among world ikat, it is highly significant among the family of resist textiles and has not taken its rightful place among other beautiful examples from around the globe. Hillary Steel’s presentation, Ikat/Jaspe: A Comparative Look at Process and Design from Three Continents will focus on the similarities and differences among ikat design from three distinct global regions; Cote d’Ivoire in West Africa, Uzbekistan in Central Asia and Mexico. Her talk will reflect research and personal experience with teachers and weavers from each of the above places and will compare elements of design, cultural aesthetics, and systems of tying resists and dyeing unprotected threads. Steel will provide an in-depth view of the construction of a Tenancingo style, Mexican jaspe rebozo as taught to her by Don Evaristo Borboa Casas as part of an overview of global ikat design that will also clarify the labor intensive process of dividing warp threads, then marking, binding and dyeing them, and the use of dyes and color systems.

Hillary Steel is a teacher and artist who specializes in weaving and resist dyeing. She incorporates ikat and shibori (jaspe and amarras) into her hand woven wall pieces. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. After graduation, she studied textiles via post-baccalaureate course work at Buffalo State College and the University of Pittsburgh as well as through travel to Cote d’Ivoire, Peru, Chile and Mexico. Hillary received a Masters in Teaching degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She has worked in public and private schools in Pennsylvania, Maryland and the Washington DC metropolitan area as an artist in residence, creating site-specific collaborative textiles with students. Currently she is on the faculty of the Potomac School in Virginia.

Since 2006, along with colleague Virginia Davis, Hillary has been studying with and documenting the work of Mexican master rebozo weaver Don Evaristo Borboa Casas. They have produced a short film about his work. Hillary’s work has been included in national and international exhibitions - at the North American Cultural Center in San Jose, Costa Rica, the American Consulate in Taiwan, and currently at our Embassy in Mexico City. Her textiles have been the subject of solo shows at the McLean Project for the Arts and artspace Gallery in Virginia, at the Glenview Mansion Art Gallery in Maryland and at other venues in PA and Ohio. Steel’s work is included in the book Art on the Edge, Seventeen Contemporary American Artists published by the U.S. Department of State. Hillary’s textile art is held in private and public collections, including the GW Textile Museum and Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery in Washington, D.C., at the American Consulate in Tijuana, Mexico, and at the American Embassy in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. She has been a resident of Montgomery County, Maryland since 1994, and maintains a studio in Takoma Park, Washington D.C.

Web Site hillarysteel.com


DATE: Saturday, March 24, 2018
TIME: 2 pm - 4 pm
LOCATION: The Textile Museum
SUBJECT: Hats and Headdresses: From Antiquity to the Present
SPEAKER: Ira Spar

“If you are not wearing a skullcap; you are not a man” (Central Asia popular saying)

Hats are mainly used in western culture as utilitarian items to cover the head and protect against the elements, for some they may be part of an eloquent fashion ensemble designed to decorate the body. But many ethnic hats and headdresses decorated with eye-catching objects of material culture (such as beads, feathers, horns, or shells) or woven with signifying patterns and colors are marks of the wearer’s wealth, status, gender and powers. Hats may also call attention to a distinctive group or subgroups, units of kinship, religious affiliation, gender, life achievements, and membership in a society. They may reflect beliefs, refer to historical events, myths or legends and offer protection from the incursion of mysterious forces. In Africa the expression “To be born with a hat,” said of infants whose head is covered by a fetal membrane, means to be born lucky; a sign of future power and leadership.

In his lecture Professor Spar will survey hats and headgear and their meanings beginning with images drawn from Paleolithic cave art, Egyptian tomb reliefs and Mesopotamian sculpture to 19th and 20th century hats from Africa and Asia, many drawn from his personal collection.

Ever since his elementary school days, Dr. Spar has been fascinated with hats. On a regular basis he wears different Central Asian hats to synagogue, their choice varying with the cycle of the holidays. Ira Spar is Professor of Ancient History at Ramapo College of New Jersey where he teaches courses on the history and archaeology of the ancient world. For the past 40 years he was Research Assyriologist in the Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has published a four volume edition of the Museum’s collection of ancient Babylonan and Sumerian cuneiform tablets which includes his discovery of a new portion of the Babylonian story of the Flood.

From 1987 to 1997 he founded and co-directed the New Jersey Archaeological Consortium-Tel Aviv University excavations at Tel Hadar, located on the shore of the Sea of Galilee in Israel. This project led to the discovery of the long lost biblical kingdom of Geshur. In addition his many articles, he has written and narrated a children’s book based on an ancient Babylonian myth (Google, “Marduk, King of the Gods”). A biographical sketch of his career at the Museum is featured in Danny Danziger, Museum: Behind the Scenes at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008.

DATE: Sunday, April 15, 2018
TIME: TBA
LOCATION: TBA
SUBJECT: Festivals, Fairs & Rituals: Textiles, Costumes and Carpets of the Eastern Grasslands of Tibet
SPEAKER: Cheri Hunter, Textile Museum Associates of Southern California, President and Program Chairman

East of the official Tibetan Autonomous Region, Kham and Amdo are remote, culturally Tibetan districts in China. The landscape consists of snowy peaks and rolling grasslands on the Tibetan Plateau, where nomadic peoples have maintained grazing cultures with sheep and yaks for centuries. Just as at American county fairs and rodeos with cowboys, the Tibetans love to come together for colorful annual festivals and wild horsemanship competitions. Tibetan Buddhist culture, which appears in large regional as well as in smaller local monasteries throughout the grasslands, and which is often mixed with the local animistic shamanic practices, also presents opportunities for seasonal celebrations. In 2006, Cheri Hunter traveled in a group with 4-wheel drive vehicles, photographing these festivals and rituals; her article and photo spread was originally published in HALI magazine (Issue 154.) Although she is not an expert in this area, she will present a photo talk which will emphasize both the local and imported textiles and rugs in use throughout the grasslands, as well as the shaman festivals and horse fairs, where the participants, including the horses, are wearing their best.

A founding member of TMA/SC (Textile Museum Associates of Southern California), Program Chairman since 1999 (and Programs Co-Chair from 1992-98,) a two-time past President and current 2018 President, Cheri Hunter has organized more than 225 speaker programs for TMA, as well as innumerable ACOR Overseas Speaker tours. She is a native of Los Angeles, and a graduate of UCLA in Art and Cinema, and was a career film editor in Hollywood for nearly thirty years. She has been an avid still photographer since her teens, and since then has focused mostly on adventure travel photography while enjoying rug and textile “culture” and textile-oriented world travel. Cheri has written many articles with photospreads for HALI magazine, including on her travels in Morocco, Myanmar, Tibet, Syria, Thailand, Turkey and most recently, Iran. Please note that this program does not purport to be a scholarly presentation, but is a cultural travelogue, with an emphasis on textiles, costumes and rugs. Cheri invites IHBS members to bring examples of Tibetan rugs and textiles for show & tell.


DATE: Saturday, April 28, 2018
TIME: 2 pm - 4 pm
LOCATION: The Textile Museum
SUBJECT: "The Ottoman Heritage in Austro-Hungarian Costume and Textiles"
SPEAKER: Joyce Corbett

This talk will illuminate the influences on costume and textiles resulting from the Ottoman Turkish occupation of the greater Austro-Hungarian Empire for one hundred and fifty years, (1541-1699). This area extended from the periphery of Vienna east and south, including the present day region of Transylvania, Romania. Despite constant warfare and turmoil, Ottoman occupation brought many cultural innovations to the region.

We will examine traditional royal embroidery and the evolution of court dress in Hungary, votive carpets in Transylvanian churches, and further adaptations of Ottoman textile culture extending west across Europe in later centuries. Finally, discovering vestiges of Ottoman cultural heritage still found in the Carpathian basin presents an intriguing opportunity for inquiry.

Joyce Corbett is an independent scholar speciallizing in folk art and cultural history in Central Europe. Her areas of research include folk art, historic court costumes and textiles, and early 20th century design in Hungary.

Her curatorial history includes "Between East and West: Folk Art Treasures of Romania” (co-authored catalog), at Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA. in 2011. Other exhibitions at Mingei International Museum, San Diego, CA and Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles, CA include:Hungarian Folk Magic: the Art of Joseph Domjan" where she directed a documentary video accompanying the exhibition)."Eva Zeisel: Extraordinary Designer Craftsman at 100”, “Dowry: Eastern European Painted Furniture, Textiles and Folk Art”, for which she co-authored the catalog, and organized a symposium, and “Wearable Folk Art”.

She also co-authored the catalog to the exhibition: “Resplendent Dress from Southeastern Europe: Central European Embroidery”, at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, in 2013.

Joyce is the founder of The Ethnic Textile Council of San Diego. She is on the International Advisory Board of Mingei International Museum, and has held a Woodrow Wilson Scholarship while doing her MFA. She received International Research and Exchanges Board grants for Romania and Hungary and was a Fulbright Research Scholar for Slovakia and Hungary.

DATE: Saturday, May 26, 2018
TIME 2 pm - 4 pm
LOCATION: The Textile Museum
SUBJECT: TBA
SPEAKER: Jenny Balfour Paul


Some Other Upcoming Textile Events and Other Events of Interest



The Textile Museum Calendar





DATE: September 14, 2017-January 14, 2018
LOCATION: British Museum, London
SUBJECT: Scythians: warriors of ancient Siberia


2,500 years ago groups of formidable warriors roamed the vast open plains of Siberia. Feared, loathed, admired – but over time forgotten... Until now.

This major exhibition explores the story of the Scythians – nomadic tribes and masters of mounted warfare, who flourished between 900 and 200 BC. Their lifestyle and ferocity has echoed through the ages. Other groups from the Huns to the Mongols have followed in the Scythians' footsteps - and they have even influenced the portrayal of the Dothraki in Game of Thrones. The Scythians' encounters with the Greeks, Assyrians and Persians were written into history but for centuries all trace of their culture was lost – buried beneath the ice.

Discoveries of ancient tombs have unearthed a wealth of Scythian treasures. Amazingly preserved in the permafrost, clothes and fabrics, food and weapons, spectacular gold jewellery – even mummified warriors and horses – are revealing the truth about these people’s lives. These incredible finds tell the story of a rich civilisation, which eventually stretched from its homeland in Siberia as far as the Black Sea and even the edge of China.

Many of the objects in this stunning exhibition are on loan from the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg. Scientists and archaeologists are continuing to discover more about these warriors and bring their stories back to life.

More details here and here.


DATE: Through March 2018
LOCATION: Dumbarton Oaks
SUBJECT: Late Roman and early Byzantine hangings and curtains alongside Andean looped and woven garments.
Details can be found here.


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