If you have ever had the urge to touch the display in a museum, you are in for a treat at the Museo del Tessuto in Prato, Tuscany. Their latest temporary exhibit has a strong title: Fabric is Everything. On until September 9, 2012, it is an interactive show that you can enter into and touch.
Prato is known historically as Tuscany’s textile district, and still today it produces fabric of every type. The textile museum has taken a step away from showing historical collections in order to showcase contemporary textile production in Prato. For this exhibit, over twenty Pratese producers of materials have been called upon to donate many yards of some of their most innovative and up-to-date productions. Materials you might see in fashion and home decoration magazines this spring/ summer 2012 and even fall/ winter 2012/13 are displayed here. And “display” may be the wrong word, for they are made into real works of art. A large space on the museum’s first floor has been divided into about a dozen macro installations that group together types of fabrics that have been made into sculptural installations. You can enter inside these installations and touch the materials.
Kids especially love the fairytale land created by the ‘Forest of Vines’ of winter velvets, and the ‘Suspended Houses’ made of lace that, upon closer inspection, is actually plastic.
What appears to be a jet of water coming from a pipe in the ceiling and reflected on the mirrored floor is actually made of ‘non-fabric’, a kind of tie-died paper fabric like that used in medical applications. What you see and what you touch produces two different sensations. The exhibit ‘Fabric is Everything’ is a great exhibit for children, and for anyone young at heart. Just a few kilometers away from Florence, the Museo del Tessuto is in the very center of Prato, walking distance from the train station. Take the opportunity to also visit other things in the city, like the Duomo with impressive frescoes by Filippo Lippi, or the castle just a stone’s throw from the textile museum.