SUBTLY ENSCONCED in an Old Town building, you'd never know that a world-class textile library resides in downtown Portland.
The collection behind the new Textile Hive didn't always call Portland home. It started in New York City back in 1987, founded by Andrea Aranow, who traveled the world to collect more than 40,000 textiles from six continents. These days the collection is managed by her son, Caleb Sayan, who moved it to Portland several years ago. Much of his time has been spent photographing and digitizing the collection in order to create an online resource for students and educators, designers, and the sundry curious. Phase one of the Textile Hive, the "Knowledge Base," was launched earlier this month.
For most of its existence, the collection was used for reference by design firms, inhabiting a corner of the industry most people don't think about. Clients included Ralph Lauren, Marni, and Dries Van Noten. Sayan worked alongside his mom for years in the business, and when she turned the collection over to his custodianship, it was her wish that it now be used for educational purposes.
After running up against problems with his initial vision of selling the collection to an educational institution, Sayan set about creating the Textile Hive, which is, as far as he's aware, now the largest digitized textile collection in the world. In addition to the careful work of visually documenting each piece, Sayan and his small team created a cross-reference-able system of classification, accounting for factors like country of origin, era, material type, and dye or decorative technique. He also teamed up with filmmaker Andy Chandler and textile scholar Annin Barrett to create short, informative videos that accompany visual tours of the textiles.
Eventually, a more complex site will be available for access via memberships aimed at independent professionals and organizations (currently set to launch September 2). But for those of us who are simply interested in the historical context of brocade or Oshima Tsumugi kimono cloth, the Textile Hive's Knowledge Base should be a common point of reference. Textile Hive, textilehive.com
THIS WEEK'S STYLE EVENTS
• The small but mighty Demimonde is throwing open its newly spruced-up doors to welcome ceramicist Martina Thornhill (originally a Portlander, she now lives in North Carolina) for a one-evening trunk show of her earthy, geometric designs. Demimonde, 2428 NE Broadway, Thurs Aug 28, 6-9 pm
• On your marks: Vintalier plays host to another killer pop-up sale, having recently acquired stock "from a reputable Portland store closeout" (Reveille?). They're promising "hundreds" of items of clothing, including selvage denim and shoes, from lines like Opening Ceremony, Samantha Pleet, and Sass & Bide at up to 70 percent off, with summer and fall seasons both represented. Vintalier, 412 NW 13th, Fri Aug 29-Sun Sept 7, vintalier.com for store hours
• Whether or not you've already been lucky enough to attend one of the crafting workshops at the WildCraft Studio School, here's another reason to make the trip: They're hosting a WildSupper with SaltRose Kitchen featuring ingredients from area foragers, fisherfolk, and farmers, plus two new wines on pour from Underwood, Washington's Willow Wine Cellars. WildCraft Studio School, 27 Bates, White Salmon, WA, Sat Aug 30, 6 pm, $70 (wine included)
• Sellwood/Westmoreland is undeniably adorable, but sometimes you need a reason to go. Enter the Passport Sidewalk Sale, which makes a (rewarding) game of hitting favorite neighborhood shops and other spots. Sellwood/Westmoreland, Sat Aug 30, 11 am-6 pm, sellwoodwestmoreland.com for more info
• The monthly Rejuvenation/Portland Flea collaboration Sunday Emporium returns with some of the city's primo vendors of vintage and locally made delights, with a particular eye toward goods for the home. Nesting season is right around the corner, so.... Rejuvenation, 1100 SE Grand, Sun Aug 31, 11 am-5 pm
• Attention stay-at-home moms of school-aged children: Twill's got an event aimed straight at you, with mimosas and a 20 percent apparel discount during hours most of the rest of us are at work, scholastic and otherwise. Twill, 3352 SE Belmont, Tues Sept 2, 9 am-noon