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Chazen Museum of Art | Our Kind of Happy Hour: Judy Frater

February 17 @ 5:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Join us for a virtual Our Kind of Happy Hour with Judy Frater as she discusses Embroidery: A Women’s History of Kutch on the Chazen Museum of Art’s Facebook page on Thursday, February 17th at 5:30pm!
Kutch, a desert region of northwestern India, was historically known for its myriad of craft traditions, notably a dazzling array of hand embroideries. Often called “mirror work,” the intricate hand stitching is in fact a range of styles comprising unique combinations of stitch, colour, motif and pattern practiced by women many different ethnic groups. By culture restricted to social discourse among their own community, with limited interactions beyond, women highly valued creative innovation. The embroideries they created narrate a rich history of different ethnic groups, their aesthetics and values, and the influences of their intermingling over time.
Judy Frater is a social entrepreneur steeped in the world of contemporary textile artisans of Kutch, India.
She lived in Kutch for 30 years, during which she co-founded and operated Kala Raksha Trust, a cooperative for women embroiderers, established the Kala Raksha Textile Museum, and with an Ashoka Fellowship founded Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya, the first design school for traditional artisans. Under her eight- year Directorship, Kala Raksha Vidhyalaya received international recognition for its unique approach to education of artisans. Frater received the Sir Misha Black Medal for Distinguished Services to Design Education in 2009, the Crafts Council of India Kamla award in 2010, the George B. Walter ’36 Service to Society Award from Lawrence University in 2014, the New Delhi Rotary Distinguished Service Award in 2020, and the Association of Designers of India Design Guru Award in 2021.
In 2014, to expand the design education program to an institute, Frater joined the K.J. Somaiya Gujarat Trust to launch Somaiya Kala Vidya. From 2014-2020, as Founder Director she initiated a graduate business and management course, Outreach to other regions, co-design programs, and a course in craft traditions for non-artisans.
Ms. Frater’s is author the award-winning Threads of Identity: Embroidery and Adornment of the Nomadic Rabaris and The Art of the Dyer in Kutch. Prior to residing in India, she was Associate Curator of the Eastern Hemisphere Collections at the Textile Museum, in Washington, DC. In Spring 2022 she will teach an Interdisciplinary Arts Residency Course at the University of Wisconsin Madison.