What's in the Archives? Textiles!

What’s in the Archives? Textiles!

What’s in the Archives? Textiles!

Textiles items that can be found in the CLGA collection

Here at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, we have a lot of textiles. From Pride banners to hankies, wedding veils to theatre costumes, the depth and breadth of the LGBTQ2+ experience is represented in our collection of woven artifacts. People attach intimate meaning to fabric, whether in the clothes we wear, in community art projects like the AIDS quilt, or in the banners sewn and decorated when we come together to march and create a more equitable future for all people. Fabric is tied to how we experience our bodies and identities in day-to-day life; it is intricately woven into LGBTQ2+ culture, history, and activism. Here are a few of the artifacts in the CLGA’s care that have protected, revealed, and represented LGBTQ2+ people in their performances, activism, and everyday lives.

T-Shirts

t-shrits that are in the CLGA collection

By far the largest collection of textiles at the CLGA is our T-shirt collection. The graphics on these t-shirts are diverse and varied, relating mostly to Pride, bars and businesses, HIV/AIDS activism, and a wide range of community events and organizations. You can come to 34 Isabella to view the entire digitized collection.

Hats

Hats that are a part of the CLGA collection

The CLGA also receives lots of headwear. The bulk of our collection consists of baseball caps that share similar themes and images with our t-shirt collection, but we also have other headpieces ranging from wedding veils to bathhouse-branded sweatbands.

Banners

banners that can be found in the CLGA collection

The CLGA began as a project by activists at The Body Politic, and retains many of the banners that these activists displayed. Most of the banners in our collection belonged to groups demonstrating in favour of LGBTQ2+ rights at Pride and other events all over the country, but we also have less politically-charged banners that belonged to sports teams, unions, and church groups.

Handkerchiefs

Handkerchiefs stored at CLGA

For those in the know, hankies require little explanation. For the rest of us, though, here is a resource that can help explain their significance: https://user.xmission.com/~trevin/hanky.html . Hankies were used as a cruising code back before sex was constantly a swipe of the finger away, and the CLGA has collected quite a few over the years.

Performance Pieces

Performance Piece textiles that are held at the CLGA

We have many costumes in our collection, the bulk of which belonged to drag performers. Of particular note is the habit of one of the Toronto members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gaggle of irreverent wimple-clad performance activists. Visit their online archive at: http://sistersopitoronto.ca/ . Another item of a more solemn character is a concentration camp prisoner’s costume used in the 1981-82 Montréal production of Bent, a play about the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany. The costumes in the care of the CLGA illustrate the broad affective range of textiles in the LGBTQ2+ community.

All of the material covered in this article is accessible at our 34 Isabella location. However, much of our other material is in off-site holding and an appointment is necessary to retrieve it. To make an appointment, please contact queeries@clga.ca.

Written by: Ben Charlton with assistance from Sydney Gautreau

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What’s in the Archives? Textiles!

What’s in the Archives? Textiles!

Textiles items that can be found in the CLGA collection

Here at the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives, we have a lot of textiles. From Pride banners to hankies, wedding veils to theatre costumes, the depth and breadth of the LGBTQ2+ experience is represented in our collection of woven artifacts. People attach intimate meaning to fabric, whether in the clothes we wear, in community art projects like the AIDS quilt, or in the banners sewn and decorated when we come together to march and create a more equitable future for all people. Fabric is tied to how we experience our bodies and identities in day-to-day life; it is intricately woven into LGBTQ2+ culture, history, and activism. Here are a few of the artifacts in the CLGA’s care that have protected, revealed, and represented LGBTQ2+ people in their performances, activism, and everyday lives.

T-Shirts

t-shrits that are in the CLGA collection

By far the largest collection of textiles at the CLGA is our T-shirt collection. The graphics on these t-shirts are diverse and varied, relating mostly to Pride, bars and businesses, HIV/AIDS activism, and a wide range of community events and organizations. You can come to 34 Isabella to view the entire digitized collection.

Hats

Hats that are a part of the CLGA collection

The CLGA also receives lots of headwear. The bulk of our collection consists of baseball caps that share similar themes and images with our t-shirt collection, but we also have other headpieces ranging from wedding veils to bathhouse-branded sweatbands.

Banners

banners that can be found in the CLGA collection

The CLGA began as a project by activists at The Body Politic, and retains many of the banners that these activists displayed. Most of the banners in our collection belonged to groups demonstrating in favour of LGBTQ2+ rights at Pride and other events all over the country, but we also have less politically-charged banners that belonged to sports teams, unions, and church groups.

Handkerchiefs

Handkerchiefs stored at CLGA

For those in the know, hankies require little explanation. For the rest of us, though, here is a resource that can help explain their significance: https://user.xmission.com/~trevin/hanky.html . Hankies were used as a cruising code back before sex was constantly a swipe of the finger away, and the CLGA has collected quite a few over the years.

Performance Pieces

Performance Piece textiles that are held at the CLGA

We have many costumes in our collection, the bulk of which belonged to drag performers. Of particular note is the habit of one of the Toronto members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a gaggle of irreverent wimple-clad performance activists. Visit their online archive at: http://sistersopitoronto.ca/ . Another item of a more solemn character is a concentration camp prisoner’s costume used in the 1981-82 Montréal production of Bent, a play about the persecution of gays in Nazi Germany. The costumes in the care of the CLGA illustrate the broad affective range of textiles in the LGBTQ2+ community.

All of the material covered in this article is accessible at our 34 Isabella location. However, much of our other material is in off-site holding and an appointment is necessary to retrieve it. To make an appointment, please contact queeries@clga.ca.

Written by: Ben Charlton with assistance from Sydney Gautreau

Please follow and like us:
Facebook
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http://clga.ca/newsfeed/news/whats-archives-textiles/
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CONTACT US


Telephone: 416-777-2755
Email: queeries@clga.ca

Street Address:
34 Isabella Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1N1

Mailing Address:
Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives
P.O. Box 699
663A Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z9

PUBLIC HOURS

CLGA will be closed December 23, 2017 to January 1, 2018. Regular public service hours will resume January 2, 2018.

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

1:00 pm - 5:00 pm Friday

NOTE TO RESEARCHERS:
Some of our materials are stored off site. Before visiting the archives, please send us an email at queeries@clga.ca listing in detail the topics and sources that you wish to consult and we will let you know when they will be available. We aim to respond to email inquiries within 4 business days.

The Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives is located on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Haudenosaunee, the Anishnaabe and the Huron-Wendat. Today, Toronto is still the home to many Indigenous people from across Turtle Island and we are grateful to have the opportunity to work on this land.

The CLGA strives to gather the stories of the unheard and silenced voices of the 2SLGBTQ+ first peoples of this land. We acknowledge that some stories have already been lost, and we aim to ensure that those that remain and those that are to come are preserved for the future.

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