Video From LIVE FEEDBACK FRIDAY: Elena Phipps

This week’s FEEDBACK FRIDAY was with Elena Phipps whose talk focused on the art history of cochineal. It also broke all of our FEEDBACK FRIDAY records with 516 RSVPS? Go Elena!

Watch the video recording here:

Elena’s presentation traced the origins of this special red color in the Americas and its role in global trade from the 16th century. during her extensive time at the Metropolitan Museum which she says “allowed her to develop a broad view of the range of textiles that had been dyed with cochineal, and working with scientists at the museum, we were able to test examples from historic textiles to concretely track its presence from Precolumbian cultures of the Andes to Europe, China and the Middle East.

Shop our cochineal (on sale this week) here.


Elena Phipps, has her PhD from Columbia University in Precolumbian Art History and Archaeology and worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for 34 years as a textile conservator as well as a curator for two major textile exhibitions: The Colonial Andes: Tapestries and Silverwork 1430-1830, in 2004 (whose catalogue was awarded the CAA Alfred Barr Jr. Award and the Mitchell Prize) and The Interwoven Globe: Worldwide Textile Trade (2013). She has focused her professional work on the study of the history of textile materials and techniques, in cultural contexts. Her publications include Cochineal Red: The Art History of a Color and Looking at Textiles: A Guide to Technical Terms, (2011) as well as many articles on materiality and textiles. Her most recent Woven Brilliance: Approaching Color in Andean Textile Traditions was in the Textile Museum Journal.

She was President (2011-2014) of the Textile Society of America, and teaches textile history, techniques and cultures in the Department of World Arts and Culture/Dance at UCLA since 2011.

Next week: Ethnobotany + Natural Dyes (People, Plants, and Color) with Deepa Preeti Natarajan.

RSVP here.
Deepa has been the Program Coordinator for the University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley for the past 15 years having the unique opportunity to transform her love of plants into a year-round series of classes, workshops, exhibits, tours, and events. Along this journey she developed a passion for natural dyes and sustainable fashion and was introduced to the field of ethnobotany. In 2018 she traveled to England to pursue a master’s degree in ethnobotany from the University of Kent in association with the  Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Her interdisciplinary interests span a variety of ethnobotanical topics from medicinal, dye, ritual, and food plants, to knowledge systems, phytochemistry, and transnationality.
Find her work at Plantspeople and on the Botanical Garden at Berkeley.


If you are not familiar with FEEDBACK FRIDAY, every week, we speak with dyers, artists, scientists and scholars about our favorite topic, natural dyeing and color. Curated by Amy DuFault, Botanical Colors’ Sustainability and Social Media Director and presented by Botanical Colors’ Founder Kathy Hattori.