The plying of animal or plant fibers to create thread with a spindle and its interweaving as warp and weft on a loom to produce cloth are among the oldest technologies known to humankind. What fascinates me as much as the remote origins of weaving – both a process and a material dating to the furthest reaches of our past – is the remarkable fact that its binary mechanics have remained unchanged throughout its epic journey to the present, manifesting a seamless continuum of creation and innovation built upon an essential structure of ones and zeros. I have long marveled at the manifold capacities of cloth and its generosity as a functional and expressive material; something so impressively touched by time, and so fundamental to human experience.
This blog is dedicated to exploring the primacy of textiles and narrative threads through time and place. By looking closely we can start by reading a textile itself as it openly reveals its inherent physical structure and the maker’s hand to our observant gaze. The language of textiles further expands our peripheries of perception to encompass a deeper understanding of cultural identities, aesthetics, and systems of belief. A mirror of its social zeitgeist and industrial development, a textile’s moment in time contributes to the world of broader ideas.
Textiles in Context is a framework for me to look closely, learn more, share my process, and invite your participation. To that end, we all profit by the extensive resource that makes this blog possible: the David & Roberta Logie Department of Textiles and Fashion Arts at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts, stewarding one of the most significant encyclopedic collections in the world.