Connections I

a good conversation from #SeptTextileLove 2020

When the thoughts and images from individual participants for a #SeptTextileLove prompt are read together, conversations are created across the hashtag. I loved our conversation about connections on Day 17 of the #SeptTextileLove Instagram challenge. It was so varied and wide-ranging; the participants highlighted so many different aspects of connections in textiles, from the very personal to world-wide.

“…I feel connections are central to textiles and life…” @annaliversidgeartist

To make the ephemeral a little more permanent, I have brought our conversation together, letting the participants speak without interruption.

Connections are everywhere; places; people; events along life’s path. It is the thread of life that connects us to our past and into our future…” @christinerollitt

Which connections and where?

The conversation starts from some of our smallest connections, the neurons in our brain; through to the hand and touch; to materiality, textile processes and practice; family; friends; textile groups; collaboration and community; place, world and environment; and finally, to history.

“Which connection to focus on? The connection between the land, the sheep, the farmer, the wool, the spinner, the dyer, the local yarn store, the maker? Or more focused, the connection between each stitch, the space they take up and the gaps left? The connection between the stitches coming together to make a finished item? The haptic connection between the maker and the making? It’s all connected.” @isla_design

The Brain

“In connecting thread to fabric, thoughts are made visible. Maybe philosophical or political ideas, maybe impulsive, funny or sentimental thoughts or maybe technical thoughts.” @goedesier2015

“I frequently use motifs and symbols to connect my work with a theme or message.” @helenmacritchie

The Hand and Touch

“I can’t wait till people can touch my work again! I’m really missing all the connections I normally make as people interact with my knitted and stitched soft sculptures and my participatory installations. I absolutely love seeing people connecting with my work in so many different ways and the range of responses is wonderful.” @loubakerartist

Materiality, Process and Practice

“We use pins to connect fabrics before stitching, we use zips to connect and fasten openings and labels connect to identify and link people, things and places. Some connections are temporary others permanent.” @clairebtex

“The process of selecting fabric, dyeing it , arranging it, thinking of perspective, colours and textures, let alone trying to reproduce a likeness… is all so worthwhile when a viewer, appreciates the work and makes an emotional connection with the image.” @sylviesew

“A new commission is on the table and it’s a real tribute to technology.

The customers live at either end of the country so between email, WhatsApp, post and video call we have discussed ideas, deliberated preferences, sent precious fabric, shared samples, sourced fabrics and agreed a plan. Living and working with the new normal – Covid Connections.” @mrs_marvellous

“Thanks to the books on my shelves, I can connect with other weavers, dyers, spinners, basket makers, braid makers, and more. I can make connections between techniques and between ideas. I can weave my own knowledge, my personal blend of experience, luck, chance and know how.” @petitchenefibers

Thinking further about connections

These are some of my questions from the conversation:

  • Is everything connected? What isn’t connected? Could we ever see or experience all connections in the same moment?
  • Is making about connecting? Both physical connections of hand to cloth, or yarn to cloth etc., and abstract or intangible connections between thoughts, feelings, techniques etc.
  • How best can I use textile connections as a metaphor for intangible connections?

Thank you to everyone who participated in our #SeptTextileLove conversation. I have included thoughts on connections from as many textilers as possible.

Read the next (connected) instalment to see how textiles can create personal connections between family; friends; textile groups; collaboration and community.

Penny Wheeler

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