Sunday, May 2, 2010


Or something like it. In case you're wondering what's doing my head in regarding weaving, weavers and exhibitions, here it is.

1) In New Zealand, there are very few places where weavers can exhibit their work.

Indeed very few, outside a) weaving guilds/groups; as much as I like weavers, particularly my group because it's the best in the nation, these are still mutual admiration societies, ergo exhibitions have a distinct feel of preaching to the choir, sometimes to the choirmasters, OR b) solo exhibitions, or independently-organized group exhibitions.

2) In New Zealand, for as long as I've been involved in weaving, the craft is most often seen as something "my grandmother used to do, with handspun, natural wool. By the way, do you know someone who would like a loom, because if we can't get rid of it, it's firewood this winter." I feel the public perception of the craft, on the whole, is stuck in the 1970's and 80's, from the responses I receive.

3) On the other hand, other textiles crafts such as felting, dyeing and embroidery, both hand- and machine-, are enjoying a resurgence/re-recognition and can be seen outside Guild/group exhibitions, particularly in textile/fiber art or contemporary art exhibitions. And I must say, sometimes, even if they're not well-done.

4) Ergo my quest for concepts, because I've been told repeatedly that's what elevates the humble craft into art, and inquiry into how to get our humble handwoven cloths into textile/fiber art exhibitions, preferably sans the layers upon layers of embellishments, to make them something other/"more" than the handwoven cloth.

There are, sometimes, reasons for my mad ranting. Though I can do a good rant without reasons, too.


  1. I think part of the problem is the delicacy of textiles, and the (admittedly necessary) no touch policy of gallerys. Un-embelished cloth (un -shaped -starched -tortured -hung and unstretched, for that matter) is best enjoyed in the hands. I'm picturing a 3' deep pit in the middle of the floor full of lengths cloth that people can just roll around in, like little children play in those enclosures of lightweight plastic balls.

  2. Gee, I LOVE that hole idea! How fantastic.

    I agree with you, and that is why I don't put up "don't touch" signs and if I'm there I encourage them to touch. And folks are quite surprised at the weight, the hand, and that even my delicate-looking structures can be shaken around and handled and won't come apart.

    Un-tortured cloth. Exactly!


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