After the meeting today I thought some more about the material culture of our textile work: the specific tools we have and the way in which we use them.
What do they reveal about our values and attitudes? Are they part of the construction of personal identity? Certainly some of my tools are very personal items. Some are survivors from the past, and exhibit their previous owner’s care for things hard come by. Through their patina of use they provide a model of authentic experience that connects me to other textile workers.
As a tapestry weaver, I now use a frame loom that I made so that it could be dismantled for travelling to a course in Italy with Lynne Curran. That frame continues now to be the one I use as for me it is invested with knowledge gained through Lynne’s teaching. Through Lynne’s generosity I acquired an historic vertical loom, once used by Lynne herself and before that by Sax Shaw, one time director of the Edinburgh Tapestry Company. I had not known Sax’s work, but researching his career as an artist has brought me into contact with a body of work and a philosophy of working that has informed my own developing sensibility of what it is to be a weaver. Warping it up became an act of continuity and connection. Learning its codes and language provided essential tools for thought about tapestry weaving and how it has been practised.