|Finishing: a few thoughts as an editorial.||| Print ||
When a piece of hand woven textile is taken of off the loom, that is not the end of the process. Rather it is the end of one set of processes used to bring a raw material from its point of origins as something that came from above the ground (plant or animal) or something from below the ground (Plant, Oil or Mineral) to its next stage, much like a student completing a first stage of post secondary education. The materials processed into yarn which is then woven is then ready to be “Finished” Just as a student who has completed the first stage of post secondary education is finished.
“Textile Finishing is any operation (other than preparation and colouring) that improves the appearance and/or usefulness of fabric after it leaves the loom or knitting machine. Finishing is the final series of operations that produces finished textile fabric from grey goods. Textile finishing usually includes treatments such as scouring, bleaching, dyeing and/or printing, the final mechanical or chemical finishing operations etc.”–
To continue the student as a piece of cloth coming of the loom metaphor, when they have finished school they are “Grey Goods”, what lies ahead is the future. It is this point in time that fibreQUARTERLY has presents some students with an opportunity to show us their grey goods and speak about them. How they decide to do this self-examination is left up to them. How they talk about their education, their institution, their work and their hopes/ vision for the future in the “pages” of this publication gives us a starting place from which to observe. Since 2005, we have featured profiles of graduating students from 10 schools from coast to coast. This year by presenting 6 students from Sheridan’s Class of 2013 we have showcased over 45 students to date. Several of these have gone on to do their MAs and most have been exhibiting in shows or selling their work at craft events and on-line since they have left school. To be able to see the progression in their careers becomes more exciting with their “self portraits as young artist”.
What happens to a textile after it is “finished” is a continuation of its history that is collective rather then isolated. While there is a contemporary romanticised notion of traditionally nomadic goat-herding rug weavers naturally dying their own hand spun yarn as an unbroken continuum of a lifestyle unaffected by politics/war, famine cyclical and man-made climate change going on somewhere along the silk road, it is a naive notion and historically unsupported. There are those eccentric/ unique contemporary individuals who, while not truly nomadic, do in fact involve themselves in the entire process; but they are as rare today as they were historically. Textile production for personal/ family use has never really been a singular occupation, collectively a family could and did cloth itself but production for a market place is a traditional multi-peopled occupation. In this issue I reviewed 'The Sultan's Garden: The Blossoming of Ottoman Art' which I saw at the Textile Museum, Washington, D.C. during the TSA 2012 symposium in September, 2012. It featured textiles from across the Ottoman Empire that traded along the Silk Road into Europe through the Ottoman gateway in an era when nomadic tribes really were goat herding rug weavers who where naturally dying their own hand spun yarn and creating trade goods. (see review)
Today’s multi faceted production and end use of individual textile/ fibre based work being “signed” by makers coming out of both Academic and “manual training” institutions adds to the rich history of textiles -- a history which is neglected as irrelevant to contemporary practice, brushed aside in favour of accepting a position as one of the many art forms practiced today.
For me the history of painting provides a visual documentation of textiles and supports the archaeological record. Given that I was able to see over 180 exhibitions in the past 24 months, it has been difficult to find and follow a single story line since so many things seem to be emerging. Embroidery has an extremely high profile at the moment and is getting broad coverage. I have become very intrigued by the bead work starting to emerge and thinking of a way to talk about it (but that is somewhere in the future). Three dimensional works have been present in almost every show I have seen. The World Threads Festival organizing one exhibition “THREADSpace: Threading the 3rd. Dimension” at the Canadian Sculpture Centre which didn’t really provide a context (other then the venue) that differentiated this work from any of the other three dimensional pieces to be seen through out the other exhibitions in the festival. I have been deeply engaged in seeking out and reading primary source material on the makers and exhibitions of the middle three decades of the twentieth century during which there was a flourish of exciting, experimental and provocative works in fibre and textiles. I though it might be interesting to ask some of the people whose work I saw in 2012 to discuss a comparison between their work and work produced either side of and during the 1960s. Finding the Thread: Contemporary 3 Dimensional Fibre Work.” A story in three parts, it provides a historic context from which to look at contemporary work. I was able to conduct two interviews with artists involved in three dimensional fibre art: Britta Fluevog, who exhibited in exhibition “THREADSpace: Threading the 3rd. Dimension” at the Canadian Sculpture Center in Toronto, and Rachel Mica Weiss who was in Outside/Inside the Box at the Crane Arts Building, Icebox Project Space during Fiber Philadelphia.
If you were looking for my journey on the Velvet Highway in this issue you won't find it here, instead you will find the story of the 10 days i spent in Ottawa at the end of August attending the opening weeks of the second Triennale du Internationale des Arts Textiles Outaouais 2013 you will find it on line in the Surface Design Association's News Blog Textile Travel in Canada: Triennale Outaouais 2013.
This issue contains a story on the change of management and continuation of textile tour company PUCHKA Perú in Ellie Kemp's story "PUCHKA Peru weaves a new pattern". This issues finishes with an article from Italian textile activist Eva Basile on Canadian Andrea Graham’s solo exhibition is currently on at the Spazio DHGArt, in Prato, Italy November 8th - 2013 to January 8th, 2014.
Enjoy the issue
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