Sunday, 31 January 2010

Even Weave as Metaphor, first thoughts on feminism in textiles

In Thinking Through Craft by Glenn Adamson (p152) it says:
'For Jefferies and other Feminist artists of her generation, the notion of a flexible, evenly dispersed weave has itself come to seem like a model for a more democratic and egalitarian social "fabric" '.

An evenly dispersed weave is a visually pleasing thing, comfortable to touch and be around; potentially a more evenly woven society also offers these sensory pleasures.

(Jefferies refers to Janis Jefferies, an arttst with a particular interest in feminism and fibre)

Friday, 29 January 2010

Animal Ethics update

I have been hearing quite a lot about the meat that is being grown in labs recently.  There have been textile and food rumblings about this for a few years (growing your own leather jacket for example, BBC article about meat from 2005), however the latest thing that I read is that the science involves taking cells from the muscle of a living animal and then growing it in a solution of blood from animal foetuses - if this is an accurate explanation of the process then another ethical question arises here.  Can it be considered ethical to grow meat like this?  I don't like to pit one stance against another like this usually but here goes - is it more or less ethical to eat grown meat than to eat farmed meat?  And thus the questions comes - is it more or less ethical to wear grown leather than farmed leather?  Feasibly leather as a meat-industry by-product could become sparse if we  eat more grown meat, could this lead to demand for grown leather?

Feminism in Textiles

Can textiles be feminist? 

Can they be political beyond the sense of cloth banners with written messages?
There is a lot of debate surrounding appearance and womens rights.  This has started me wondering if cloth has anything to do with these debates, or is it only when transformed into a form that it takes on 'personality' and, as clothing, becomes a discussion point.
Hobbies or skills associated with cloth have many messages:  Originally embroidery was a pastime used to occupy the minds of women in rder to prevent them from getting distracted by sex.  This was then twisted back onto itself by women being seen to do embroidery to show that they had sexual thoughts that they needed distracting from.
The exhibition at the Women's Library in east London at the moment focuses in part on the clothing and craft skills women used during the first and second waves of feminism.  Here now in the third wave, running concurrently with a resurgence in interest in handcrafts, it can be harder to tell what relates to feminism and what doesn't. 

Can cloth be considered gendered at any point?

I will continue on this point later...