During the 2005 Conference of Northern California Handweavers at Asilomar (in Pacific Grove, CA), Sara Lamb-sensei suggested that I start a blog as a means to get the word about fiber out there. At the time I was about to enter the graduate program in textiles at San Francisco State University. My life has since been relocated to Sacramento, and I'm currently on leave from SFSU; so now's a perfect time to start a blog. I think that the diary process blog will be a perfect medium instead of my expired website (which I didn't update once in 2 years). Thanks to Sara for suggesting this process.
The text-textile connection. What's that all about? During my senior year in college a hundred years ago, I took a linguistics course and became alive at the study of language and the social implications of language. On a whim several years later, I signed up for a weaving class at the Barnsdall Art Center in Los Angeles. Little did I realize that I would become hooked on textiles. Why am I fascinated by textiles? After all, textiles have such a humble, disposable position in our society. Textiles fascinate me not only because of their power to protect (or expose), but also because of their power to reveal social position and show religious affiliation, to name a few reasons. My love of textiles is similar to my love of language –– both are subtle, yet powerful.
The words “textile” and “text” come from the same root (Latin texere, “to weave, fabricate”). (See footnote 1 for the reference.) One can see examples of this connection through the textile metaphors in English (e.g., "spin a tale," "an interwoven tapestry of blah blah," "what a tangled web we weave," etc. Can you think of any others?
I am primarily a weaver and a dyer, and some of my pieces focus on text, integrating my two passions. On my piece Oh Kuso (2004), I stitched the word “shit” in Japanese on a doorway curtain in an attempt to jolt non-Japanese speakers upon learning the meaning of the script. How could this humble textile have such a foul meaning? (photo by Sarah Wagner) One thing I have to be careful about is not to move myself into a role as a smug commentator. I have also learned about my own role in exoticizing other cultures -- all will be revealed.
Anyway, this is blog is not meant to be a high falutin (sp?) intellectual exercise. It's just meant to get people thinking about text, textiles & process.
Next time I'll post some pictures of the bible piece & other things I'm currently working on.
Comments/thoughts/complaints are welcome.
Bye for now.
1. American Heritage College Dictionary, 3rd Ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1993.