There have been some terrific comments and thoughts generated by the idea of Slow Cloth and Sharon B.'s always-inspiring dialogue on In A Minute Ago. I will pull together a blogroll soon with links to everyone who has commented here, as well.
The idea of Slow Cloth is something I've been tinkering with for quite some time, and in many ways my thoughts are inspired by the Slow Food movement, which has grown as an alternative to industrialized "fast" food. If you're not familiar with their organization, it might be fun to visit their site. They have chapter, or what they call conviviums, all over the world.
Slow Cloth, as I imagine it, is indeed a movement (and possibly even an organization) and isn't about hand vs. machine, or even the time it takes to complete a project or a piece of art. It has more to do with identifying, protecting, and sharing/teaching about the world's incredibly rich textile heritage, whether techniques are executed traditionally or by contemporary artists in new ways.
The idea of craftsmanship and artisanship is absolutely part of this. A Slow Food chef uses ingredients that have a story and a heritage, but can use them to make a new dish. Similarly, for me, a Slow Cloth artist has a knowledge and skill base that respects traditional craft techniques, whether it's shibori dyeing or quilting or embroidery. But the results can be traditional or new. So in my mind, both a traditional quilt and an art quilt and even a fabric postcard can all be Slow Cloth. It's more about intention, approach, quality, and a sense of connection.
People who are only interested in kits or quickie projects are on a different path, I think, and it's valid for them -- there really isn't ever anything wrong with making something yourself, and it can lead to more.
There is also a Slow Fashion concept arising in the fashion industry; as I understand it, it takes a design approach that is less dependent on rapidly changing trends and colors and styles intended to make everything in your closet obsolete every season, and is also more about quality, sustainability, and thoughtfulness in design and materials.
These are just my ideas, of course, and they are most certainly changing and evolving. Thank you to everyone who thinks this is an interesting and worthwhile dialogue. Keep the comments coming and stay tuned!
Does everyone out there know about Selvedge magazine? I am in love, love, love with this magazine. It is textile and visual heaven. Subscriptions are expensive from the U.K. but I think it's worth it. And I've just learned about Linda and Laura Kemshall's Thr3Fold Journal, and am ordering their book, The Painted Quilt.
Another amazing book for your Slow Cloth library is Quilt Artistry: Inspired Designs From The East, by Yoshiko Jinzenji. Yoshiko also has a line of fabrics that you can read about and order via Purl Bee, the wonderful blog from Purl Soho.