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January 13, 2008


Thank you Catherine! My to-do list includes making this list into a beautiful jpg/poster that people can share. Thank you so much for your kind words.

Thank you so much for posting this. I recently gave a talk about quilting to a group at my workplace. They were all very excited and interested but had two recurring questions "How long does it take to make a quilt?" and "How do you find the time?". My answer was that if you love the process, you don't calculate how long it takes and if you can find time to watch TV, you have time to quilt but now I think I would give them copies of your 10 Qualities instead. It explains it so precisely and elegantly and mirrors what I have been feeling for years. I work fulltime but quilting is my creative outlet, my playground, my social space and it expands and I have worked on gaining a mastery that is meaningful to me. You list is very afrirming.

Hello Elaine, what a beautiful and obvious parallel to slow food - which I admire as movement. How can we contribute essays to this forum? I imagine women the world over being validated for sticking to preferring their native cloth-ing, such as the "average" Tansanien women who know how to tie-dye cotton yardage for (her) apparel, or the indigenous Guatemalteka who back-strap weaves, while being also interested in computers! With dignity they wear their (luxurious) fashion that took many hours of ikat dyeing, warping, weaving. I propose that time-limits be erased in which "work was completed" prior to submission into art/craft shows. I took (not "it took me") 18 years from start to finish to complete two hand-woven, then painted and embroidered coats. By current submission standards, they are disqualified. Slow cloth, slow anything invites us to honor the journey and consciously create and elaborate on works in progress. thank you for initiating this. L.A.

Great post, I thank you for sharing,you said it all about slow cloth.

I totally agree. You've written so good a description of what I aim for in my work and what I look for in the work of textile designers I admire and keep track of. In fact, it's so good a description that I may well print it out and hang it on the wall of my studio (when I next have one) (giving you credit, of course).

Now I understand why I was compelled to spin, knit, and sew. I always understood that I needed a tactile connection to the objects I used. I always felt that everyday objects should be things of beauty. But I struggled and could not explain why I had to spend so much time and money when I could purchase even more beautiful things for less. Like a child who creates just to create, it was the process that compels me. Carding the fleece, spinning the yarn, watching the colors from natural products give it new life, creating patterns and shapes, and then wrapping myself or someone I love in the crude garment that embodies all my thoughts and feelings and those of past generations of knitters. Thank you.

i've seen this term "slow cloth" a few times within the last few days. a fellow blogger recently asked me if a doll quilt that i was working on was a "slow cloth" and then it popped up again in a later visit within another blog. so i've googled it and landed here . . . love the interenet for just that purpose~!~

i think i will have to add you to my sidebar and make this a regular stop within my blogging world as we definately have similar ideas about the process of creating.

when i put my own hand stitches into a quilt i often think about the various thoughts that are being or have been incorporated into the work . . . regarding the purpose of the work (if there is one), the events happining within my own life and the world, feelings, musings, meditations, etc. i can often revisit a finished piece of handwork (as well as other artwork)and relate intimate memories and happenings that were in progress at the time the piece was being created. often i myself am not even aware of just how much is contained within until i return to the piece. i tell others (if i feel that they are interested in hearing it) that this is the "spirit" that has been breathed/stitched/woven/CREATED into the piece.
i've discovered that this idea also translates into my newest creative "baby"; photography. when i'm truly immersed in the moment while shooting i find that those photos are the ones that are special to me. the ones that will invoke a response via emotion and memory (in myself and others) long after i've snapped the shot.

interestingly i have just recently picked up a book called Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbera Kingsolver which seems to be very much related to the "slow food" idea . . . still working my way through the book but it's already impacting my life and how i think about what i eat and where it comes from.

yes, maybe i just live a "slow life" . . . and recently this has been a serious concern of mine as it seems to mean (for me) that recordeable progress is quite slow sometimes. i often feel that many of the people and artists that i admire have prolific work habits and results and i am left choking in their dust . . . i'm beginning to realize that this slow way of working could be a good thing and part of my own artistic process and possibly worth embracing . . .

i am so very glad that i have stopped here and had a chance to mull these ideas over a bit more. thank you for sharing your "slow cloth" definition. i may very well have to do a future post on my own blog regarding the importance of process over product and what it means to me in particular . . . certainly i have lots to think about and fresh ways to think. if/when i do i'll be sure to link back to you as a valuable resource into the whole idea.


Where's the group for us that are *literally slow*?

I'm all for the joy of this

thank you for this. My profession is storytelling, and this manifesto relates directly to what i am aiming for in my art, and how I wish to pass it on. I am coming to think that it can be applied to living- a mode of being in this world, and that is the message that is worth passing on. I am very pleased to meet you

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10 Qualities of Slow Cloth, by Elaine Lipson

  • I defined Slow Cloth several years ago on this blog. Read the original post at http://lainie.typepad.com/redthread/2008/01/this-must-be-th-1.html. (Copyright Elaine Lipson 2007-2011; all rights reserved).
  • Joy
    Slow Cloth has the possibility of joy in the process. In other words, the journey matters as much as the destination.
  • Contemplation
    Slow Cloth offers the quality of meditation or contemplation in the process.
  • Skill
    Slow Cloth involves skill and has the possibility of mastery.
  • Diversity
    Slow Cloth acknowledges the rich diversity and multicultural history of textile art.
  • Teaching
    Slow Cloth honors its teachers and lineage even in its most contemporary expressions.
  • Materials
    Slow Cloth is thoughtful in its use of materials and respects their source.
  • Quality
    Slow Cloth artists, designers, crafters and artisans want to make things that last and are well-made.
  • Beauty
    It's in the eye of the beholder, yes, but it's in our nature to reach for beauty and create it where we can.
  • Community
    Slow Cloth supports community by sharing knowledge and respecting relationships.
  • Expression
    Slow Cloth is expressive of individuals and/or cultures. The human creative force is reflected and evident in the work.


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Books and Reports by Elaine Lipson

Selected Articles by Elaine Lipson