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February 05, 2008


Although I also like the concept of authenticity, I agree with Laurie and Paula that there is just something about "slow cloth" that captures what we're trying to get at. Integrity, authenticity, excellence in craftsmanship, community, all of these and more are encompassed (again, like slow food). There's probably no perfect term, but I'm still liking slow cloth, even as I debate over whether to machine or handstitch a quilt I'm starting.
Sometimes I think it has to do with how and by whom the piece will be used. Yet it should always be done authentically. Keep working on this and keeping us talking about it!

I agree with Laurie - slow does imply a focus on time. As with the slow food movement -people think it is about how long it takes to cook - not that it was 'slow food' opposed to 'fast food'. perhaps if instead of 'fast food' they used 'junk food' the slow food movement would have been called 'authetic food' - in some ways it is just semantics, but semantics can be important. I dont think it is as important what it is called, as long as the message gets out there.... even though a lot of people misinterpreted sharonb's initial post about your blog- it got a lot of people writing and talking and thinking, and thats a good thing - at least some of these people 'got it'.keep up the good work!

I love the idea of Slow Cloth, but you're right that the words imply a focus on time. I try to explain it at Slow Food tables all the time.

It's a little hard for me to exercise patience with the folks whose first question about my work is "how long did it take you?" My answers vary, but the truth is that time is the last thing on my mind if I am in my creative zone. My general answer is along the lines of XX years (whatever my age is) but if I'm not in the mood to come back to the question, "No, seriously. How long?" I make something up.

It's not that I don't realize the importance of time to artists who "do" art for a living, but it's not important to me and it gets in the way if I begin to pay attention to it.

On the other hand, a button sewn on a tea bag could take five minutes and be fabulous.

Yes, authentic cloth. But the words "Slow Cloth" are so attractive!

Authentic cloth... yes, you somehow seem able to express thoughts that ring true with others wondering... and in my case struggling to put into words our thoughts on 'slow cloth'... thank you

I like authentic cloth...it seems to better encapsulate what it is you seem to be focusing on... it somehow seems more positive than slow cloth, even though I agree that speed is part of our problem both individually and as a species/culture. Wishing you all the best on your journey.

I have personally be resonating with the word thoughtful as of late...

it is interesting how you are finding a path to further shed light on this slow cloth subject. authenticity implies a reality that i like. i too have been questioning what exactly it is that defines how i distinguish the value of a process. as always thank you for your thoughts and links!

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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