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October 18, 2010


thanks for the review -- I look forward to following some of the links.

as a 'lapsed feminist' I want to point out the obvious -- if men quilted in the numbers that women do, it would ALREADY be held out as high art (and not merely emerging or controversially so).

I call the members of one of my circles(I am not excluded here): The Fat White Hairs. I guess that says a lot about the absence of diversity.

I visited the library recently and saw the latest issue of Handwoven. Congrats on receiving such unconditional recognition for your concept of Slow Cloth!

on diversity: a few weeks ago i had the pleasure of working with a textilegroup in Italy. There was this 25 year old guy from NY who flew all the way to Europe to join. He was a great felter and knew all about natural dyes. There were people from all over the world and most of them where young.

Just wanted to point out that the Fashioning Felt show was at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, not the Cooper Union.

Thank you for sharing your experience at the symposium. It sounds fascinating.
Re: diversity. I have attended quite a few Maiwa symposia and workshops. The participants are mostly well-to-do middle-aged white women with a few younger women and the very occasional man mixed in. I do think cost and available leisure time are factors in the lack of diversity. The irony is most apparent when the speaker or workshop leader is of an indigenous group faced with a near extinction of their culture or textile tradition - and it seems that these privileged North American women are among the last receivers of their knowledge.

interesting to hear all the goings on at the symposium. thanks for the write-up.
a couple of things i wondered after reading it- how many attended and what was the cost to attend? if you flew in and had hotel costs to cover in addition to membership and registration fees, this alone cuts down on the diversity of those able to attend something like this. simply something most 20-30 year old's can't manage financially let alone the time away from work and/or family.
yes, diversity is a great concern in terms of sustaining any group. this same concern exists in the quilt and sewing markets. just look around at any quilt or sewing show. almost exclusively women, mostly over 40 with the majority being over 50. how to change this? i really don't know, but something tells me it has to start with education- and presenting the possibilities of careers in the arts. treating the arts as a profession rather than a hobby.
i like the idea of connecting the arts to science and agriculture.
all of this takes enormous amounts of time, patience, and persistence...
i've got to go now- i hear some shibori ribbon calling me back to my reality of sustainability!
glad you were able to go and report back and that it has perhaps sparked some possible directions for you.

Your review is the second very positive review of the conference I've read. Sounds like a very good job was done by the organizers and presenters.
And hoorah for Lincoln... my MFA alma mater!
Sometimes the challenge to increasing diversity is not changing the internal but the external. I think this is partly the challenge in textiles.
I work in theatre and dance education. It'd be great to have more male students, in dance especially. We would welcome them gladly! But there is an external perception... a societal pressure... that keeps them from considering it an acceptable vocation/avocation.
It's sort of a circular dilemma. The more diversity in an area the more a diverse population is comfortable joining in. The less diverse... the less joining.
How to break that cycle?

I think the diversity of a group is often controlled by the group itself, which forms an identity through the initial members. I think it is quite difficult to change without changing the culture that surrounds it. Also, sadly, the youth of today has been forced into extreme "make a living mode" due to the extreme financial stress this current world situation offers them. Thanks for the review.

Wow, thankyou for the Textile Symposium Society recap, so much to follow thru on and so many ideas to slowly absorb. Unfortunately some of the links didn't work tho. k.

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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