Essays and articles

Here you will find various selected essays and articles.

I am starting with my MA essays which were written as part of my MA coursework and which led to my focus on tactility and the wider use of textiles, especially woven textiles, in the fields of art, science and wellbeing.  The more I talk and correspond with weavers, artists and scientists/researchers from different fields (geology, medical, psychology, physics) worldwide, the more important the role I perceive for our skills and knowledge in textiles and tactile cognisance, in making, in planning, in collaborating across disciplines within textiles and also across genres and disciplines in the wider world.  It is an exciting time with the rapid speed of change in technology, including textile technology and electronics, but also in the world of chemistry, physics, and biology, whether human, flora or fauna.  The impact of textiles on our environment and our ecology is ever more highlighted and urgent.  Dyeing and fibre production, water use, intensive farming of fibre crops, ecological alternatives, recycling, all are important elements to consider for all textiles practitioners and alternatives that assist or benefit the environment are necessary for us all as on-going research.

I hope you enjoy the essays and articles which I will contribute from time to time, starting with my first MA essay in 2011, Weaving in the field of Sciencewhich looked at the practice of two weavers who have inspired me for many years – Philippa Brock (UK) and Lia Cook (US).

The second essay, which was written in 2012, Form, function, philosophy: what is the role of textiles in a post-industrial world? looks broadly at the field of textiles, examining different practitioners and their approach to textiles.  These diverse approaches include those of Anni Albers, Amish and Gee’s Bend quilts, Grayson Perry, Freddie Robbins, Tracy Emin, Susie MacMurray, Jun-ichi Arai, Ethel Mairet, sub-Tela, Machiko Agano, and cultural observers and critics.

The third essay, which was my dissertation piece, was unusually restricted to 2000 words, which makes things much harder than the larger word count normally used for dissertations, as you have to convey the essence of your discussion using only the most appropriate language.  It was a challenge!  Textile Art: a tactile interface in a digital world looked at four specific artists, Ann Hamilton, Ernesto Neto, Rosalyn Driscoll and Lia Cook with the specific aim of looking at how their work engages with their audience in very physical and impactful ways.  Each has a different approach, yet with each, the audience is greatly enriched by the interaction with the art.  This is an element that is really important to me.

NB  There is a Corrections and Additions page which I recommend you look at prior to reading the article.  There are several internet links in the original document that no longer work in 2019 and I decided it would not be appropriate to re-write the piece, so please take the time to look at the Corrections and Additions to get up-to-date information.  Ann Hamilton, Rosalyn Driscoll and Lia Cook have kindly given their permission for this late publishing of the piece.

In addition I have added a page for an Annotated Bibliography as I have had enquiries from people about certain references I quoted.  I hope you find the books in the bibliography as interesting as I did.  Many of them are now in my own personal library (MAs can cost a lot of money!!) and it is fabulous to go back to read them again without the pressure of time.