Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Presented at “Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space,” Textile Society of America 12th Biennial Symposium, Lincoln, Nebraska, October 6-9, 2010. Copyright 2010 Textile Society of America.


As a tapestry weaver, spinner, and dyer, I cherish the handmade. But, as a full-fledged member of the electronic age, I realize that the haptic has had a hard time maintaining its status. My Future Reliquary Series is an attempt to reconcile three apparently separate but, in my mind, connected histories: weaving, computing, and religion.

Weaving is a binary system of up/down, just as computing is a binary system of on/off. The first computer was a jacquard loom, complete with punch cards. The process of mechanization removed the human hand from weaving. In an analogous manner, today’s computers have introduced a concept of thinking which seems to supersede the mind. Technology has become a form of religion.

Some years ago, I took a computer apart to recycle the plastic shell. What treasures were revealed within! I saved the innards, relics of the new saints of the connected society, symbols of the newly formed religion of technology. My Future Reliquary Series grew out of that fascination. The tapestries are a commentary on the status of today’s e-junk, read through the codes and patterns of ancient, and ethnic textiles. As with other weavers, both past and present, I weave by hand, recording personal stories, personal faith, and personal culture in patterned cloth. The binary code of up/down that defines my woven images parallels the computer codes that offer us the opportunity to tell complex stories in text. Both will be deciphered by the future.