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.


This paper will discuss my commitment to the material identity of woven tapestry as an artistic practice and my interest in the handmade as a conceptual strategy and counterpoint to the immediacy and temporal nature of contemporary culture.

Much of the work in the milieu of contemporary fibre is moving away from the handmade object to embrace installation, intervention, digital technology and hybrid approaches to material and process. The discreet material identity of traditional textile processes like woven tapestry seem out of step, bringing into question the value of skill, disciplinarity and the handmade object.

Throughout my practice, skill and the labor of the human hand have been a subtext underlying more overt imagery that might arouse recognition through memory and imagination. Recently, the concept of handwork has become a more dynamic narrative component in my work. I have come to value handwork as a human centered technology that connects the mind and body, evoking sensual connections and a shared experience of making that reaches across history and cultural ideology.

The handmade also represents a shared experience of time. I have explored the concept of time through a number of references: chronological and cyclical time; and the timelessness of dream, myth, and memory. References to time are an important metaphor in my visual language. I am also concerned that the consumption of time in the skillful making of a handmade object be recognized as a kind of time-based narrative and valued as content and conscious intent.