Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



In Approaching Textiles, Varying Viewpoints: Proceedings of the Seventh Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 2000


Copyright © 2000 by the author(s).


In order to explore 'nature as code', I will look first at the complexities involved in naming and defining "nature" and the assumptions that have historically associated women with nature. I will focus on historical gardens and floral patterns in textiles as cultural constructs of nature. Specifically I will focus on the differences between French formal gardens of the seventeenth century and the picturesque and naturalist English gardens of the eighteenth century. I will examine how these gardens are reflected in textile designs that use floral motifs. Finally, I hope to provide some explanation of the influences of industrial and technological innovations.

Much has been written about women painting flowers, as well as the representation of flowers and their symbolism, so I will not reiterate it here. My interest is to explore representations and codes of meaning, as a language of interpretation, to be examined, in order to uncover that which is hidden in cultural forms and images.

I work in textiles with a specific interest in how textiles function as objects through their historical, social and cultural associations. To this effect, I have altered or deconstructed men's suits by removing threads selectively. I have also constructed women's dresses that are based on nineteenth century dress patterns by using aluminum flashing. Floral designs used in women's dresses and in fabrics for the home such as upholstery and curtains are my most recent area of research. The images will show how the more ordinary and innocuous aspects of textiles influence my approach to textiles.