Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Published in Textile Society of America 2014 Biennial Symposium Proceedings: New Directions: Examining the Past, Creating the Future, Los Angeles, California, September 10–14, 2014,


Copyright 2014 by the author(s).


This paper focuses upon means and ways in which knowledge gained through textile practice can be expressed using language and imagery drawn from within that practice itself. In this it draws upon Žcriture feminine to develop a matrix of knowledge upon and within which text and textile intertwine. Here cloth and stitch are considered as co-agents for a disorderly text that dissolves boundaries between theoretical and practice-based concerns through a process that Bracha Ettinger refers to as ‘borderswerving’ (Ettinger 2006). In this paper such disorderly text or working in and through body, cloth and stitch, will be addressed through three points for departure: folding, fraying and seaming. Folding offers a focus upon ways in which the communication of tacit knowledge within practice initiates and generates new understandings and expressions of that tacit knowledge. The concept of fraying or frayage will be considered in terms of breaking down resistance at the edge, enabling a porosity between practice-based and theoretical perspectives. Seaming will consider how the processes of making can act as agency for written and aural modes of communication. The material processes of seaming suggest a generative and communicative conceptual-material model. These three models offer a materialisation and matrixiation of Barthes ‘Text means Tissue’ (1973, p.64), suggesting that the material activities of writing textile and making text are allied and intertwined modes of knowledge-generation. Such a disorderly text offers a space for tacit and communicable knowledge and meaning to mingle. Cited Texts Barthes, R., 1973. The Pleasure of the Text, New York: Hill and Wang. Ettinger, B., 2006. The Matrixial Borderspace, Minneapolis, Minn: University of Minnesota Press.