Textile Society of America


Date of this Version



Crosscurrents: Land, Labor, and the Port. Textile Society of America's 15th Biennial Symposium. Savannah. GA. October 19-23. 2016.


Copyright 2016 by Janis Jefferies and Barbara Layne.


In a changing world everyone crafts, designs and engages in making: each individual person and each collective subject, from communities to cities and regions, can define and enhance a life project. We are witnessing an unprecedented wave of social innovations, sometimes using technology and sometimes not. As these changes unfold, an expansive open set of process and practices in which new solutions are suggested and new meanings are created. Most revolutions are about energetic movement and upheavals; even if ideas take a while to become ideologies, we don’t think of them as slow events. But the phrase also makes us think of an insistent, evenly paced, circular movement of the ‘what-goes-around-comes around’ variety which is about making connections, something that forms the basis of an on going collaboration between Janis Jefferies (London, UK) and Barbara Layne (Montreal, Canada). Collaboration, making and researching take time, and embody transformation. We have told ourselves many stories over the years about textiles as we have delved into archives exploring how we might transform our enchantment with cloth into newer forms of craft based technologies. Immersed in social innovation, all of our work is in one sense ‘crafted’ through time, which is what makes it so compelling. But, it is also made in the context of an interchange/exchange i.e. a conversation between us and others (the sewer, the PhD student, the technologist) who tell us stories of their own crafted experiences. This paper draws together 20 years of reflective, interdisciplinary practice, focusing on The Enchantment of Cloth (2014-2017), the archives and objects, and the teams who have come together in the performance of this research.