Textile Society of America



Janis Jefferies

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


The Constance Howard Resource and Research Centre in Textiles was founded in 2002. Inspirational textiles teacher, Constance Howard, established the Collection in 1980. Constance joined Goldsmiths as a teacher in 1945 and founded the acclaimed textile courses which closed in 2008. Internationally respected, she remained involved with the College until her death in 2000, when she donated her textiles collection to the College on the basis that it would be stored in perpetuity. . It is important to note that modern, historians have relied – often of necessity – on documentary or visual sources to research textile history. We have explored how tacit knowledge of material and affective relationships can be traced through the words we think with1 with a view to asking: How can our engagement with textile sources extend our knowledge of the past? What can textiles communicate that other sources cannot? This paper looks at Howard’s legacy of innovation in the textiles arts and how contemporary practitioners are delving into archives to re examine stitched based work constructing a dialogue between drawing and stitch, provoking a discussion around ‘translation’ and Jacques Derrida idea of the ‘subjectile'.