How does the materiality of language intersect with the language of fabrics? A subject at the intersection of two such vast fields: that of language, written signs and that of materiality and material textures. Perhaps the most natural starting point would be a brief definition of what is defined by fabric and what defines language.
The fabric is a product in which two distinct sets of threads are woven to form a surface, cloth, cloth, fabric, and the textile techniques that contribute to its realization would be: sewing, making paper, embroidery, felt, quilting, weaving, mounts of beads, macrame, dyeing, knitting / crocheting, clothing design.
Text or writing is the method of preserving words by recording them on a medium, using certain signs or symbols, organized according to a language and communicating as language.
Over time, this text / textile interconnectivity has often emerged as an explicit concern in both literature, visual arts, and the performing arts.
“The potential for women ‘s clothing is endless. Women clothing is the landscape in which this endless, infinite journey takes place. “(Yohji Yamamoto)
Clothing is one of the most eloquent forms in which we encounter textiles. Taking, for example, vintage clothing, however, it gives a “regesture” of the body and emphasizes the need to wear it, rather than just being looked at it to understand its history.
In the clothing of the artist Francoise Hoffman, it combines the play of textures, colors and prints and offers elements of vocabulary and a plastic syntax comparable to those of pigments on a canvas.
Turning our attention to the visual arts, with which textiles have always had a strong relationship, we can recall the creative practice of Bauhaus artist Anni Albers, whose encounter with pre-Columbian textiles inspired her to create a new visual language.
Not all works that have touched on this subject create extraordinary language, requiring attention and much reflection on how the needle stops, opposes reading rhythms, and perhaps, disappoints words somewhat, taking them out of their usual meaning, while others they seem indisputable, completely resistant to verbalization.
There is a structural similarity in this linguistic relationship, both the text and the textiles derive from the texts, (Latin), which means to weave. A quote, a poem or a song is made up of words repeated in a certain order, just as a pattern is made up of visible marks repeated in a certain way. Moreover, the link between text and textiles appears distinct in the case of books or certain documents. Binding a book is not just about making a book stand together; moreover, it is in a way an “articulation of use”, a link that is established between the book and the external environment.
Kaija Rantakari books, mixed media artist and poet.
What do we risk losing in a button world, where the education of attention that should be involved in ‘telling’ is set aside to the detriment of pre-packaged and articulated knowledge? Will we be able to consider the connections between textile sensation and impression and narrative movement? Will we be able to restore the visual encounters imagined by fabrics or folds and to reform stories in the movement that mimics the structures of a literary composition?