Monday, 6 January 2014

Slow cloth

Does anyone understand this "slow cloth" concept?
I've just been reading things on the "slow cloth" fb page  and am somwhat baffled.

Process: 
appropriate time, Well I am a great advocate of appropriate time - why oh why do people want to rush doing something that needs to be done properly?

skill and mastery, I have spent years studying and doing my best to learn from the old master dyers who wrote their work down.

Ethic of quality I definitely go along with, I try oh so hard to make sure that my work is the highest standard I can make it, don't understand how others can sell something that they know is inferior. I do testing on my dyeing, wash and light, I experiment, I do sample dyeing and I reject what is not good or I will put in the sale box with an explanation of why it is there!

Culture
Diversity and multiculturalism, well I work primarily from a UK perspective, I look at what was imported dye wise, when and where from. Then I look at how it can apply to the present. I work with suppliers from wherever is appropriate to a product if I can.

Fostering community not quite sure I get this bit, am I supposed to get everyone in the locality to grow the dyes for me and work with me?

A commitment to teaching. Yep definitely! Have plans in store for even more teaching than I currently do!

Soul
Joy The whole process fills my soul - I love the smells, the textures, the colours, the methods......even the tastes!

Contemplation there is no rushing with natural dyes, you have to allow them to work in their own time to get the most from them, this allows time for contemplation of what is happening, how, whether the colour is what is wanted how to change it........oh so much contemplation!

beauty  what isn't beautiful about working with nature? (even if they are chemicals!)

expression my colours will not be the same as another dyers for many reasons, but they are an expression of MY work!

Materials
Sustainable use of resources I do my best to follow this - I went into getting organic certification for my dyeing and came to the conclusion that my standards are higher than GOTS so I stick to my own, I waste as little as possible and rarely any dyestuff!

Appropriate materials Doesn't this come back to having studied and researched and learnt to do the job properly, thereby knowing that the dye is appropriate, the fibre is appropriate and the mordant is appropriate and that they all work together properly?

Pleasure  Oh yes I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!!!

So am I a slow cloth person then?

I can't say it's something that I want to be, the terminology feels much more negative than positive, it implies that I sit around doing nothing waiting for the colour to happen and that it is shoddy - not well dyed,bright and cheery. I knw that that is not what is meant but it's what it says to me!

I have been working to most of the above since the early 1990's when I started, but suddenly someone comes up with a term and everyone is supposed to buy into it, is that the idea?

 I want to be someone who has done their best to master the historical dyer's skills and pass it on to future generations so that we never again lose these skills, not just someone else who comes under some arty farty terminology! I never went to art college to learn how to waffle and get huge grants for nothing, I just get on with the job!
 

4 comments:

Nic said...

I suspect by looking at the explanations of things that it has appropriated 'slow' from the "SlowFood" movement, which hagan about 20 years ago in Italy as a direct rebellion against fast food, with a focus on well sourced local good quality ingredients. This then moved into "Slow fashion", which from what I understand is a bit of a reaction to disposable sweat-shop-made items.

kathyinozarks said...

excellent post
Kathy

Lainie said...

Hi - I'm Elaine. I created the Slow Cloth concept (years ago - before "slow" became the new "green" and lost all meaning). I maintain the FB page. The Slow Cloth concept is indeed reflective of the original Slow Food ethic created by Carlo Petrini. I think that making beautiful textiles with meaning is what it's about at the core. It's not a checklist you have to check off. If you have time, I suggest reading the paper I presented to the Textile Society - it's pinned at the top of the FB page. You are welcome to contact me with any questions you have. My email is on the FB page and on my blogs and websites. Warm regards to you. ~ Elaine

Rachel Bingham Kessler said...
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