I’ve written and re-written this journal entry at least 20 times.
What is it that Gandhi said?
Actions express priorities
In the last few months I’ve felt the truth of his words. I have also come to understand a corollary…I choose my actions thereby consciously or subconsciously set my priorities. Of all the things on my to-do list, which ones do I do first? Which ones regularly get pushed to the bottom of the list? As much as I need to choose to do the things that make my home and my family stay one smile shy of insanity, I also need to choose to do the things that continue to propel me to be who I want to be and if at all possible, contribute to a world in which I want to inhabit.
This has led me back to this space.
But before I was here, I was somewhere else. If you’ve followed me on Instagram or visited this website, you know that I spent many years as a textile conservator working with a wide array of museum collections both in the US and the UK. I am so grateful for my education and experiences in this realm. I have studied, handled, researched and written about exquisite textiles from all over the world. I developed my eye, handskills, technical expertise and scientific and historical understanding of textiles. And I honed those more slippery skills—those less tangible skills that allow me to look at a textile and have a visceral reaction that something is a bit off. The more tangible skills provide the information, the facts, that are useful in expressing that visceral reaction and sharing it with others.
I’ve seen exquisite costume and textiles made for kings, queens, popes, and other elites of society. They are each breathtaking and intriguing. They are examples of what is possible, even if that level of craftsmanship and design are seemingly unattainable today.
But I’ve also seen more humble garments and textiles—those that are too worn to warrant display but whose creases, stains, and mending bear witness of no less a life. Exactly what makes them less eye-catching can be the clues that when linked together form a compelling narrative or object biography.
My purpose is not to elevate one textile over another. Rather, I seek the human element in textiles—the people who made them, the people who used them. The history of textiles is inextricably linked to the long arc of humanity. Textiles reach into the crevices of our lives and hold memories in their very fibers—adapting, adjusting, reinventing. In this place, I hope to share stories of these human interactions and object biographies both as a maker and a student of textile history and techniques. Mostly I would like to share what I can with anyone who is open to learn and the learn from anyone who is willing to share.
This is where I choose to place my energy. This is my call of action to myself. Well…it’s a start.