Thursday, 13 May 2010

Slow Textiles Conference - Stroud International Textiles Festival

I have been using today as a rest and catch-up after a busy week. Last weekend I went to Stroud International Textiles Festival specially for the two- day Slow Textiles Conference. The event included several speakers that I have been interested in for some time; Becky Early, Clara Vuletich and the chair Helen Carnac. It was a brilliant opportunity to hear from people at the forefront of environmental awareness in textiles and the slow movement.

I found the lecture by Emma Neuberg especially thought provoking as it delved deeper into global, social and personal contexts for 'fast' and 'slow'. I was surprised to find myself quite emotional about this. I shouldn't have been surprised as the subject runs so deep in our capitalist consumer culture and affects us as all. Patterns of behaviour and social norms are so ingrained that we stop noticing.

A few words from the conference on slow:

cultural distinctiveness
taking responsibility
passing on
eco systems
time for reflection

When I think about all of this I realise it brings me back to where I started at the beginning of my MA (in a good way). A brief recap will draw some connections with my research over the past year and half, and the fast / slow subject:

  • I started out with a whole muddle of different ideas that seemed connected but struggled to work out  how...
  • then from this developed two distinct themes: busyness and quietude
  • these themes of quietude and busyness represented my personal response to environment - speed of living; proliferation of image and object; over-stimulation; becoming de-sensitised; longing for space and time for reflection; looking for deeper engagement with the world
  • I can now see these themes as closely aligned to ideas of 'fast' and 'slow'
  • I have also been looking at particularity of place and feelings of home, belonging and displacement
  • Some of this needs to be re-instated in my work - meaning, depth of engagement, sharing, personal wellbeing, connectedness, etc.
  • My recent exploration of Hirst Wood as a specific focus for my work has given me the time and space I needed to reflect and 'open out'.  Perhaps I have forgotten this and become too wrapped up in the process of making?
  • The use of hand processes and materials found in situ has helped me feel more connected to my surroundings and given me a place to belong
There is a lot to draw out from this and I am only just beginning to realise the significance all this has for me. I have a lot more to do in understanding how to put this into practice.


  1. interesting train of thoughts
    for me
    the process is the art, the work if you like
    the thing that remains at the end
    and sometimes finds its way to a gallery wall
    is merely the evidence
    the proof
    that i have been working....

  2. Having just written up my own reflections on this conference I share your feelings about Emma Neuberg's presentation. I don't think you were the only one affected by what she said . . . although I was a little reticent about all the personal stuff 3 out of the 4 speakers blended into their presentations it is, I think, a characteristic of the Slow Movement that a narrative of the making process can and does become part of the artefact. I wrote to Emma after the conference asking her for her slides (they had so much text on them!). She responded most positively, but needs to cut the file size down a bit before making them available!

  3. Hi Just visiting all the blogs about the festival at the moment to let you know about its appeal.

    URGENT APPEAL – STROUD INTERNATIONAL TEXTILES & ANNUAL FESTIVAL UNDER THREAT OF CLOSURE - please visit the facebook group!/topic.php?uid=110708272314957&topic=17

    Thanks for your time



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