FAS: Thinking Textiles

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Textile metaphors abound; we speak of the "worldwide web," "spinning a tale," a "thread of discourse," and a "network of ideas." The word "text" itself derives from the Latin textere, meaning "to weave." The definition of textile art, once securely bound to utility, has given way to a practice based loosely on a constellation of material, technique, and concept. Textile structures pose distinctive physical possibilities and limitations, but more importantly they foster cognitive processes and suggest metaphoric meanings. Building through the interplay of threads and multiple intersection points is inherently a time-consuming and additive process. It builds a cohesive whole from disparate, equal elements. This arrangement offers a blueprint for thinking about interconnectivity, textures, and nonhierarchical structures in linguistic, social, and interpersonal arenas. This course investigates textile sensibilities through readings, discussions, written assignments, and critiques. Specific topics covered include staining, touch, fetish, domesticity, mending, mapping, string, and drapery.