Textiles As a Discipline

In your own words, write a definition of ‘textiles’ in its broadest sense. What materials do you consider to be ‘textile’ materials? When is a material not a textile? Can you identify any examples?

Something you can feel. That’s all I equate it too at it’s most simplified term. Textile is something tactile. Something you touch. It is more than fabric, more than cloth. Textiles can be flat or constructed. But when is a material not a textile? I think textiles is something that is made. It is constructed and made up of. Is it just when something is woven, threaded, stitched, knitted together? What is the difference between textiles, fabric and cloth? I would think the word ‘textile’ probably carries the broadest meaning. If textile is anything fabric or cloth based, does that mean that other materials such as plastics, glass, wood, metals are not textile? When looking through the big name dictionaries, they generally point to textiles being something that is made up of a natural or synthetic fibre. I don’t really understand the properties of other materials enough. The word textiles derives from the Latin textus meaning ’tissue, literary style’, from Latin textilis, from text-, meaning ‘woven’.

Maybe textiles is any material that is constructed? Made up of either different fibres mixed and joined together, or the same fibres put together.

I have found myself thinking about the permanence/impermanence of textiles. How what is the longevity of a piece of fabric or cloth?

• In what ways could textiles have stories or narratives attached to them? There is a lot you could think about here, both in terms of the story of or behind the textile and the story potentially told by the textile. Try to give some examples.

Textiles permeate life, like paper does too. Everyone, everybody deals with textiles in some way, no matter where they come from, what their culture is, what values they have.

For instance there are many stories connected to:

Quilts, blankets & rugs


Making bark cloth

Silk Route

Whole cities and communities dedicated and dependent on aspects of textile production. It has brought people together, protected them, given them the freedom to live in less hospitable places. It tells stories of identity.

Typically, as I have sat and written my answers and thoughts to the questions, I end up with even more questions. Love this process! These thoughts feel incomplete, but I think that is partly where I stand right now in my own textiles journey.



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