Weaving as Performance Art, Revisited

A couple of weeks ago, spurred on by stories of "yarn bombers," I asked you all for examples of handweaving as a performance art. Several of you commented on Weaving Today, and I was pleased to be reminded that weavers were pioneers in performance art. Since the 18th century, maypole dancers have performed public acts of interlacement to the approval of springtime celebrants. Several of you responded with your own public weaving performances. Judi shared a picture of herself weaving a giant American flag, and Saoriweaver shared a public project to weave a "blossom banner" sent to comfort the people of Sendai, Japan. Another reader builds community with a group exercise called "the human loom."


ZannCarter commended the work of artist Anne Wilson, who actively incorporates weaving with collaborative performance. My favorite of her pieces is Local Industry, a project intended to investigate the global crisis of production and skill-based textile labor. Over three months, 2,100 volunteers and seventy-nine experienced weavers produced over seventy-five feet of cloth formed entirely from donated fibers, often from mills facing closure throughout the southeastern United States. The thread was prepared on hand-crank bobbin winders by museum visitors, and then used by the weavers to compose a single bolt of striped cloth. The final cloth was donated to the Knoxville Museum of Art.

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