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A time when “weavers did not become heretics, heretics became weavers”

June 4, 2015

I’m reeling from having found an artistic research project called Loomshuttles/Warpaths, discovering it via a reference in an interview with John Barker, a collaborator in that project. Described as ‘long term and ongoing’, it

sheds light on the highly complex and asymmetrical relationships between Europe and Latin America through the medium of Andean textiles. It knots connections with wider global geographies, past and present, to reveal a world formed by histories of power, disrespect and exploitation, but also by a multitude of resistances.

I’ve whiled away the best part of the last three hours reading around its thought-provoking Eccentric Archive having resolved to re-engage with the aspirations I had to explore the mysteries of textile craft, dissipated in the daily grind of ‘the clockwork rhythm of civilisation’.

No General But Ludd

1377  The wool weavers of Ypres, Flanders, launched an uprising to protest against their conditions, marking close to 100 years of contesting the power of cloth merchants that were backed by the military arm of the Flanders aristocracy, and sometimes by the French state. During all this time the town was an internationally famous centre of cloth production for export, highly prized from Russia to North Africa. It was also a time when “weavers did not become heretics, heretics became weavers” because of the possible freedom of thought that went with owning the means of production, the loom. (From here).

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