Lesley came to Farnham on 11 December to talk to us about cloth and culture. We discussed with Lesley how our knowledge of textiles begins through touch and that skin is the surface through which we experience textiles. She reminded us that to touch is also to be touched and that this mutuality creates a dialogue. Cloth retains conscious and unconscious memory; it bears the trace of the maker and the wearer.
Used cloth holds layers of memories. The same piece of cloth can have different meanings to different people, for example it can be functional, art, religious, or a statement of identity. Pattern in cloth can provide a non-linear textile narrative. In the Baltic states under communism, textile patterns were used as cultural identity in a subversive way as a means of political dissent. Lesley also told us about her new exhibition Cloth and Culture which brings together 35 artists from Estonia, Finland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania and the UK and opens in the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich in January 2008. She also discussed our individual research with us.