Embroidering the leather book cover with the Tajima Laying Machine


Wall Panel Text:

Woven Magic: The “Secret Speech” of Interactive Textiles
Hilary Bergen

“The distinction between subject and object is both real and illusory.” – Theodor W. Adorno

The act of weaving is an old art, abundant with mystery and myth. In some ancient cultures, the loom symbolizes the cosmos: the upper crossbeam represents Heaven and the lower beam, Earth. In this configuration, the snaking weft threads are the “planes of existence” which wind themselves around the longitudinal warp threads, the “rays of informing light or breath.”

To think the loom in this way, as a microcosm of the enchanted world made up of interdependent and distributed agencies, conjures an interplay between existence and light (or the tangible and the barely-perceptible) that highlights the many unseen forces—the hum of “vibrant matter” that swirls all around us.

The word “enchant” is active in both directions; it means both the magic done to a thing and the delight we feel when witnessing magic.

Similarly, in “The Enchantment of Textiles,” there is no clear distinction between the subject that acts and the object that receives action.

The magician is as much the designer as it is the visitor, the loom, the conductive thread, or the lively garments that converse with each other through signals and beams.

Enchantment is in the in-between.