Fiber Arts: Manifesto [Revised]

This manifesto was originally published as a blog post in May of 2021; it has been updated and revised now that I’ve been back into the fiber arts for a few years. The “manifesto” as such in terms of material practice, ideas of community, as well as collective notions of creative output stems from and applies to other arts as well. The perspective is from the Global South, and a class-based analysis examines notions of communal endeavor, source material, as well as the “stitching together” of community.

Excerpt: It is here perhaps that I can locate my own aversion to distance from source and place. It is here perhaps that I find a positive sensual reaction to the materials that pass through my fingers as I create a fabric. This results in a desire to understand their material origin, to understand that an object produced by me carries these stories forward and cannot be divorced from them nor from those in the production chain. It is here that petroleum-sourced “yarns” fall flat, in their absence of channeled place and cultural narrative, as well as their absolute mockery of the natural realm, as only man-made simulacra can. It is also here that I vow to adhere to my own manifesto tenets along lines that seek to ask: “What lies beyond this current moment? How do we create a more sustainable and communal fiber future starting now?” To this end and in no particular order, I vow:

  • To avoid plastics in my own purchased yarns, while at the same time laboring to find and highlighting affordable alternatives for crafters for whom natural-fiber yarns often remain priced out of reach, and pressuring manufacturers and vendors to do the same;
  • to avoid companies that hyper-market themselves along deceptive feel-good lines of environmental, sustainable, and equitable practices;
  • to question my need for stash by understanding historically the class-based reasons for stockpiling and hoarding, and how aesthetic-based ownership is a vulgar and deceptive mimicry of responses to attrition and precarity;
  • to seek a most-expansive understanding of the labor input to the material practices that result in my own fabric and product output;[^40]
  • to research aspects of yarn production as to environmental impact, the treatment of animals, land, and the natural realm; as well as the role of workers and their relationship to production and profit;
  • to come to terms immediately with true sustainability and the demands this will make on class position, comfort, luxury, privilege, and the like;
  • to seek creation of community everywhere, with everyone, and always; not just along lines of identity or affinity;
  • to lean always toward the communal nature of craft, eschewing the exaltation of individuals whether myself or others, and to prefer those who reveal their own communal connections in this regard;
  • to fight complacency when affinitive communities don’t challenge class distance and/or exclusion based on differing levels of economic and political embodiment;
  • to create my own clothing as much as is possible and in lines with notions of the most-local and fibershed.

File can be downloaded from: https://www.academia.edu/84657113/Fiber_Arts_Manifesto

About Daniel Drennan ElAwar

Adoptee, rematriated.
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1 Response to Fiber Arts: Manifesto [Revised]

  1. Saba Sadr says:

    ❤️❤️❤️

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