|In Touch, 2011 (in progress)|
What happens to the context when we look at paper made from cotton and call it a textile? Does it change how we approach our work? Material. Threads. Context. Text. Textile. I got an email from one of my bookmaking students telling me she had been talking to a writing workshop group about how paper was made. She said, "we also thought of our task as writers to be 'fiber artists' in a way, both metaphorically, in terms of our weaving of stories together, and literally in terms of our connection to paper."
I think what is exciting about the discovery in the text/textile discussion is that if you look closely enough, all art is linked. When I teach writing to art students I start from the premise that all art is about seeing. When we say "Oh, I see!" we are saying we understand. I always hope to get to that "aha" moment: literally, metaphorically, or both. In order to see you have to focus on one thing at a time. Turn it over, explore its edges, feel its weight, discover its weakness. These are things you have to do with your materials, whether they are fibers or words.
Some people claim you can't teach people to write. I believe my writing teachers are teaching me how to see by turning, exploring, feeling, discovering: in summary, learning different ways to sort.