While recently reading the book, Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World, by Virginia Postrel, I became fascinated by all of the words that have roots connected to textiles. One of the most obvious being the word, text, root word texere, meaning ‘to weave’. The shared origin between the word text and textile weave together a beautiful history of language. Story-tellers and historians weave words into text in the same way we weave yarns into textiles.
In many ancient languages, pictures were used to represent words or ideas. Pictures woven together created text in the same way words create text in modern languages. In Ancient Greece, these pictures were called logograms. This piece was inspired by the logogram that represents the word ‘textile’. When this ancient text was first discovered by modern man, the rectangular shape with lines coming from it was originally mistaken to represent castle or kingdom because the man trying to decipher the ancient text could think of no other image that might be so important to be represented so frequently. It turns out the image needed to be flipped and the meaning was textile instead of kingdom—the rectangular image with lines represents an ancient weaving loom. Keeping records of ancient textiles was critical enough to the success of the civilization that these records still last today. I am playing with the idea of weaving text and textile at the same time. This is the first in a series of pieces I will make exploring the shape of this logogram within the textiles that I create.
Delving further into wordplay, I also wove the shape into a bookmark. A piece of textile, with images representing the word from which both of these words derive from, marking your place within a text.
Anne Meade Paden (she/her) is a weaver from Oakland, CA. She first learned how to weave as a child at Camp Merrie-Woode and she picked up SAORI weaving in 2016 and hasn’t looked back since. She is a staff artist at Creative Growth, specializing in weaving. Originally from Winston-Salem, NC she received a BA from Guilford College, received her teaching license from Salem College, and attended art school at the Aegean Center.