The Poetics of Cloth

The Poetics of Cloth

Language, said anthropologist Wade Davis, in his often-quoted TED talk… language is a vehicle through which the soul of each particular culture comes into the material world. 

And you know how deeply I believe, if you've heard me sing this song over and over for the past ten years, that textiles made by hand and heart and culture and community… are a language.  

I look around my house at the old, weathered, hand-made textiles that have come to live with me over many years, and I can hear the silent utterances of the world in conversation. Though I spend a fair amount of time trying to understand the particular lexicons of these textiles, picturing the face of the Punjabi women stitching this phulkari for her wedding, or the mind of the weaver of this Bolivian manta or the imagination behind a Bai silk children's hat with ears and eyes of a yellow tiger… still I cannot presume to understand the language they speak.  

What I do grasp is the rousing soul that is woven, over long periods of time, into their very fibers. Each textured length of cloth comes alive in my hands, and in that vitality, I sense the presence of a particular story, half hidden but powerfully present, of a woman, a faith, a moment in time, an immeasurable life.

Vintage Textiles

Textiles in the pre-industrial age, and even still in pockets of the world today, are made for reasons of celebrating birth, festooning weddings, mourning loss, praying down spirit, warming the hearth. And to each of these moments, textiles bring distilled, saturated meaning, symbol, connection; they wrap the moment in imagination, they speak the mother tongue, which is, of course, the language of soul.

In the spirit of loving these very particular incantations of life but wanting to pass them on, we offer these vintage pieces which inspire us—too many spilling from our shelves and cubbies, too many to hold. Each storied cloth wants to be cherished, each story heard, the old tattered threads loved. And aren't we just the same?

All the best,