A Brief Look at Textile Art

Textile art is a unique branch of expression that utilises animal, plant and synthetic fibers. The techniques have long been a part of society as examples of the art have been unearthed as far back as ancient Egypt. In fact, exploring the genre through history is almost a look at how humankind has evolved with textile art.

Trade goods used for textile art have always been a thriving business. Chinese silk was shipped to Europe, India and Africa. Tyrian dye was a highly regarded source of goods in the ancient Mediterranean. The Industrial Revolution was actually founded in textile technology. The cotton gin, the power loom and spinning jenny were mechanised production tools.

Textile ArtA lot of textile art starts with twisting, spinning or plying of fibers into yarn. That yarn is knotted, braided, looped or woven into varying lengths and thicknesses. The final product is the textile. The process continues as the artist now dyes and prints to add pattern and colour. They can also apply embroidery, tablet weaving, lace and needlework for decoration. Throughout the process, the artist can employ any number of construction tools. That includes stitching, knitting sewing, crocheting and tailoring with looms, needles, carpets and hooks.

Textile art isn’t merely for the artist. Manufacturers of fabric based products around the globe employ these techniques. The finished items can be found on items in every department store in the world. People are wearing them wherever you go all year round. They are used in everything from tablecloths to bed linen to furniture.

Still, the most intriguing examples of textile art are going to be found in museums and in private portfolios and collections. Textile artist Adriene Cruz challenges the form with her mediation quilts. Considered a master of colour and design, her work is multi-hued and bold.

Located in the heart of London’s Bermondsey Village, the Fashion and Textile Museum is filled with contemporary textile art. The changing programmes showcase generations of creative works. They also run courses, making themselves a great resource for discovering textile art.