Textiles convey meaning in a strong and enduring way that can impact us in a silent, subtle way. So much in our work as handwork teachers is not explicitly verbalized. Yet the word textile has the same root as text, perhaps reaching to a deeper level of feeling than a spoken or printed word. The skills, techniques, and the leisure time to craft delicate works of textile art can sometimes be an insidious signal or reminder of oppression, albeit in an unintentional or unimagined way. Below is a link to an interesting article about cross-stitch, calling us out to be more aware of the implicit messaging we share with our students.
However, in the context of Waldorf handwork education, there is one very important thing to remember. The Waldorf approach to cross-stitch is to move with color and form. This article refers to the conventional understanding of cross stitch, which depicts houses, flowers, alphabets, animals – or pumpkins and cats at Halloween. The Waldorf school context is closer to what Netherlands-based textile artist Kiki Van Eijk says about cross-stitching. “It’s approachable, inexpensive, expressive, emotional—it has so many layers.”
Once again, Waldorf education may be at the forefront of contemporary relevance. As the author of the article states: “Cross-stitching . . . is officially entering a new and improved iteration—one that both subverts traditional patterns and accounts for those who have historically been excluded from the trade”.
Here is the article I found on Architectural Digest this morning. Comment and let us know what you think!