Congratulations on getting funding for this exiting project!
– Thank you! We were hopeful that this was something with originality and currency. Our research includes ideas related to sustainability, that we hoped would be recognized, which it was, Tim Parry-Williams says.
[BEYOND HERITAGE: MATERIAL MAKING MEANING] emerges from the shared field of woven textiles and explores ideas of craft and production as well as material heritage and futures. The project will explore the reading and interpretation of textile histories, aiming to establish new understandings and potentials in national or regional textile practice. According to Tim Parry-Williams that the project will investigate the topic
s of weaving as metaphor; as well as knowledge or cultural heritage in practice.
A wide ranging project
– Furthermore through the different arenas of the project, we will address reciprocity, ecology, and sustainability; cultural exchange and identity; as well as ideas of social fabric. These are to be addressed primarily in the context of Norway and the wider Nordic-region, but with reference to connected geographies, and emerging deglobalization,
Tim Parry-Williams and partner in the project, Khio-based, Frans Petter Schmidt, explain that the project will involve a wide range of actors and collaborators. These are conservators, scientists, and historians as well as employees in the textile industry and the international community of textile artists.
The project will undertake groundbreaking research into plant fiber production in Norway, with a particular focus on hemp. This is one of the three plant fibers for investigation in the project, which are: Hemp, nettle and linen.
– We want to remind the makers and consumers of textiles that these materials are wonderful answers to sustainability. There has been reluctance to research new knowledge in this field, and a prevailing idea that the land needs to be used for other resources, namely of course food.
Parry-Williams says one part of the project is about seeking to prove the validity of these renewable materials. Actually plant fiber was very well established in Norway for many years, indeed embedded in yearly cycles of life, but the materials have fallen out of use and common understanding.
Hemp is maligned, nettle fairy tale!
– There are many biases connected to these materials, linen is regarded as a noble, something of luxury goods, whereas hemp is maligned, since it is currently illegal. Nettle, on the other hand, is fairy tale, Parry-Williams says.
According to Parry-Williams it is difficult to know what useful material one can hope to produce without testing.
– Norwegian national costumes for example include linen shirts, which demonstrates continued use. The fibre from the Nettle plant has been used as clothing in many places, Nepal being one example, and during WW1 and WW2 it was used as a substitute for cotton yarns. Early research has also indicated that it was used in sami textile culture. So what we in the end will be able to make might be only modest and indicative, but high-end quality, something that might be used for much longer.