First there was the Slow Food movement, then Craig began talking about Slow Furniture, and now I'd like to share some thoughts about Slow Cloth. As with the other "Slows", it is a philosophy and an approach, rather than a prescribed methodology. Textile artist Elaine Lipson first coined the term in 2007, and has written extensively about the topic. In the framework she developed, Slow Cloth is "characterized by joy, skill, contemplation, beauty, and expression... [and] embraces teaching, community (global and local), diversity, and the responsible sourcing and use of materials."
As a full time handweaver, I am happy to see that first on Lipson's list is joy. While all of the qualities are intertwined, if you will, I find that because I take such pleasure in the process, I probably embrace the other aspects to a greater extent than I might otherwise. The entire process of handweaving brings me joy, and I believe that joy is reflected in the textiles themselves. I enjoy the unlimited opportunities there are to continually learn and improve my skills. I enjoy interpreting the beauty I see around me and incorporating that into my designs. I enjoy sharing my craft with others.
A recent conversation with a repeat customer let me know that this is indeed a worthwhile endeavor. She has purchased towels and table linens for herself and for friends, and is very happy with how they improve with use. I know that some people display my towels just for show, but this woman has fully embraced the idea of surrounding herself with beautiful, functional pieces, putting them to good use on a daily basis, and that makes me smile.