Innovations in Sustainable Textiles: A Review of the 12th Biennial TSA Symposim Keynote

Weavers at Work via http://www.flickr.com

Ever wonder where you can find hundreds of people, from around the world discussing the history, artistry and innovations in textiles? The Textile Society of America’s bi-annual conference is the place for textile arts enthusiasts. We were thrilled to discover all the incredible people, crafts and ideas exchanged at their 2010 meeting, held in Lincoln, Nebraska. The next symposium is scheduled for September 19-22 in Washington, D.C.,  an interesting time and place to discuss “the ways politics influence the aesthetics, production, materials, uses, and myriad other aspects of textiles.” Read an excerpt from HVC’s founder’s review of the keynote address, which highlights the work of Sheila Kennedy and her work with the  innovations in sustainable textile design.

From the Textile Society of America’s Winter 2012 Newsletter:
By Sasha Rabin Wallinger
 

Textiles, due in part to their essential role in every-day life, have a history of creating a dialogue across multiple disciplines. As sustainable design gains popularity with global audiences, the environmental and social implications
of the textile arts have gained attention. This desire to understand how textiles impact the development of social responsibility and environmental preservation was illustrated by Keynote Speaker Sheila Kennedy at the 2010 Textile Society of America (TSA) Symposium, Textiles and Settlement: From Plains Space to Cyber Space held last fall in Lincoln, NE.

Kennedy’s address, “Energy-Harvesting Textiles: From Flat to Form,” invited TSA members to examine the ever-evolving world of textiles from a nontraditional vantage point. As a founding Principal of Kennedy & Violich
Architecture Ltd. (KVA)
and Professor of the Practice in MIT’s Department of Architecture, Kennedy’s career has been rooted in innovation. At the Symposium she profiled two very different undertakings, the Portable Light
and Soft House projects that were united by their focus on the many uses of solar-powered textiles. Kennedy’s keynote invited TSA members to consider the wide reach and potential that their work with textiles can inspire.

When presenting the designs and final products of both of these energy-harvesting textile projects, Kennedy emphasized the craftsmanship as
being central to their success and integrity. Her address also emphasized
the importance of collaborations between the sciences and the arts, which will benefit the environment as well as the textile arts community. Kennedy’s incorporation of sustainable textiles within an architectural framework
illustrates the potential for creative problem solving across disciplines, resulting in applied art and craft that is able to inspire important social and environmental advancements.

By choosing Kennedy to open the 2010 Symposium, TSA demonstrated innovative thinking, which is symbolic of the partnerships that sustainable textiles continue to provoke. Kennedy’s address affirmed that this is an exciting time for the textile arts, as they are both revisited and discovered by new audiences with an eye towards a sustainable systems framework.

The full piece will be available to the public next month on the TSA website.
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