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In the mind of the maker: on analysing folk art textiles on a World Heritage site

Conference contribution
Authors Anneli Palmsköld
Published in Association of Critical Heritage Studies Conference: Canberra 2-4 December, 2014. Timetable and Abstracts.
Pages 60-61
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Conservation
Pages 60-61
Language en
Keywords folk art, textile objects, making, craft, World Heritage
Subject categories Ethnology


To make things, to transform materials into objects , is an important cultural activity and the traces and results of these activities can from a historical p erspective be studied through cultural heritage obj ects. The main issue discussed in this paper is how to in vestigate material objects such as textiles from a craft perspective, when asking questions concerning makin g processes and relations between the maker and the material. The textiles used as examples have been p arts of the interiors in decorated farmhouses in Hälsingland in Sweden from the 18th and 19th Centur ies, since 2012 a World Heritage site. To understan d and interpret these interior textiles the concept o f folk art has been used, and the techniques, mater ials and design have been explained as typical from the area . They have also been considered as women ́s contribution to the interiors, as textile technique s as weaving and embroidering has been executed by women. Since there are very few written documents e xpressing these creator ́s point of views and their thoughts about the making processes and the resulti ng objects, the traces of the skilled crafters is t o be found in their creations – the textile objects. The paper is inspired by the american folklorist Henry Glassie who raises the question ”What is art?” when analysing ceramic production and carpet weaving in Turkey (Glassie 1999). When asking this simple ques tion he points out that objects and their makers ar e part of different contexts. To be able to understan d the objects and the making processes one has to analyse the culture and the significant ideas on ar t and aesthetics. Tim Ingold ́s theories on how craf ters and the materials they are using communicate and ho w they are thinking through making, is another theoretical inspiration (Ingold 2013). Which ideas led to the actual textile objects? What did the tex tiles express and communicate in the contemporary context ? What was in the mind of the maker? Different stages in the methodological process to answer this questions will be discussed.

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