Threads and Traces 

Design Studio March - Michelle Howard, Adam Hudec, Veronika Miškovičová

What direction would technology have taken if the skills that are normally attributed to women and other anomalies were given the attention they deserve?  

In 1748, the Habsburg Monarchy was forced to cede Silesia to the Prussians and eventually chose Brno as its new centre for wool processing and textile production. The ancient fortifications were swiftly demolished and this heretofore impregnable fortress was forever changed. Raw wool arrived from all over the world, was carded, combed, spun and woven by women, and re-entered the world as cloths of many colours, weaves and grades. Brno was described as the, Moravian Manchester, in its heyday between 1850 and 1930. Very little has survived of this golden period, traces in bricks, mortar or machinery are just as difficult to find as threads. 


Our studio this semester attempts to follow these Threads and Traces where they lead us and explore what we could we learn from pliantly immersing ourselves in their flows and forces. In a conscious effort to calibrate between conjecture and activism we will use our finest tool, our hands, to transform bales of wool which will arrive in much the same state as it would have done in Brno’s heydays and navigate our way through the threads we create and the traces we leave, following their forces and flows. 
In “The Four Elements of Architecture” published in 1851, Gottfried Semper argued that the threading, twisting and knotting of fibres were among the most ancient of human arts, from which architecture was derived. 

In the turn from spinning a thread to stretching it from point to point lies the ‘hinge’ between bodily movement and abstract reason, between the textilic and the architectonic, between the haptic and the optical, and between becoming and being. Perhaps the key to the ontology of making is to be found in a length of string.1

1 From Lines: A Brief history, chapter 2 Traces, Threads and Surfaces by Tim Ingold, ISBN 9781138640399, Published April 11, 2016, by Routledge 

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