Known Touch

Allyce Wood

This artwork is a rectangular fabric depicting an abstracted image of a glove. The tapestry was made using a coded, industrialized machine, so the image almost looks photographic or printed, but it is all one weave. For this image, the background has been photoshopped out, so only digital white surrounds the tapestry.
digitally woven jacquard tapestry in cotton and wool, 2018
140 cm x 86 cm x 0.3 cm
photo courtesy of the artist

I am fascinated by our daily collaborations between machines and how our hands hold them.

The history of textiles creates an image of a woman working alone. I can see her, passing thread between wooden bars, her hand manipulating fibers into a specific image. Now, my hands have a different connection to my digital tapestries: they articulate code, scroll through reference images, type poetry, they connect hydraulics to my Thread Counter Loom. Pressing the keyboard of my computer, I plan my image, I control the outcome. Through my hand’s actions, I make the decisions while the robotized loom facilitates. I too am a woman alone with her hands, grasping the tools before me, even as the methodologies shift with time.

In my piece, Known Touch I considered the tangible qualities of textile. In particular, I was interested in the collective knowledge of their texture and warmth, as well as how these materials are made. The central image appears to be a floating hand, fingers evenly spaced. Around the thumb and bottom edge, seams are depicted, telling that the subject is both a full hand and a taut glove. We have the hand and its protector, a softer, more perfect silhouette of what should be underneath, A symbol of warmth and protection, giving little clue to its wearer.

Known Touch is a digitally woven jacquard tapestry made of cotton and wool threads. Its dimensions are 140 cm x 86 cm x 0.3 cm, and it was made in 2018 at the Sellgren AS in Innvik Norway.