An independent space in the freedom of the Norfolk countryside.


Victoria Mitchell: Text & Textiles

In the late 1960s, the theorist and literary critic Roland Barthes spoke of text as ‘tissue’ and as a woven fabric. For Barthes, this text-textile association didn’t only apply to the printed or written word but to the way in which the text relates to the interweaving of meaning. Textiles, of course, have a long tradition of text-related associations, whether as samplers or as woven pictograms which embed stories and cultural histories, but recent critical interpretations have contributed to a renewed interest in the potential of text and textile to work together as a braid or as interwoven mark-making through which interior reflections can be revealed.

In this talk Victoria Mitchell will look at the relationship between text and textile, especially as explored by contemporary artists. She will use examples in which meaning is articulated (so that the reader or viewer is quite clear what meaning is intended) but will also explore text-textile associations in which the clarity of the text is intentionally obscured or partly erased, communicating subtle textures of meaning and sensation.

Victoria Mitchell is a senior lecturer in Fine Art at Norwich University College of the Arts. An art historian by training, she has a longstanding interest in relationships between critical and material forms of textile. Examples frequently reference fine and applied arts and architecture, as in ‘Drawing Threads from Sight to Site’ (Textile: the Journal of Cloth and Culture, 2006), but she has also worked on Eighteenth century Norwich pattern books and was recently a co-investigator on a major project on basketry.




Rosemary Trockel
Image: Rosemary Trockel, 'Ich Auch'. Photograph: Victoria Mitchell.