I began this website several years ago, hoping to explore the interweaving of literature and textile arts. Like agriculture, the ancient crafts of spinning, weaving, and sewing provide many of our fundamental metaphors for thought, marriage, civic life, spirituality, and more. In the spring of 2014 I published some initial thoughts along these lines, and I’ve left those early posts on the blog to give a sense of my original trajectory.
Only a few months later, a number of joyful and bewildering changes interfered with my tidy plan to chronicle sewing projects and literary references: I fell in love, married, and left my full-time university post to work alongside my new husband at Community First! Village, a master-planned community for the chronically homeless in Austin, Texas. Here at the Village, we are the innkeepers, and I also direct the Community Corps, a missional training program for pilgrims feeling a call to service alongside the poor, spiritual formation, and life in community.
As I have settled into a world that is more activist than contemplative in nature, I have struggled to see how my love for craft and for story have a place among these work of justice. That’s part of why I am reviving this project after two years of neglect: to see if can my lessons in weaving, or the poem I read this morning, might bless the poor and poor in spirit
I want to believe that my interest in textiles–whether fairy tales featuring spinning wheels, DIY ambitions, or advocacy for “slow fashion”– might be more than a hobby, and that scholarship might become more than a luxury. If those hopes can ever be true, I must work towards them here and now.
Originally called Texts & Textiles, this project now bears the name Whole Cloth. This title represents what I want my life to become, and the way I want Christians, in particular, to think about their relationship to clothing, textiles, as well as the traditions and practices surrounding the cloth that warms and protects us. May our lives grow generous and undivided, works of integrity, beauty, and strength. In a world that accepts and even celebrates fragmentation, I want to tell stories and practice habits of restoration and reunion. With hands, heart, and mind, I want to weave a whole cloth.