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Fray

 

Fray, by Julia Bryan-Wilson (Chicago). Combining history and criticism, this study of textile crafting highlights its social and political aspects. Bryan-Wilson explores items as varied as the Cockettes’ drag-queen costumes, Chilean arpilleras that documented Pinochet’s dictatorship, and the ideological rifts occasioned by the AIDSquilt. Discussing current crafting trends within the context of globalized mass production, she examines art—such as the unravelled-velvet “blacklets” of Angela Hennessy—that physically deconstructs fabric as a means of commenting on the meaning craft practices have for black women and other marginalized groups. Textiles, she writes, “are used to make the tangible things that surround bodies and that organize, structure, and lend meaning to the contours of everyday life.”