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We have been discussing textile themes, from fibre production to highly diverse uses of textile products, for nearly 30 years. In all that time we have neglected final consumption, i.e. the fate of end-of-life or discarded textiles. Our reporting disregarded an entire industry – textile recycling.
Early in the year, we were approached by two colleagues from Workshop Hannover who invited us to participate in their project, a judged exhibition entitled “Rag Revolution”. The competition targeted not only textile artists, but also artists working in other disciplines, similar to the concept of the highly successful “Fabric Narratives – Narrative Fabrics” exhibition organised by the Workshop three years ago (see TF 4/ 2007, pp. 24 ff.). As in the previous event, the Gallery of the Lower Saxon Chamber of Crafts and Skilled Trades, the local public library and other organisations will be involved in “Textour 2011”.
In addition to our preview of the judged exhibition, we introduce several pieces by artists who work with everyday textiles discarded by private households and publish a report on commercial textile recycling based on statistics compiled in Germany, as one of the rare studies on this subject was undertaken in this country in 2008.
Christian Boltanski's work at 'Monumenta 2010', Grand Palais Photo: Didier Plowy, © Monumenta 2010
Consideration of the social and economic aspects of textile consumption includes issues such as the working conditions of employees in low-wage countries, pricing, distribution and labour regulations in the textile sector. However, we had to refrain from discussing these topics in this issue, and could only touch on the points that were relevant to our discussion of the recycling industry. The problems involved are so wide-ranging and diverse that they go beyond the scope of a presentation on textile design. However, we provide references for several sources and contacts that will provide further information on the subject.
USELESS PAPER Paper consumption is similarly excessive as textile consumption in our society. While textiles are (partially) subject to ever accelerating fashion cycles, paper is (partially) subject to advertising and related distribution systems for printed materials (in newspapers, magazines and other advertising media) that cause a huge amount of waste.
Due to the required colour print quality, our magazine is not printed on recycled paper, which would reduce energy consumption by 50% and water consumption by 40%, resulting in a mitigation of the greenhouse effect by ca. 35%. However, since 2008 our printers have used certified papers produced by environmentally friendly and socially compatible forest management. They also boast that they are Germany’s most active company in their industry in terms of climate protection and will verify this claim (www.bonifatius.de). They have dispensed with alcoholic solvents in printing and use only inks free from mineral oil. The process heat produced by printing and processing machines is recovered and used to provide in-house power, avoiding additional CO2 emissions. Shipping of printed products is “carbon neutral”, meaning that any damage to the climate is balanced by compensation measures taken by the company in other areas, for instance rainforest reforestation, biogas plants or wind power. We learnt this with surprise and quite incidentally when the company came to hear of our textile recycling theme. B. Sterk & D. Laue
THE 16TH ETN CONFERENCE IN KAUNAS, LITHUANIA
The ETN Manifest of 1991 ‒ Visions without an outlook?
As already announced in TF 4/10, the Conference 2011 is joining together with the 8th International Textile Biennial in Kaunas (http://www.biennial.lt). Both organizers are looking to the recent past and at the same time to the future.
The European Textile Network i s continuing the international activities, started by the Textilforum e.V. association, founded in 1981, next September exactly 30 years ago. For the ETN Secretariat 2011 i s a very special celebration, reminding the initiators that they will not have a further 30 years of activities in the f ield of textile cultural communication ahead of them. This i s the right time to have a look back: What did we want to achieve and where are we now? What we wanted to achieve and still consider desirable, is published in three languages in the ETN Manifest of 1991, to be read on our website (http://www.etn-net.org/ etn/12e.htm).
At the Conference in Kaunas these and further themes, related to the continuity and the further development of the Network, shall be discussed in the frame of the Kaunas Biennial TEXTILE 11. Our Lithuanian hosts not only offer a wide range of international textile art – which they would have done in any case under the motto of their biennial shows – but they also of f er eight further exhibitions dedicated to our members and guests, one of these is showing the work of some TEXERE members (the Network of textile lecturers and teachers in Europe) and their students or adult groups.
THE CONFERENCE PROGRAMME The programme published here will of course have some changes between now and September 2011, but the basics are now f ixed. It i s advisable to decide quickly about your participation because the very generously reduced 4-star hotel will f ill up soon and the flight costs are becoming more expensive as we come closer to the date in September.
I would like to especially mention the “Networking session” on Saturday, 25 September: About 25 participants can talk for 10 minutes about the projects they want to carry through, possibly with partners from other countries. Such a contribution should be held in English and can have a maximum of 10 images. It will serve the aim to focus the attention of the participants on you and your project so that they can come back to you later during the Conference to ask for more details. The order of the contributions is chosen after the date of the Conference applications.
The ETN Board will be very pleased to welcome many committed ETN members and guests to this attractive jubilee celebration.
I wish all TEXTILE FORUM readers a successful start in the Year 2011. Beatrijs Sterk, ETN secretariat