Sustaining Rural Life and Work through Textile Handwork: Two Case Studies from Communities before and after Industrialization

By Jessica Goldsmith.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

The late Twentieth Century has been a time of rapid change and globalization, threatening the livelihood and culture of societies around the world. Traditional craft work is being abandoned or simplified by indigenous craft-persons under pressure from industrialization. Meanwhile, industrialized factories continue to chase cheaper labor, abandoning the communities that relied on them for economic substance. Communities on either side of industrial manufacturing, those who are beginning to feel its influence and those who have lost their manufacturing base, are both vulnerable to economic hardship and its incumbent pressures on culture and community. This research examines two seemingly disparate case studies from either side of the industrialized continuum: the Center for Traditional Textiles in Cusco, Peru, and Alabama Chanin in Florence, Alabama USA. In both of these examples, textile handwork is being used by members of each community to revive craft work, increase pride in their cultural heritage, and supplement local’s incomes.

Keywords: Cultural Heritage, Rural Community, Cultural Sustainability, Women’s Work, Craft, Textiles

The International Journal of Social Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.31-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 338.642KB).

Dr. Jessica Goldsmith

Assistant Professor, Department of Art, College of the Arts, Valdosta State University, Valdosta, GA, USA

Jessica Goldsmith is an Assistant professor of Art and Interior Design at Valdosta State University in Georgia. She has a Master of Interior Design from the University of Florida, and is currently completing a PhD from the University of Florida. Her dissertation research is exploring integrating historic buildings into contemporary communities. Professor Goldsmith also studies the relationships between textile crafts persons and their work spaces in indigenous and colonial new world cultures. As a practicing interior designer, she worked with textiles in commercial and residential interiors. She has won grants to study hand-weaving and present on her research on historic buildings and textile production.