'STORIES CAN BE TOUCHABLE'

Textiles, Objects and Books

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Growing up, I watched how my grandmother, Edith Wyle, engaged art, textiles, objects and books to connect with people. They became monuments of her diverse travels, and she coveted them with tenderness and wonder. She was always opening books, showing their contents, displaying her textiles and objects just-so, telling human stories. 

On afternoon visits with her,  we traveled together by reading. We wandered the pages, absorbing the saturated colors of the photos, or touching the objects on her shelves. It was she who first inspired my love of indigo and blue, through her fascination of Japanese fiber and cloth.

Like Edith, I’ve always been a collector of books and an arranger of space. Books are my companions, records, agents of change. They chronicle human experience, help us notice more, connect us to each other. Most importantly, they are the keepers of information: inventions, achievements and techniques. And then there is space. Space arranged specifically has the ability to inspire contemplation.

The collection in this library began with a thousand volumes from Edith”s personal library, along with some of her amazing textiles and tools, and the desire to share these rarities with the public. Over the years it has grown, as I have added to it, diligently and enthusiastically. I am always entranced by a new blue object, looking for clues of its maker or previous owner. Regardless of factual information, these objects and fragments inspire emotion, and serve to represent our cultural heritage.

I deeply loved the way my grandmother related to objects. How she cared about the people that made them and the stories they held. That she taught me to do the same, thereby expanding my ideas about language into the realm of the visual and tactile. ‘Stories can be touchable,’ her way seemed to say. The TATTER Blue Library seeks to add to the reading experience, with objects you can hold. 

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Jordana Munk Martin
is the founder of TATTER and its BLUE Library.
Want to have a conversation about cloth? Contact her at Jordana@tatter.org