L' Etoffe Fabrics: Eugene, Oregon

Women's Work and the Fabric Stash

ina celayaComment

This facsimile painting copies part of a scene in the tomb of Khnumhotep (tomb 3) at Beni Hasan. The scene depicts a group of weavers. The women at the right are plying linen thread and the two at the left are weaving cloth on a ground loom. The facsimile was painted at the tomb in 1931 by Norman de Garis Davies who was director of the Graphic Expedition of the Museum's Egyptian Expedition.  Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Since opening L'Etoffe Fabrics back in December 2014, I have noticed a strange phenomenom affecting the majority of female customers passing through the shop. On a daily basis customers confess to me - with either guilt, obessiveness, denial, or secrecy - their uncontrollable desire for hoarding fabric. The descriptions of the spaces designed and built to house such collections, the custom cabinetry, the guest room closets, fabric stuffed in nooks hidden from their significant other, the bins, boxes, crates, shelves and so on.

"I shouldn't buy anymore fabric, if you saw the stash I already have"

"Yea! I just went through my fabric stash and got rid of so much stuff - now I can buy more"

"I don't even know how to sew but I need at least 3 yards"

"Your fabric has been haunting my dreams for weeks"

"I feel so guilty, I can't buy anything today, I just came in to touch"

"Why does fabric makes me so happy!!!!!"

You get the idea...So I am writing this blog post in the hopes of ameliorating the confusion and guilt so many of us feel when we can't explain why fabric has such a hold on our total being. The answer lies in a 300 page paperback written in 1994: Women's Work The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times- Elizabeth Wayland Barber. Yes, it's our primordial ancestors calling! Women have been responsible for producing cloth for a VERY LONG TIME - so long that one could make the argument our desire for cloth is genetically printed in our DNA (I have no background in genetics) but my point is ladies stop being so hard on yourself. The ancient and early modern worlds were difficult enough - revel in the fabric stash!