Jessica Hemmings

Textile Writer

writing commissioned by Objectspace, New Zealand (June 2020)

I have fallen in love with writing again. We never particularly fell out of love, but I had reached that stage of feeling things were driven more by obligation than desire. Words have been my materials for quite some time now. When asked if I have time to weave my answer has long been tinged with guilt – as though I should miss it more than I honestly do. Studying weaving led me to words, and has kept me close to textiles. But no – even now, I do not much miss my own weaving. At times I have wondered if it is because of my peripatetic life. Books are heavy enough to pack – a loom shipped from country to country feels very cumbersome.

In truth, my words have always felt a little more needed than my weavings ever did. There are more practitioners who deserve well-considered writing about their craft than there is a need for my textiles in the world. But I had started to take those words for granted. Then, I travelled with little notice into another country, the night before the borders closed, to be near my mother. No chance to bring a loom, even if I had wanted to. Not much time even to pack books, apart from a select few. Now, several months into the lockdown in Spain which began on March 15, restrictions remain understandably tight. But I see that I’ve carried my words with me without even needing to pack them…