Introduction

Through their actual woven patterns (symbols and texts) and through related records and tools, these coverlets carry clear connections to the local families that purchased and used them.

The word “binary” refers to the two threading directions on the loom and to the basic over-and-under manipulation of these threads by the weaver. Binary also refers to the fundamental structure of the digital technologies that enable and channel so much of today’s visual communication and creativity. 

Scholars examine design motifs, photographs, personal and business documents, and public records in an ongoing effort to track shifts in textile production from the individual working in a front room to the small group working in a house or a small factory. This exhibition outlines a two-century-old story of industry and invention, patterning and appropriation, and collaboration and entrepreneurship. It is intended to prompt reflection on, and further research into, these subjects.

Introduction