Red Tape Field Station


Participatory performance: weaving with linen on a custom portable loom

Presented as part of Portland Textile Month and made with support from Emma Duehr Mitchell and Shannon Welsh

all photographs of the performance by Laura Glazer

After setting up a portable, hand-built loom outside of the Portland State University Library, I began to weave a narrow linen band called “tape” and invited others to join. Tape is a woven material that takes many traditional forms around the world, and was used to tie materials and garments before other kinds of closures became common.

For 10 hours,

interpretations of “red tape” became personal, relating to the ways the that our bodies have become separated from textile material knowledge and the weaving process.

The Loom:

This loom is hand-tensioned and inspired by an 18th century tabletop box-loom reproduction: a copy of one originally used by my German ancestors in colonized early America. Showing visitors how to physically maintain tension in the threads with their upper bodies emphasized how all kinds of tension—personal, global, material, and cultural—can be held in this single narrow band. Each person who wove on the loom signed their names upon departure.

Construction and Material:

The modular loom and benches were constructed at the PSU workshops, now led by Emma Duehr Mitchell, who helped located appropriate scrap material for their construction. No new lumber was used. Shannon Welsh, of Fibrevolution in Portland, loaned bundles of dried and retted flax as interpretive tools for the performance.