This chapter traces a series of interwoven strands of my thinking-making with Barad’s figuration of thought experiments as material matters whereby thinking manifests as both an embodied and a more-than-human activity. I explore how processes such as sewing, stitching, threading and mending might be conceived as conceptual practices. These can be put to work in pedagogical practices as I reconfigure a fashion history and theory course for second and third-year students at a university of technology in Cape Town.
The chapter tracks my thinking process with needles, cotton and a piece of loosely woven muslin mull held securely in place in a bamboo embroidery ring. Adopting an open-ended process, I focus on the materiality of these materials and their teachings. With no particular outcome in mind, I carefully trace where the threads lead me in the hope that they might manifest ideas, concepts, provocations and learnings in ways that are not too abstract for me to make sense of. In doing so, I examine how the material-discursive conditions of threading can be reconfigured in such a way that they are understood as integral to theorising. One critical tool, th/reading, has arisen through this iterative process of re-turning with stitching. It is a practice that enacts agential cuts into the textile of fashion history and practice and its concomitant feminist and colonial histories.