Knowledge in action in weaving


  • Viveka Berggren Torell The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås
  • Ulla Ranglin The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås


The project “Design, craft and culture” had the purpose of co-production of knowledge between the University of Borås and the small-scale enterprise Vävkompaniet (The weaving company). The practitioners’ wanted to get insights into competences previously “hidden” in their knowledge in action; competences that could be the base for development of products and ways to reach customers. From academic point of view the main goal was to produce films aimed shedding light on knowledge in action. The result is four educational films aimed at students.

This article is based on interpretations of films and interviews from places where the handweavers produce their products. A researcher and a weaving teacher studied their work, while the photographer filmed the artisans’ body movements. Questions and words, in a language which fits the events of the practice, can make practitioners sharpen their attention and direct it at critical points in the practice that they accomplish. By interviews done in a conversation-like way during observations, a space for such reflections was created. 

The weavers shared meanings on their position in the field of craft and detailed descriptions of crafting practices with the research team. Regarding the design process, because of their material rather than conceptual approach to craftwork, the weavers brought up the importance of sample weaving. While work with dressing the looms and weaving then continued many empirical examples of aspects of knowledge in action could be observed. The importance of routine, rhythm, bodily skills, senses, judgement and experience are brought up in the text.

Key words: textile craft, weaving, tacit knowledge, knowledge in action, senses, visual ethnography


Viveka Berggren Torell, The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås

Viveka Berggren Torell is Ph D in ethnology (2007). She also has a teacher education in textile sloyd (1988). Discourses on children’s clothes and experiences of football clothes are two previous research-topics. Since 2010 she is working with cultural research on clothing and textiles at the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås.

Ulla Ranglin, The Swedish School of Textiles at the University of Borås

Ulla Ranglin is weave designer for craft, educated at Åbo Hemslöjdslärarinstitut (1985) and with an exam also from Yrkeshögskolan Sydväst i Åbo (2005). Since 1987 she is employed as lecturer in weaving at the Swedish School of Textilesin Borås. Her research interests are different weaving methods and the pedagogy of weaving.





Referera så här

Berggren Torell, V., & Ranglin, U. (2014). Knowledge in action in weaving. Techne serien - Forskning i slöjdpedagogik och slöjdvetenskap, 21(1). Hämtad från