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Bedding into bags: the life histories of materials, makers and the time of making in a case study of fabric upcycling

Holdsworth, Clare

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Geographical scholarship on making has established the interrelations between makers, materials and space. With this paper I explore how this scholarship can be developed to incorporate time through paying close attention to the time of making. Drawing on Karen Barad’s (2003) theorisation of multiple and entangled temporalities and materialities; the time of making is interpreted as a constituent of making rather than a homogenous vessel within which making occurs. Using an autoethnographic study of upcycling used domestic textiles into bags, I assemble the practices of making and distribute these into its constituent parts of heterogenous materials, tools and skills. The time of making is studied through autoethnographic reflections on the iterative interactivity between these constituent parts. My reflections on the time of making develop in two ways. First, I consider how the temporal heterogeneity of making segues the (de)stabilising skills of sewing with moments of hesitation, preparation, undoing, repetition and organisation. Second, I detail how the life histories of materials and makers are remade through making. In particular the case study of upcycling reveals how the potential of materials can be realised through re-orientating the skills and practices of makers towards (re)making the life history of materials.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 11, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 21, 2022
Publication Date Dec 21, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 30, 2023
Journal Social & Cultural Geography
Print ISSN 1464-9365
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 25
Issue 3
Pages 423-440
Keywords Geography, Planning and Development, Cultural Studies
Publisher URL
Additional Information © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any med-ium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.


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