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Technological style

The concept of technological style was first defined by Heather Lechtman (1977). It has its origins in the work of Cyril Stanley Smith, a metallurgist by training who, according to Noah Thomas, 'sought to combine a detailed understanding of the material properties of artifacts with an intuitive sense of aesthetic experience of their making'.

The concept of technological style helps us to understand the role of the communities of practice - of knowledge and skill - on which the production of textiles ultimately depends. Weavers are constantly engaged in an effort to improve the design and form of their own textiles, or simply to emulate the structures and techniques of their neighbours, in an ongoing attempt to improve the quality and beauty of their products. Competition between distinct generations of weavers of the same place, or between weavers of neighbouring regions, helps to generate innovation.