Alexa Torchynowycz (North Carolina)

A Pattern of Anonymity


Designed and stitched by Alexa Torchynowycz

“I’ve never embroidered before this project, but I have been sewing since about age 10 so I took my inspiration from a vintage pattern packet that I have from the 1960s. My pattern shows all the different types of materials that can be described with metadata. When that metadata is broken down it doesn’t really make sense, like when you just have pattern pieces for a garment. They look really funny and you can’t tell what it is supposed to be when they aren’t connected to anything. But once the cataloger trims up all that information and starts to stitch it together, you end up creating a finished record. I also decided on the Anonymity title because most of the work of metadata professionals is anonymous. I can’t tell who did what in a metadata record, but I know a community of hardworking individuals put in the effort to ‘stitch’ meaning together out of data bytes and bits and that’s what makes us special!”


Alexa Torchynowycz is the systems and cataloging librarian at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina. The piece says “A ‘How-To-Catalog’ Pattern” across the top, stitched in pink. Along the left side are the words “Anonymity Stitched Metadata +4m” stitched in shades of blue and yellow. The piece has a blue dress stitched in the lower right corner. The dress has lines of floss showing connecting images of the pieces and parts that go together to make the dress.


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Unseen Labor by Ann Kardos is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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