Redmore, Nicola (2015) Open to Change: Embracing nature and the fragility of design. In: Textile Society Biennial Research Symposium New Research Strategies III, 28th March 2015, Wellcome Centre, London. (Submitted)
Abstract

The research in this paper has grown out of a personal interest in the slow decay of abandoned textiles in the landscape and forms a starting point for the exploration of how climatic conditions might affect the physical and visual appearance of fabrics sited outdoors. Woven fabrics might respond to stimulants from the local environment, such as temperature or humidity, or the material memory of the cloth. Can woven leno fabrics be aesthetically pleasing, and be developed for use in an outdoor context?

Themes of material change over time and fabrics that blend into the landscape are explored through a series of doup-leno samples produced on a Harris handloom using a range of manmade and natural fibres. Handwoven fabrics developed to mimic net-like structures observed in the landscapes of West Yorkshire and Wester Ross were created to produce dynamic yet stable structures in monofilament, viscose and wool. Exploring the notion that, in the case of “artists working directly in fibre and textile, the hand becomes the articulate sensor" (Seelig, 2005).

Observations on the contrasting relationship between the handcraft of weaving, and the decision-making process and knowledge developed by a commercial textile designer have been documented throughout the process.
The work of contemporary weave practitioners, artists, product designers and an analysis of the current uses of leno fabrics have informed and guided the direction of this research. The blend of the best of new material innovation and traditional craftsmanship echoes the approach of Patricia Urquiola (designer) whose work combines creative invention with a passion for research into handcrafts. This research aims to reinterpret historical styles and techniques into fresh contemporary textile products, ultimately aimed at outdoor use.

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