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UAL Research Online

Origins Crafts Council Exhibition

Bowles, Melanie (2007) Origins Crafts Council Exhibition. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Bowles, Melanie

Digital textile design and print is a rapidly developing field within textiles and fashion. This research explores the interface between traditional craft skills, digital technology, and environmental design. The intention is to rediscover historical and traditional textile elements that are being overlooked in the new technological explosion, with the intention of redefining the computer aesthetic for textiles.

Recent conferences - ‘New Craft / Future Voices’, (University of Dundee, 2007) and the ETN’s ‘Digital Craft’ (Metropolitan University, London, 2007) - focus on the interaction between textile crafts, manufacture and digital technologies. My research is unique in its aim to combine historical and environmental considerations with digital design in order to create contemporary craft works.

The research uses the technical accuracy of the vector graphics program Adobe Illustrator as a design tool. The digital stylus replicates the meticulous process of the embroiderer’s needle to build complex motifs, streamlined shapes and subtle colour blends, which are found in historical embroidered textile pieces. The research focuses on retaining the beauty and richness of cultural and historical imagery in its design, but within a contemporary context to create a ‘future antique’. It aims to reconnects the viewer to the past craft and beauty of historical textiles, recently lost with the advent of new technology. The research also explores digitally printed textiles in terms of the environmental benefits they have over traditionally printied textiles, (Hitoshi Ujiie, Philadelphia University, 'The Role and Impact of Digital Textile Printing in Globalization', ‘Designer Meets Technology’ conference, Copenhagen 2005). In addition the research also addresses notions about the emotional value of a textile product to give it a longer life, (Jonathon Chapman’s ‘Emotionally Durable Design’, 2005).

The resulting collection was exhibited at ‘Origins’, following a rigourous selction process by a panel of renowned experts in the field of contemporary craft.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Current Research

The development of digital textile printing has challenged textile designers and artists to rethink the possibilities of printing textiles. Over the last three years I have taken up this challenge exploring digital textile printing. This interest was born out of my freelance practice as a textile designer using CAD as my main design tool and Senior Lecturer in Digital Textiles at Chelsea College of Art and Design.

My research project Pixel Couture has taken this research further by allowing me to investigate reactive dyes through an Epson 3000 printer. Reactive dyes will print onto a natural fabric such as silk or cotton instead of manmade fiber polyester. The main element of this type of digital printing that interests me is that printing with reactive dyes allows me to combine traditional printing methods such as devore, resist, discharge printing and silk screening. Joining these traditional print applications with digital print opens new opportunities for a textile designer to work.
I am currently developing and experimenting with these techniques to produce a series of samples, which could be developed into further textiles collections. Because the reactive dyes are able to print onto silks, cottons and velvets as opposed to polyesters I hope to create a collection of luxurious fabrics.

Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > Chelsea College of Arts
Date: 9 October 2007
Funders: Crafts Council
Related Websites: http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/about-us/press-room/2007/crafts-council-presents-origin-2, http://www.chelsea.arts.ac.uk/17205.htm
Related Websites:
Event Location: Somerset House, The Strand, London
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
Somerset House, the Strand, London2 October 200714 October 2007
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2009 23:35
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2010 10:05
Item ID: 1476
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1476

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