Duck Journal for Research in Textiles and Textile Design

Volume 1

What is Textile Design Research?

Published Summer 2010

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Welcome to the first volume of DUCK.

Research for textiles is broad and far reaching. Historical, theoretical, technical, scientific, commercial and aesthetic strands interweave to create a complex and interdisciplinary field of investigation and invention. The first volume of DUCK explores the nature and significance of current Textile Design research and aims to establish a platform for future discourse. Each paper responds to one or more of the following themes:

  • The contexts for textile design research
  • The role of interdisciplinarity in textile design research
  • The distinction between research related to processes and that related to outcomes
  • The tensions between the demands of commercial enterprise and the academic domain
  • The methodologies that might be appropriate for textile design research
  • The impact of new materials and/or technologies on directions and approaches in textile design research
  • The influence of craft methods/approaches in textile design research
  • The interaction between craft and scientific method in textile design research
  • Historical and theoretical perspectives within textile design research
  • Relationships between theory and practice in textile design research
  • The benefit of textile design research to the designer
  • Forms of application and dissemination of textile design research

All submissions are available to view as pdf documents
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Contents

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1. The Tacit-Turn

Author:
Elaine Igoe, University of Portsmouth and PhD Royal College of Art, UK

Abstract: This paper introduces some of the key topics of my PhD thesis, supervised at the Royal College of Art in the department of textiles, which seeks to conceptualise textiles to elucidate design thinking in the field. This paper aims to situate the textile design discipline into the broader remit of design research, identifying specific contexts for textile design research.

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2. Physical Tools for Textile Creativity and Invention

Authors: Elisabeth Heimdal and Torben Lenau, Technical University of Denmark

Abstract: Two textile research projects (one completed and one ongoing) are described, where physical inspirational tools are developed and tested with the aim of stimulating textile creativity and invention, i.e. the use of textile materials in new kinds of products, thus bringing textiles into new contexts. The first research project (completed) concerns how textile designers use new responsive materials and technologies, whereas the second (ongoing) concerns how architects and design engineers can use textile materials. In both projects, the developed inspirational tool is tested through workshops with the mentioned stakeholders. In these workshops, new ways of disseminating the results from research in textiles and textile design are experimented with. The submitted contribution therefore mainly addresses the role of interdisciplinarity in textile design research as well as the impact of new materials and technologies on directions and approaches in textile design research. It presents one example of what textile design research is.

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3. High Falls: Water, Lace and the Body

Authors: Katherine Townsend and Joy Buttress, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Abstract: The art pieces in this exhibition explore the aesthetic relationship between photographic images of flowing water and organic motifs found in the Nottingham Trent University Lace Archive. The practice-led research is focused on how digital technology can be applied and subverted to interpret abstract concepts, such as light and fluidity, to generate new textile narratives that celebrate space and form. The utilization of the characteristics of lace act as both a historical link and metaphor, restoring connections with craft, skilled workmanship and nature.

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4. Multi and Interdisciplinary Nature of Textile Design Research of Linseed Fibres

Authors: Tiina Härkäsalmi and Ilpo Koskinen, Aalto-University School of Art and Design, Helsinki, Finland

Abstract: In the future there will be an increasing need for renewable, recyclable and environmentally safe fibres which are compatible with existing cotton based textile manufacturing technologies and are competitive in price and quality. In this study as a raw material the linseed fibres are used, which are almost an unexploited resource for high value end uses. This paper describes a multidisciplinary design study that consisted of three parts, a microbiological study that developed a Fusart®-method for cottonising linseed fibres, a production model study aimed at showing how the fibres could be processed in an industrial scale and a fibre quality evaluation study. In practice it means that light coloured lustrous and soft fibres can be produced cost efficiently and environmentally consciously for textiles and a potential for producing high quality bio-based material with tailored properties.

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5. Energy-Harvesting & Self-Actuated Textiles for the Home

Author: Aurélie Mossé, School of Architecture, Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, Denmark

Abstract: This paper presents a design-led investigation into the design of responsive textiles membranes. Introducing a series of design experiments including the Constellation Wallpaper, a dream for eco-conscious wallpaper, and Ice-Fern, a transformable window-sculpture, this paper discusses, within the context of rising sustainable design agendas, the role and influence of new materials and technologies on the conceptualization and making of responsive textiles. Exploring the intersection between textiles, architecture and smart technologies, this on-going research aims to map out new design territories for smart textiles by questioning how they can be implemented within a domestic context to encourage more resilient environments. More specifically investigating the potential of energy-harvesting & self-actuated textiles, the project hopes to highlight new ways for thinking of the home as a more permeable, sensitive and interconnected space.

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6. 2D3D2D

Authors: Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode, Dr Katherine Townsend and Catherine Northall, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Abstract: In the School of Art and Design, at Nottingham Trent University, a range of research methods and practices have developed through PhD and post doctoral study in relation to printed textile design and new technology. Individual research projects have addressed pattern (Bunce 1993); photographic imagery (Briggs 1997); colour (Leak 2001); non-repeating pattern (Carlisle 2003) and 2D/3D (Townsend 2003). Post-doctoral research (Briggs-Goode & Bunce 2001) and Townsend's research into 2D/3D informed a group project and exhibition Transforming Shape (2004). The outcomes created by Gillian Bunce, Amanda Briggs-Goode, Gillian Bunce, Rosemary Goulding and Katherine Townsend explored the relationships between innovative surface imagery and three-dimensional prototypes, based on the simple geometric forms of square, rectangle and circle.

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7. Aeolia: Textile Enquiry and Design

Authors: Sarah Kettley and Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode, Nottingham Trent University, UK

Abstract: In this essay we introduce ongoing research in the field of technical textiles at Nottingham Trent University involving specialists from a range of disciplines. We will reflect on the roles and experiences of people as they worked within and across their usual boundaries of practice. In particular, the key aspects of risk, unfamiliarity, and criteria for success will be discussed.
The project emerged from a strategic investment by the University in a number of interdisciplinary fellowships, in this case across Product Design and Textiles. A commercially available but under researched fibre had been identified as a starting point with the potential for contribution to the field. This carbonised rubber cord, 2mm in diameter, changes its electrical properties when stretched, meaning it may be used in conjunction with a circuit to drive outputs such as light, sound or movement.


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8. Folding Image

Author: Dr Lut Pil, Sint-Lucas Hogeschool voor Wetenschap en Kunst, Ghent, Belgium

Abstract: 'Deer (Borrowed imagination)' is the 2009 Master project with which Marthe De Buck graduated from the Textile Design programme of Sint-Lucas Visual Arts in Ghent (Belgium). It is an artistic-visual investigation of a different visual language in fashion and textiles. The research plays with 'borrowed imagination': the recuperation of an idea and the aura of an existing image or the memory of an object are the inspiration for a unique visual language. The project is exemplary for the openness with which the Textile Design programme defines textiles research. The aim of the programme is to provide a research environment in which textile can be recalcitrant and multiple in meaning. Textile Design at Sint-Lucas 'approaches textiles with a broad vision, makes room for cross-fertilization between art and design, and provides opportunity for an independent approach. Materials and techniques are important to the identity of the medium, but are not a goal in them selves. Artistic representation and design, and an engaged and reflective attitude, are central.'


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9. Functional Styling - Exploring a Textile Design Space

Authors: Anna Persson, The Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås and Linda Worbin, Department of Computer Science and Engineering, Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden

Abstract: As interactive materials enter the world of textile design, a new area is defined. From an interaction design perspective, interactive (or smart) textiles obviously differ from, for example, a computer game or a word processing program in various ways. One difference is that interactive textiles are experienced as physical materials and are not pixels changing colour on a computer display. But the main difference lies in the diverse aesthetical values; computer software and hardware are related to advanced technology, hard material and functionality whereas textiles are familiar, tactile, flexible and touchable. Still,textiles can build on advanced technology.To be able to understand the full potential of interactive textiles, we need to consider them as something new, designed in the intersection between textile design and interaction design.
The experimental approach taken in the Functional Styling project is inspired by the work made at the Interactive Institute within the IT+textiles design program where a series of experiments and design examples were made in the field of interactive textiles, exploring the aesthetics and emerging expressions of smart textiles rather than technical functionality. This paper reports on a collaboration between the Smart Textiles Design Lab at the Swedish School of Textiles, University of Borås, and designers and technicians at Kasthall, a company with a long tradition in producing hand tufted and woven high-class quality carpets.

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10. The Textile Form of Sound

Author: Cecilie Bendixen, The Danish Design School, Copenhagen, Denmark

Abstract: The aim of this article is to shed light on a small part of the research taking place in the textile field. The article describes an ongoing PhD research project on textiles and sound and outlines the project's two main questions: how sound can be shaped by textiles and conversely how textiles can be shaped by sound. The PhD project is a result of a common interest of the textile company Kvadrat, The Danish Design School and the Danish Ministry of Culture, which together have funded the research.

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11. The Benefit of Textile Design Research to the Textile Designer

Author: Bruce Montgomery, Northumbria University, UK

Abstract: If Textile Designers do not embark on and utilise textile research we will be left in a ‘sole less’ vacuum. The following article aims to show the benefit of textile design research to the textile designer. Textile design is increasingly complex and influenced by a number of factors such as ethical textiles, sustainability, fast versus slow fashion, new digital technology and science. It is therefore necessary for increased research by the textile designer into these areas in order to understand and gain knowledge that can be incorporated into the vast textile industry so that we produce the most relevant cloth and fabrics that satisfies both consumer and ethical requirements.

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Volume 1.1

What is Textile Design Research? Continued.

Published Spring 2013

As a continuation of the call for Volume 1 we are pleased to publish further contributions to this theme, which expand our understanding of what textile design research can be.

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Contents

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1.Investigation and interpretation: The work of the Drawing Research Group

Authors: Professor Pam Schenk and Professor Alison Harley School of Textiles and Design, Heriot Watt University, Scottish Borders Campus, Galashiels, TDI 3HF, United Kingdom

Abstract: As part of a review of research opportunities in the School of Textiles and Design, drawing was identified as being a key subject for investigation, with its traditional, crucial, role as a means of seeking inspiration and generating creative thinking being increasingly affected by the utilization of the digital applications which are transforming every aspect of textile design. The Drawing Research Group (DRG) was set up to encourage established interests in the School and to explore drawing both as a topic for textile design research projects and as a practice-based method of enquiry. Several research themes were identified to capitalize on the particular interests and practical skill-base within the group and the School’s unique historical and professional context, and these included the role of both observational drawing and copying in the reinterpretation of visual source material, particularly textile archives, and the creative potential of iterative links between drawing, design and production for knit and weave. Since its inception in 2011, various successful outputs have been achieved through the work of the DRG, including a significant contribution to a long-term study of the role of drawing in contemporary design, presentations at international conferences and exhibitions in international venues.

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ISSN: 2042-0854

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