New Digital Technologies for Textiles

TED recently attended a workshop at the Creative Industries Centre at Metropolitan Works in East London, to learn about the latest digital manufacturing technologies that are taking the design world by storm.

The largest laser-cutter in London is here as well as a water-jet cutter (image above) which can cut through steel, metals, glass ceramic. Most exciting was the 3D printing, or 'rapid prototyping' as it is called in the trade. You can 'print' or build objects using a nylon powder which solidifies, and this is mainly used to build prototypes and models. Acting like a 'bureau', all of these machines are available for designers and artists to try at a reasonable rate and you also get advice and help from very the knowledgable technicians.

My mind was racing as I tried to imagine all the possibilities for using this technology for textiles. Philip Delamore is one designer who has been experimenting with rapid prototyping, and he is currently working on a project called Evolving Textiles, exploring apporaches to creating body conforming textiles which combine 3D scanning, design and direct 3D manufacturing using laser sintering. The image shown above is a chain-mail textile which has been built using the rapid protoyping technology.


TED members at the Cutting Edge

TED members Rebecca Earley and Kate Goldsworthy have been included in a new book called Textile Designers at the Cutting Edge by Bradley Quinn which also includes many of TED's favourite designers!

The book examines the changing face of textile design and explores how recent developments within the field of textiles have presented new technical possibilities, with applications in fashion, architecture and interior design, making textile design a uniquely multi-disciplinary field of innovation and research.


Slow Textiles classes

Dr Emma Neuberg, a member of TED, is hosting a series of Slow Textile classes which will showcase her well-known theoretical approach to textile practice by offering participants both a 'how-to' and a theoretical framework to producing beautiful textiles.

The first class is called 'Extended Life Textile Techniques', and focuses on Chinese silk painting and embroidery. Emma will lead you through the the basics of Chinese floral symbols and teach you how to paint on paper and silk, finishing with some embroidery techniques.

Also planned is a Slow Textile Sewing Group, which will meet up regularly to sew and socialise.

I recently attended one of Emma's lectures to Stage 1 students here at Chelsea called Flora & Flight: the semiotiocs of naturalism in textile print and it was a fascinating analysis of the use of floral motifs in textiles and fashion, and the symbolism around abundance, fertility and nature which came out of our pre-industrial lifestyles.

Emma has her own practice involving the reappropriation of plastics into beautiful surfaces and textiles, but she also brings this rich and varied knowledge about design history, psychoanalysis and materials (among other things!). It is such an interesting mix and these textile classes are not something to be missed.

For more information on the classes and to book go to: http://www.slowtextiles.blogspot.com