Tuesday, 21 October 2014

This week I'm reading

A theory of craft: function and aesthetic expression - Howard Risatti

Reinventing textiles VOL 1 tradition and innovation - Sue Rowley

Reinventing textiles VOL 3 postcolonialismn and creativity - Paul Sharrad & Anne Collett

Interesting quotes and opinions:

"The relationship between craft and design. This relationship is important because the design profession, which rose to prominence in the wake of industrialised machine production, has transformed craft's fundamental relationship to function by taking over production of most of the functional objects of daily use ."

technology allows us to make things quick maybe with less creativity - book preface 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Proposal tutor feedback

Your work in the proposal demonstrates a broad but nonetheless promising sense of your critical questions related to textile design and post-modernity, as well as the concerns you have between forms and practices of hand-crafted vs. digitally crafted pattern design and (re)production and the complexities of how this fits in with post-modernity and I would also suggest with contemporary forms of nostalgia (we can see this pursuit of the nostalgic through the mass produced commodities of Kidston and Kiely).

 At this stage you should begin working towards a blog and a good sense of your literature searches / review and methodology – thus, try to expand on your initial thoughts and sophisticate your argument so that it demonstrates a critically informed understanding of the relationship between old and new textile design and techniques in design and perhaps contexts such as Kidston and Kiely aligned to campaigns, company logos, brandings strategies etc.; the possibilities are vast and it’s your job to isolate the best ones, for example a series of detailed examples from these designers / companies may work well towards a case study such as Liberty, series of instances to use for focus groups and detailed qualitative questionnaire.

 The contexts of textile design both as a tool and an ideological discourse to sell and communicate are also interesting and at times well-conceived but still rather obvious and general – A reconsideration of the social and cultural location and meanings of the topic will add depth and dimension to your approach. You will need to have a sound knowledge of some literature and I think at this stage an awareness of publications related to post-modernity (Frederic Jamesons work on parody and pastiche is obtuse and conceptual but excellent) and nostalgia are required. 

Now is the time to try to expand and develop this so that key texts bring to bear the research methods you suggest – Liberty will certainly give you an excellent historical and contextual grounding as will the history of Biba which is connected to Liberty. Also look at the work of Celia Birtwell which is very influential in light of the issues you are interested in. This will have to be well illustrated well in your research blog in ways which are imaginative yet realistic for the manageability of the project.  It is good that you have planned your aims, continue with this and try to do some research and field-work if you can, this will then allow you to open the argument to criticality and what you are saying could then be effectively ‘plugged into’ some of the theoretical work and original ways of thinking related not just to a potted history but an original critical intervention. The research methods and primary / secondary sources you begin to make are methodically supported but try to be as clear as you can about HOW you are going to go about this. Reading, listing keywords, collecting visual and textual clippings and data throughout summer will assist with this and create a dissertation proposal with far more clarity.  A promising topic though. Do not hesitate to get in touch if you need more advice.

Let's get started

Working title:

"Breaking away from tradition, an exploration of textile design within a post modern context."


The fast paced world of textile design is perceived as forever changing and evolving. In terms of advancements within technology, designers are able to achieve outcomes that once may have taken weeks in mere hours patterns and surface graphics can be created instantaneously using digital technology. Yet within a modernist discourse the connotations of the term 'craft' still convey a sense of tradition and resistance to change. Craft practices are viewed as being rooted in the past and therefore lacking in originality. At present within our current post modern culture the reiteration of 1950s/1960s style pattern design is deemed attractive to consumers with designers such as Orla Kiely and Cath Kidson as leading competitors. In consequence modern day textile design offers a fantastic subject area for exploration, particularly centralising on textiles within a post modern world. As a result this essay will address the issues of how a subject area rooted in the past can develop within a post modernist society and how with the aid of technology traditional crafting methods such as pattern design has been sped up and as a consequence how this affects the creative process and therefore its outcome and effect of design in our modern civilisation. Has new technology aided our creativity? or are we simply finding new ways to re-design what has already been done before.

Key aims of research:

1) To explore the concept of craft meaning tradition and how that effects the design process in regards to modern technology

2) To examine the way that patterns and prints are re-designed for a modern audience and wether this effects originality as all inspiration has to come from a source.

3) In contrast to the above discuss the alternative view and show the opposing side of the argument. With the aid of new technology surely we are able to create design deemed impossible before.

4) Lastly to be able to identify where textile design sits within our post modern view of design and conclude having answered this question.


Once I have handed in my initial proposal form I intend to continue to read and document my reference sources. For the first few weeks I intend to research and learn about my  chosen subject as much as possible in order to become comfortable writing about it with a high knowledge of my subject.

Next I feel creating a research blog may be one of the most effective ways to display all my sources and references in one place that can be easily edited. It will also be most efficient in documenting any digital  sources such as online journals and video content or links to web pages that can then be easily accessed. 

( I also think that a document containing quotes and page numbers from my research books would be highly beneficial when it comes to referencing.) 

Then I want to get my initial concept narrowed down to a more specific area of study to avoid my topic becoming too broad. I will make a list of key topics and points and focus on these areas.

I will then focus on identifying an effective method of primary information perhaps reaching out to textile designers or companies such as Liberty London 

I want to have as much initial back work  as I can completed before returning to University in September. This means having a clear idea of how I want my essay to be structured and have a good body of sources at my disposal.