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Visions for Future Manufacturing through a Reflective Craft Practice

By Kate Goldsworthy


My research into the development of new finishing processes for fully closed-loop textiles included a period of intense experimentation during 2008 with a new laser-welding technology, based at TWI Cambridge. As a textile designer who trained in print-making, my aim was to produce new aesthetic surface qualities through controlled laser-manipulation, while my interest in sustainable innovation required me to preserve the monomaterial nature of the textile and so its recyclability. Many traditional finishing processes fail to achieve both. The approach was a practice-based ‘craft approach’ to exploring the technology, and tacit knowledge was developed though hands-on interaction with the materials over time. Periods of ‘problem seeking and solving‘ evolved through intuitive and reflective decision making. Scrivener (2002) writes; ‘If we are to give greater attention to the process of creative production, then this should focus on the recording and reporting of these moments of reflection, including intended and unintended consequences and responses to them.’ In this case the systematic recording of making and reflection emerged as a visualisation and mapping process. Methods were developed from standard creative record-keeping such as a ‘technical sketchbook’, while other aspects derived more from an increasing understanding of research methodology and mapping. This visual response to and communication of the process of making alongside the making itself was key to moving the work forward and clarifying both the problem and the solution. The techniques developed during this project have led to numerous further explorations of the technology and an evolving understanding of how it could be the basis for developing a new vision for 21st century digital production which places materiality and aesthetics alongside sustainability and invention. This paper will explore the opportunities for intuitive craft methods to offer a meaningful contribution to such developing technologies

Topics: Pattern Making, Textiles Technology, Clothing Production, Design Practice, Clothing/Fashion Design, Textile Design, Crafts
Year: 2014
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Provided by: UAL Research Online
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