Ann Richards – Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves

Just add water -  textiles that shape themselves

Weaving Textiles That Shape Themselves sounds like a contradiction in terms, but this sets out to show how textiles can do precisely that: shape themselves. Good design, in any medium, cannot simply be imposed – it depends also on what materials and structures can do. The designer may choose what elements to put together, but their subtle interplay will determine what happens, sometimes in surprising ways. Woven textiles show this ’self-organizing’ tendency to an extreme extent, especially when there are strong contrasts of material and structure. Textures emerge during wet finishing, as fibre, yarn twist and weave structure interact. The most dramatic effects are possible with high-twist (crepe) yarns and these form the main of the book.

Crepe yarns can create their three-dimensional effects because the stress of the spinning process gives them a lot of energy. This is released when the fabric is washed – as water is absorbed, spiralling movements of the yarns form crinkles and pleats, giving highly textured, elastic fabrics. Yarn twists and weaves can also be varied across the fabric, so rectangular pieces change shape when washed. ‘Loom-to-body’ clothing, needing minimal cutting and sewing, can emerge from a simple change of yarn or structure – textiles really can shape themselves.

Textiles by a variety of designers and artists are included – Junichi Arai, Reiko Sudo, Ann Sutton, Lotte Dalgaard and many others.

The book is published by Crowood Press ( Price: £25.

There will be a book launch/exhibition at Handweavers Studio in London on Thursday 17th May 2012. This will be a joint event with Lotte Dalgaard, whose book “Magiske Materialer” (published in Danish in 2006) will come out this year in an English Edition (“Magical Materials To Weave”). Textiles included in both books, together with new work, will be on display.

Handweavers Studio and Gallery
140 Seven Sisters Road
London N7 7NS

For details of the location and more information about this event see the website:

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