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Holly McQuillan: Weaving Multimorphic Textile-Forms


When Holly McQuillan began her PhD almost 5 years ago, she knew very little about the process of weaving or its potential to transform her research practice, which was primarily form-focused in the context of zero waste fashion design and pattern cutting. However, her experience at the Department of Design in the Swedish School of Textiles provided access to exciting technology and skillful colleagues, and combined with her inherent curiosity to lead to a body of research that operates at the boundary between weave thinking and form thinking, helping to grow the emerging field of textile-form (or 3D) weaving.

Holly came to weaving through her experience consulting with industry and researching zero waste design practices and pattern cutting. Like weaving, zero waste garment design is inherently an ancient practice that values textiles first and foremost. In contrast the fashion industry values speed and cost first. As McQuillan discovered during one of her PhD case studies, the industry would rather waste 4km of virgin textiles (on a single style and size for a season!), than add a single seam. In response, Holly’s research began to explore alternative systems of garment and form creation, coming to focus on textile-form weaving, which, like 3D (seamless and fully fashioned) knitting, enables the simultaneous and on-demand creation of textile and form.

The majority of 3D woven garments have been developed by textile designers, so Holly was interested to explore the potential of applying a zero waste form-making lens to the design of weave-able 3D forms. Beginning with simple t-shirt forms (one shown below), the experiments in McQuillan’s PhD, “Zero Waste Systems Thinking: Multimorphic Textile-forms”, progressively build a foundation of the textile-form thinking skills needed to construct these complex topologies.

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Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko: Talk & Conversation

Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko: Talk & Conversation
Online Event
Date: Tuesday 27 April 2021, 12:00-13:00 BST
Booking Essential; Admission Free. Click here for link

Join Japan House for a special online talk with pioneering textile designer Sudō Reiko whose innovative works are featured in Japan House London’s exhibition MAKING NUNO Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko.

As the Design Director of leading textile design firm Nuno and a member of the Japan Design Committee, Sudō Reiko is renowned for pushing boundaries of textile production and championing new methods of sustainable manufacturing.

During this talk she gives a special insight into the creative processes, craftmanship, techniques, and materials that are woven into her wide range of innovative textiles.

Following her talk, Sudō is joined by Anne Marr, Programme Director for Jewellery, Textiles and Materials at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London in a conversation chaired by Japan House London’s Programming Director Simon Wright.

There is an opportunity for registered guests to ask questions to the speakers during this live online event.

The exhibition MAKING NUNO Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko opens in the Japan House London Gallery on 17 May, subject to UK government guidelines. See previous post on The Weave Shed

 MAKING NUNO: Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko

Japan House London Launches Exhibition of Critically Acclaimed Textile Designer Sudō Reiko

MAKING NUNO Japanese Textile Innovation from Sudō Reiko is a brand-new exhibition adaptation presenting work by internationally acclaimed Japanese textile designer Sudō Reiko with projection installations designed by the exhibition’s artistic director, Saitō Seiichi of Panoramatiks (formerly Rhizomatiks Architecture).

Produced in collaboration with CHAT (Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) in Hong Kong, the exhibition expands on the successful show in 2019 curated by Takahashi Mizuki, Executive Director and Chief Curator of CHAT.

The free exhibition reveals how Sudō Reiko’s work pushes the boundaries of textile production with unconventional and sustainable materials and engineering techniques, working with manufacturers from across Japan

Featuring five large-scale installations combining NUNO textiles and art projections by leading technological designers Panoramatiks from Tokyo, shown for the first time in the UK, with supporting drawings and sketches, raw materials, design prototypes, and video.

Launches Monday 17 May 2021

Japan House London presents an exhibition showcasing the innovative work of textile designer Sudō Reiko. Running from 17 May ‒ 11 July 2021, this new exhibition, with art direction by Saitō Seiichi of Panoramatiks (formerly Rhizomatiks Architecture), shines a spotlight on the Japanese designer pushing the boundaries of textile production and championing new methods of sustainable manufacture.

Design Director of leading textile design firm NUNO for over 30 years, Sudō trained as a textile and industrial designer, and she designs fabrics that incorporate traditions of Japanese crafts with new engineering techniques and unusual combinations of materials. She works with materials as diverse as silk, hand-made washi (Japanese paper) nylon tape and thermoplastic, and technologies derived from Japanese hand craft traditions such as caustic burning, weaving and dying. Her inspiring designs are currently housed in collections around the world, including in MoMA in New York and in the V&A in London.

The exhibition at Japan House London includes five large-scale installations of Sudō’s work with the manufacturing processes brought to life by Saitō Seiichi’s artistic direction. Using a variety of thought-provoking processes from washi dyeing to chemical lace embroidery inspired by rolls of paper, each installation is accompanied by drawings and sketches, alongside raw materials and design prototypes.

Visitors to the exhibition encounter a series of installations that demonstrates the ways in which Sudō uses innovation and creativity to make steps towards building a more sustainable global textile production industry, with particular focus on the sustainability of materials, regional manufacturing industries and craftsmanship.

Sustainability of Material:
Explore how Sudō harnesses unconventional materials such as washi alongside textile techniques such as heating and bonding to create entirely original works.

Not to be missed, Kibiso Crisscross, a collaborative project with the Tsuruoka Textile Makers Cooperative, takes discarded kibiso, the protective outer layer of silk cocoons and uses a specially developed machine to create yarns from the tough remnants, creating the first step towards realising the ‘no-waste, use everything potential’ not previously seen in the silk industry.

Sustainability of Regional Manufacturing
Explore the origins of Sudō’s work, following her decades of work with family-run factories across Japan which specialise in different production techniques, collaborating with each to develop new, alternative production methods to push the possibilities of industrial machinery making and help revitalise these regional manufacturing hubs.

Sustainability of Traditions and Craftsmanship
Discover Sudō’s designs that revive old textile machines and Japanese craftsmanship on the verge of disappearing. Learn how she incorporates intricate craftsmanship into industrial textile production, collaborating with different experts and artisans along the way to help preserve craft heritage through upcycling and reinvention.

Sudō Reiko, Textile Designer and Design Director of NUNO:
“Japanese textiles are born of a long history, embracing both refined traditions of artistry and unparalleled high-tech materials. Since 1984, Nuno has collaborated with skilled local artisans all over Japan using a wide variety of different fibres and techniques to craft some 3000 different textiles. Among these are the richly textured maku partitions to be displayed in the centre of Japan House London’s ground floor. Much more than a mere ‘curtain’, these textiles afford entry into a visionary realm with a uniquely Japanese essence. Please step inside and be transported into our weaving wonderland.”

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Exhibition: Pushing The Limits | A Virtual Shaft Weaving Art Exhibition

Pushing the Limits is a virtual shaft weaving artwork exhibition curated by former European Textile Network ETN president -and always a weaver- Lala de Dios (Spain) and textile artist Olivier Masson (France) who has also engineered the exhibition.

Weaving is one of oldest human industries -if not the oldest- and many kinds of looms or weaving devices have been accompanying humankind since the beginning of times. From the backstrap to dobby looms, the history of weaving has been an uninterrupted succession of technological inventions until the arrival of the first Jacquard hand looms in 18th century France.  The rest is history. Today we are living the digital Jacquard loom era. Contemporary textile artists use this tool which allows for an -almost- unlimited freedom to weavers.

This should not hide the fact that many of today’s artists and designers are happily enjoying weaving in shaft looms as weavers have been doing for hundreds of years. Not only to weave the functional textiles so often associated with the machine, but also works of art ; from Anni Albers’ pictorial weavings to Peter Collingwood`s macrogauzes to quote only two well-known examples from the last century.

The exhibition aims to highlight the incredible possibilities of that supposedly limited “machine” to create textile pieces that are works of art in their own right. Continue reading →

Exhibition: Blanket Coverage

Celebrating the Heritage and Diversity of Weaving
Textile Designer & Artist Laura Thomas curates a long-awaited exhibition platforming contemporary woven design.

Blanket Coverage opens at Llantarnam Grange Arts Centre, Cwmbran, south Wales, on 28th November  – 30th January 2021, in a much needed review of how contemporary weavers continue to challenge the notions of this exciting and tactile art form.

The exhibition features 12 designers and businesses, from the very established to emerging names. Margo Selby, Wallace Sewell, Beatrice Larkin and Eleanor Pritchard are all handweavers who work closely with British mills to faithfully interpret their hand-rendered or handwoven designs into production. Catarina Riccabona and Maria Sigma are passionate advocates for sustainability through their handwoven practice, both producing blankets of true character without design compromise. Llio James and Sioni Rhys Handweavers, are Welsh handweavers of blankets cleverly combining colour and weave structure to create captivating patterns. Continue reading →

Art Quill Studio & Blog | Marie-Therese Wisniowski

Art Quill Studio: A website featuring glossaries & articles relevant to Textile Art

Marie-Therese Wisniowski works as a full time studio artist, researcher, author, curator, university lecturer and is the former co-editor of Textile Fibre Forum art magazine.

She is the Director of Art Quill Studio & Blog. Her first post on the Art Quill Studio blogspot was published on August 26, 2010 focussing on the first ArtCloth exhibition in Australia featuring international and national textile artists and was titled – ArtCloth: Engaging New Visions and featured important textile artists such as Norma Starszakowna (UK), Joan Schulze (USA), Joan Truckenbrod (USA), Cas Holmes (UK), Jane Dunnewold (USA) and Ken Kagajo (Japan) – amongst others. At the present time over 500 posts have been published.

At the outset Art Quill Studio blogspot was designed to educate as well as to entertain. The education posts were titled, Art Resource, under the header of the post. At the time of writing more than one hundred Art Resources have been published. These are mostly published in the first week of every month. In order to access these resources more quickly, in the ‘Preamble’ of every Art Resource post are links to all of the other Art Resource posts on the blogspot. Example:  One Hundreth Art Resource. Continue reading →

Shane Waltener: Weaving as Performance

Shane Waltener’s practice is rooted in ideas about ecology, sustainability and reuse. Taking the form of objects, installations and performances, Waltener draws inspiration from a range of craft practices ranging from textile and basketry weaving to needlecraft and ceramics. Weaving however is at the core of his work.

The artist shares anthropologist Tim Ingold’s view that making is a modality of weaving, not the reverse. Making anything, whether a building with bricks and mortar or verbal communication composing words into sentences is a weaving process. If art is a matter of organising chaos into pattern, the artist’s work is essentially that of a weaver.

Waltener champions the idea of weaving as an ‘embodied’ practice, one that engages the whole body. He is a member of Ambient Jam, an improvisation ensemble which explores movement and music with tactile sculptures. Working with them has led Waltener to use methods common to dance and movement practitioners, relying on improvisation as well as acquired routines and skills in order to develop work. The making process is then recorded as a performance score.

Exemplifying this way of working is his recent work with The Building Action Group (BAG) during his residency at Academie Minerva in Groningen, The Netherlands; the third and final project in a programme following Hella Jongerius and Anotonio José Guzman. In response to the earthquakes caused by gas mining in the province of Groningen, that led to more than 100 collapsed buildings, 400 more being condemned and some 100,000 people being displaced since the early 1990s, the artist proposed to weave a house entirely from locally sourced soil and plant material. Continue reading →

Online Exhibition: Complexity 2020 | Innovations in Weaving

Complexity 2020 | Innovations in Weaving

Complex Weavers is an international organisation of weavers dedicated to expanding the boundaries of handweaving. The group encourages members to develop their own creative style, and to inspire others through research, documentation, and innovative ideas.

Its members challenge their skills and imagination by sharing information and innovations with fellow weavers worldwide – both directly and through study groups, Seminars, Complex Weavers Journal, and biennial juried exhibition Complexity.

Every two years members are invited to submit new work for jurying, and the final selections are formally exhibited to the public as Complexity. This year the physical exhibition planned for Knoxville, Tennessee, has been replaced with a virtual exhibition, which has the added benefit of being accessible to a world-wide audience.

The show presents recent textile creations that bear within them some form of complexity, whether they have been woven on a dobby, treadle, table or Jacquard loom. All were made by hand and designed by humans, and all exhibit technical excellence. Complexity 2020 opens at midday on 29 June 2020. Continue reading →

Cockpit Arts: Festival of Making

Cockpit Arts will be hosting their annual Festival of Making event from Friday June 19thJune 21st 2020. Running over three days, this free virtual celebration will feature 65 events run by over 80 of London’s leading makers. The festival is taking place across Zoom, Instagram and Facebook.

Featuring a range of workshops, panel discussions, live demos and studio tours, all led by some of London’s most exciting makers. Three woven textile artist and designers will be delivering the following exciting events across the weekend:

Friday June 21st  at 7pm Nadia-Anne Ricketts, an award winning woven textile designer, invites you to ‘Tune In’ to a live virtual immersive, meditation sound bath experience, where you’ll be taken on an inward exploratory journey to the field of infinite creative possibilities, by playing the sound vibrations of the gong woven into the frequencies of crystal bowls

Saturday, 20th June at 12pm. Vicky Cowin invites you to virtually visit her Deptford studio. You will see  Vicky’s loom and hear about her experience as one of several Cockpit makers supported by a Clothworkers’ Company Award.

Sunday, 21st June at 12pm. Weaver Kendall Clarke, working from home in a temporary studio, will show you how you can discover local colour from your doorstep in this introduction to natural dyes from summer plants, weeds and leaves. Continue reading →

Online Exhibition: Material Textile | Modern British Female Designers

Material: Textile is an online exhibition of historically important and highly collectable textiles by some of the most important Modern female designers working in Britain. Brought together for the first time – and offered as an online and virtual exhibition by The Messums Wiltshire, with an accompanying catalogue and podcast – the exhibition highlights the relevance of these mid-century textiles and the vital role they played in the evolution of taste and culture. It offers us all a unique insight into the artistic vision and originality of these women.

Britain’s history is intricately woven together with the history of textiles and never more so than following the Second World War. This exhibition celebrates the bold vision of the leading lights of 1950s – 70s textile design and introduces their iconic work to new collectors.

Throughout the period the designs created by an inspired group of women artists including Lucienne Day, Marian Mahler, Jacqueline Groag, and later Barbara Brown and many more, brought modern and contemporary art into the home, making it quite literally a part of the furniture.

Many of the textiles on show – produced by Heals, David Whitehead and Hull Traders – sit within collections including The V&A and The Whitworth. They have also featured in exhibitions worldwide in recent years and in publications on the history of the evolution of textiles and the textile industry, and our catalogue includes essays by preeminent historians Lesley Jackson and Mary Schoeser.

Text & Images: Messums Wiltshire website. Top image: Calyx Blue, 1951, Lucienne Day. Bottom image: Mezzanine Yellow, 1958,Lucienne Day