Sunday, 15 October 2017


My current project, and in fact the project I have been working on for over a year now, all started with a trip to France, to the Tissutheque textile archive at la Piscine art gallery Roubaix to be precise. Whilst there I came across a collection of beautiful hand-cut katagami; Japanese textile printing stencils. I went home, read up about katagami and found out about the craftsmanship involved in their construction. I was fascinated by the double layers and the network of supporting silk threads laminated between; the damaged examples providing both an insight into their construction but also creative inspiration.

katagami stencils at Tissutheque
Since then I have made another visit to Roubaix to study the stencils in more detail. I also embarked on a period of creative research and experimentation. Originally I didn't intend this to be so extensive or to continue for so long, but such is the case when there is an open ended brief.

More recently I have been experimenting with natural dyeing, printing and mordanting. Applying previous knowledge with exploration of techniques, combining them with other surface effects and generally taking an exploratory approach. I chose to take an impirical approach to sampling, noting down fibre composition,  testing a range of processes, and combinations of process. Whilst I can't claim to have been entirely scientific about it, this approach to the project has given me some structure which I was badly in need of.

dyed fabrics awaiting the next steps
As printed textiles are not my background it has been interesting to explore this area, and whilst I certainly don't feel I am an 'expert' I feel I have developed some competance; even if my enquiries have led to even more 'what if's' than I had before. I suppose this is the very nature of learning, that the more you learn, the more you realise there is to learn. Having some time to use the excellent screen printing workshop at Bradford School of Art has been a great benefit.

modifying dyed fabrics

screen printing through an open screen
Gradually building up layers of process and image my samples are pieces in their own right. Below you can see some of the work I have done most recently, using devore onto previously printed any dyed fabrics.

devore sampling - work in progress
dye, print, stitch and devore onto cotton/silk
multi-layered textile samples

My next steps involve putting the finishing touches to some samples and then working on their presentation for exhibition.

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