1 – Research the work of some digital textile practitioners using a secondary process in their work.
HELEN AMY MURRAY – an established textiles designer working with hand crafted sculptural textiles has recently started to incorporate digital textiles into her work to offer new possibilities for her work. This chair combines the hand cut leather work that Helen Murray is known for and also includes a digital print of a “Two headed bird”
REBECCA EARLY – a designer I use as an example regularly has now started to use digital processes in her work by scanning and collaging the hand created photograms ready to print to heat transfer paper. For her the digital process is secondary after she has hand created her photograms.
JOANNA FOWLES – creates shibori effects with the traditional hand crafted process and then manipulates with Photoshop before printing onto to silk using digital printing. Digital craft happens after hand creation and then reverts to hand crafted again.
Ref – http://www. joannafowles.com
MELANIE BOWLES – this designer uses digital printing as the secondary process as she first creates shibori resist prints by hand and then they are scanned and printed digitally before being made into scarves and other wearable items.
EMAMOKE UKELEGHE – Her imagery and designs are influenced by her Nigerian background to produce digital and screen prints with a contemporary pallet for redefining decorative items for wall space, interiors, chairs and cushions.
EALISH WILSON – uses her digital camera as a sketchbook recording her daily experiences and inspiration which are then manipulated in computer software before being printing digitally. After all this digital preparation and production she then embarks on the labour intensive craft of smocking and so utilizing a traditional craft as a secondary process with a contemporary angle by using plastic cable ties.
PAT HODSON – I have long admired the mixed media work of this artist as her practice embraces new technologies and materials to create a fusion between textiles and graphic arts, and furthermore, she combines both hand skills and digital technologies, swapping between the 2, using natural and manmade substrates.
She records her ideas digitally through the use of her digital camera along with sketchbooks but then uses the flexibility of computer software to alter imagery to suit her ideas.
Red Series – In this series the artist has created a collection of artist’s books to celebrate the colour red using visits to Iceland and Arizona as her inspiration. To achieve the intensity of colour she has utilised digital drawing and printing techniques as well as other processes like stitching and hand drawn mark making after they have been printed.
In another set of works, various ways of using digital methods alongside other techniques have been explored, each offering different outcomes.
“Web”– uses digital laser cutting as a secondary technique onto dye printed Polyester ( there is no mention of the technique but I feel this is likely to be sublimation printing with a heat press onto Lutradur, being a spun web-textured polyester “fabric”)
“Iceland shift” is also cut by laser, I imagine this is digitally programmed and is cut from digitally printed Polyester again.
“Unfold, white” – rather than digitally cutting the polyester uses hand cut methods but still on to a dye printed Polyester substrate.
The last in the series, which does not have a title, the work is described as being digitally printed onto Polyester. I am not sure what is really meant by this as it appears to be acetate but none the less it is an interesting way to present imagery as a transparent book.
Transparence series – This is Pat’s most current workwhere she has explored ideas of laser engraving pattern, sublimation printing and textural contrasts onto polyester film resulting in patterns interacting with others from previous and following pages.
Her use of digital technologies does not end with the production of her work as she takes full advantage of what it has to offer. She has produced a digital eBook of her collaborative work in Iceland called “Iceland Stories” which was created using digital and hand methods. But even before this digital version of the work, she and her fellow artists with whom she worked collaboratively with for the Art in the Freezer project used a digital notebook for the 3 of them to contribute their thoughts, experiences and ideas.
2 – How can digital textiles be combined with more traditional craft techniques to create new layers of meaning?
As someone who is new to the idea of “digital craft” I am beginning to see the possibilities that it has to offer but I am also adamant that it should never replace hand skills. When designing the repeats I felt uncomfortable by the regularity of the image and then it dawned on me thatif I felt like this when using a scanned image of something hand drawn how would I feel if I created artwork only with Photoshop. To combine the two is to use the best of the two by recognizing their individual qualities. Creation by hand and then digitally processed for mass production or to maintain repetition quality for example. Or taking advantage of the digital reproduction qualities of a full and almost limitless colour range , tonal values and textures that could never realistically be achieved through screen printing and then to further enhance them through hand skills to bring it back from something so commercial. Some processes, however, are so unique to digital design that they can never be achieved by any other means, laser cutting, laser engraving for example and these should be embraced but trying to maintain a connection to hand skills for anything other than commercial production. One strong advantage of digital designing is the speed at which a repeating design can be altered in terms of scale and colourways and then in production terms, the speed at which it can be produced, no minimum meterage unlike screen printing and of course its environmental impact of being “so clean” with minimum waste and resource usage. But to achieve that depth of meaning when utilizing both crafts there must always be combinations of techniques to complement and enhance each other.
3 – What are the possible advantages and disadvantages of collaborative work between artists and designers with differing skill sets or working preferences?
I feel there are more advantages than disadvantages when working collaboratively with another designer/artist who can offer a different set of skills. All creative artists enjoy learning new skills but will never know about every technique and process, and certainly not comprehensively. This is very true with digital processes as new technologies develop rapidly so it would be hard to maintain knowledge in all disciplines. By working collaboratively a designer can draw on the knowledge and experience of the other to implement new ideas and works towards the creation of something innovative that might otherwise not have been explored. With regards to disadvantages a possibility maybe the extremes of ideas and not finding some common ground but I would assume that compatibility and objectives would have been considered beforehand.