On Tuesday 24th of February I went to Coleg Sir Gar for the launch of the Textiles Technology Project phase 2, with Michelle and her two apprentices.
The project enables small businesses working within textiles to gain access to the technology and equipment available at the College and associated institutions. This included CAD software, Jacquard loom, Gerber Technology, laser cutting and much more.
The project is also supporting Research and Development into new textiles technologies and innovation. A talk was given by Alan Davies on the funding available from the Welsh Government for research and development for small businesses.
The keynote speaker was Prof. Chris Carr, Professor of Textile Technology at University of Leads. His talk was on whether textiles manufacture was viable in the UK and the factors that contribute to it. This was highly insightfully and I learnt more about the manufacturing process.
The launch was a great opportunity to network with other small textiles companies in Wales. I was able to talk to many people such as Andrew Davison from Furtech, Nicola Ridd-Davies from Toast and get to know the staff at the college.
Furtech website; http://www.furtech.co.uk/
The work placement I have organised for this module is at the Resist Gallery and Studio with Michelle Griffiths. I first met Michelle when she gave a lecture on her work for the University last year. I was really interested in what she was doing and wanted to learn more. I thought this work placement would be a great chance to learn some new skills and techniques within textiles as well as learning about the gallery and business side of things.
Getting my own studio space is something I have considered doing after I graduate so I have taken this opportunity to find out what it would be like and whether it is something I want to pursue.
During the first day of my work placement I got to know the people I will be working with and was introduced to the building I will be working in for the next month.
We also went through all the important Health and Safety notices for the building and the work we will be doing over the next month. Specialised equipment will require a separate briefing as and when I need to use it. I was shown where all the fire escapes and extinguishers are in case of an emergency. The required paperwork also had to be filled out for insurance purposes. Although not the most exciting first day it helped me to settle in and also showed me the way Health and Safety works in business, this will prove very useful when I get a job or set up my own business. It is especially important within textiles as you will often be using harmful chemicals, hot equipment and machinery.
We also discussed the planned work for the next month, where I was able to contribute any ideas or preferences. This lead me to being really excited and ready to get stuck into working for and contributing to the company.
Michelle’s website can be found at: http://www.shibori.co.uk/index.html
For my last few samples I wanted to try something more difficult and complex. I started off with the idea of a camel. They are very important in Moroccan culture and I was lucky enough to have a ride on one during the week in Marrakech. This time I have added blue wool inspired by the blue buildings at the Majorelle Gardens. I planned out the design on paper before translating this onto a rug.
This design worked well so I decided to try out other ideas, I chose a Moroccan teapot. Tea is very important in Morocco much the same as it is in Briton. To me it symbolises how welcoming and friendly the culture is.
For the first sample I was just practicing the technique, I also tried various different methods to see what is the best. The first section is done by knotting all of the warp, however the wool was too thick so the rug was too bulky. So I changed to knotting every other pair of warp threads. This works much better than the first attempt. I started off using string for the warp as it needed to be strong.
For the second sample I added symbols that represent aspects of my week in Morocco. This worked really well however I need to plan the design out in more detail. I also experiemented with the number of rows of weft between the rows of knots.
For the next sample I experimented with the warp threads to see if wool would work. I also experimented with the design. The zig zags represent the Atlas Mountains that act as a backdrop to Marrakech, we often saw the mountains from terrace restaurants. The squares represent the Riad we stayed in, traditional Riads have a central courtyard with rooms looking in.
I did lots of research on rug making and looms before I attempted to make one. I looked at lots if books as well as the internet to gain information before attempting to make a rug. I looked into the different types of looms as well as different types of knot.
These are some key bits of research.
Notes on Carpet Knotting and Weaving – Victoria and Albert Museum 1969
Rug Weaving – Klares Lewa and Helen Hutton 1962
Rug Making Techniques and Design by Mary Allard. Sir Isaac Pitman and Son Ltd 1963