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Crafting innovation: The intersection of craft and technology in the production of contemporary textiles

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This article has grown from a programme of practice-led research entitled ‘Structural Textiles: Adaptable Form and Surface in Three-Dimensions’. In this research traditional textile craft practices centred on hand making have provided an essential foundation from which to develop deployable textile structures that have customizable behavioural properties. The article investigates the importance of touch in acquiring understanding of textile artefacts and the significance of this tactile acquisition of knowledge in the process of textile production. In such practice, innovation is generated through the maker’s creative responses to unforeseen behaviours of both process and material. However, the research also has also drawn on CAD/CAM technologies that enable the creation of designs and products with increased accuracy and complexity but reduce or remove instances of handcrafting in the making process. The article considers how sensory information gained through touch and the embodied knowledge that this generates can be preserved as part of contemporary textile practice whilst exploiting the potential of CAD/CAM and other automated processes to create complex and innovative outcomes.

Keywords: CAD/CAM; embodied knowledge; hand making; innovation; practice-led research; textiles

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Loughborough, UK

Publication date: 2012-05-04

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