Saturday, 30 October 2010

liz collins

Liz Collins is an American designer and artist who combines machine knitting with techniques of fabric manipulation to create wearable art pieces.

Whilst studying for her degree she came across the idea of 'knit grafting', a technique of hanging fabric from the latch needles during the process of machine knitting. This technique has allowed her to layer and fuse varying fabrics into her designs, creating sculptural forms over a tightly knitted bodice.

"It was a form of alchemy - turning simple cones of yarn into three dimensional, multilayered, and wearable pieces in a very short time frame."
The idea of constructing a multilayered and multi textured fabric is an interesting one. Like Sandra Backlund, Collins also says that the fabric itself is of 'perpetual ongoing inspiration' to her.

I like the way that Collins manipulates form whilst the knitting is still on the machine, building the garment and the fabric simultaneously.

One of my points of research is to look at the different ways in which I could construct shapes, other than by altering the surface of the fabric. I am interested in the way seams could be joined and moved to alter form, creating shapes from a single piece of fabric and examining contouring, shaping and placement within this theme. The technique of 'fabric grafting' is not unknown to me, and is a definite point of interest when thinking of alternative ways to join seams.

Collins is also known for working with experimental materials, something else I am keen to research on this MA. She is quite strategic in her methods, taking advantage of the natural stretch in the knitting, working with complimentary and contrasting fabrics to create shape, volume and silhouette.

Looking at this designers work has made me think a lot about the types of yarns I am using, and the possibilities and differences I could create within a technique by using high or low twist yarns, or by using a combination of natural and manmade fibres to experiment with shrinkage or expansion in the natural elements when heated or washed.

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