Tuesday, 9 November 2010

london design week

In September I visited Tent London & 100% Design as part of London Design Week. My aims were to gauge the target market for 3D textile design (particularly knit), check out the competition and gain inspiration & direction for my Masters creative project.

Not holding out much hope on the knitting front I was amazed that the first thing that greeted me at the Truman Brewery entrance into Tent was the 'Giant Knitting Nancy' by Superblue Design.

More of a community project than a piece of textile art, this giant 3D structure combines creative participation with a growing seating and play area. Still food for thought on a grand scale for 3D knit design.

There were some amazing interiors products on display at both trade shows, but probably the two I felt were most relevant to me were that of Penelope Jordan (Tent) and Siwen Huang (100% Design).

Penelope Jordan creates textile art pieces. Her work combines colour, structure and three dimensional design through placing and folding "a variety of textiles in a controlled repetitive order".

Although my work has a very different aesthetic from Penelope Jordan's, I feel there is a similarity in both the ethos and the outcome. She too is interested in traditional craft skills and the making process, but brings a contemporary twist through her designs and use of materials.

Siwen Huang is a textile designer with a range fabrics that she describes as 'textile futures'. She specialises in collecting and redirecting light for pattern creation.

"I used reflective and flexible materials to create three dimensional optical surfaces, by laser cutting and hand finishing techniques. The finished pieces distort and redirect light as it hits the surface creating illusory and ambiguous surfaces."

It seems as though there is a very clear pattern emerging within the designers and exhibitions I am inspired by.  That of combining traditional and modern textile techniques, the repetitive order of designs and the creative use of light and shadow to form part of the design.

As far as my aims to gauge the target market went, it appears that there is a lot of interest in creating three dimensional textural surfaces, everything from fabrics to wallpapers to textile art. 
There were industrially knitted performance fabrics on show at 100% Design,  but no three dimensional innovative knitted fabrics for either fashion or interiors.


  1. Siwen Huang's work looks really interesting, very involved and developed. Although not knitted Hsio-chi Tsai's work reaminds me of the above both in colour and the 3d qualities they both possess!
    Great to be shown some inventive knitting.


  2. Great pics of Penelope Jordan's work! She is fab, isn't she?!

    I was lucky enough to interview her recently - check it out: http://confessionsofadesigngeek.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/interview-penelope-jordan/

    (I've also included a link to this blog in my post - hope you don't mind!)

    Katie x

  3. Great interview Katie and thanks for getting in touch...I've really enjoyed reading your blog! Keep an eye out for whatever comes from my creative project...it doesn't get much geekier than knitting maths! x

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