Playing with Paisley

26/08/2011

by Sarah Elwick

For my handling collection piece, I have been knee deep in research into Paisley patterns. These traditional shawls were very popular in the Georgian Era, are absolutely awe inspiring in terms of the complexity of the patterning and colour balance they achieved, often using very unusual and unexpected colour combinations. Although traditionally these would have been woven garments, I have explored how I can re-interpret these ideas in terms of knit structures, and also in combination with different printing techniques. Ways of printing on knitted fabrics was something I investigated during both my BA and my MA, and it has been brilliant to return to this way of working.

Shawl in progress on the Dubied knitting machine

Cutting the shawl off the comb

Colour testing in the dye lab for printing

On the heatpress

I have been very lucky to have the help of Jane Smith, the brilliant print technician at Winchester School of Art, whose knowledge of printing processes, and advice on how different fibres will potentially react to different processes, has been invaluable. I feel like I have only just scratched the surface here of what I want to achieve, but this process has enabled me to kickstart a whole new avenue of creative exploration.

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