The Sampling Project - Making In Response to Archival Collections

2018-05-02T15:49:27Z (GMT) by Hannah Lamb

Textile archives are places filled with material narratives. Some archival artefacts hold fully documented, clearly identifiable stories, like a complete novel or biography, while other fragments of material are mere phrases. This incomplete narrative provided by historical objects offers great scope for creative enquiry and imaginative interpretation of archive material.

This research focusses on textile archive collections related to art and design schools in the UK and Europe and how they can be the catalyst for new research and practice in contemporary textiles. It explores a range of ways in which textile collections, and in particular Japanese katagami printing stencils, can inspire, inform and promote creative enquiry. The purpose of this work is to examine the historical textile archive collections and their relevance to creative practice and practice-based research through sampling and making.

Firsthand archival research was carried out by first at Tissuethèque archive, Roubaix, France and then at Bradford Textile Archive, Bradford College, Bradford, UK. Initial imagery and notes from discussions with colleagues was collected and developed through individual visual development in sketchbooks. Practical textile sampling explored a variety of different fibres, fabrics, natural dyes, mordants, screen print and stitch processes. This research was based on an empirical approach to testing of materials and processes, helping to highlight the importance of the sampling process to creative textiles practice. In this case sampling was a way of exploring material and technique, but also of better understanding the katagami stencils and how they relate to European printing and dyeing methods. The research highlights the importance of risk taking and the value of making mistakes to inform creative practice.