Make It Digital Textiles – blog review

This is a follow-up to an earlier post on the way digital technology and textile printing is fueling a wave of experimentation in textile design. I just heard from Melanie Bowles, a lecturer at the Chelsea School of Art in London, who produces a very interesting blog called makeitdigitaltextiles. She has recently co-authored a book on this topic as well, Digital Textile Design. The Make It Digital blog is a very useful resource for designers or anyone interested in textile or other digital design. The beautiful book shown above is not Bowles’ book, but a digital design resource book called Kapitza which I discovered on Bowles’ blog. “Each geometric pattern is built from ‘font shapes.’ The book comes with a CD of downloadable fonts so you can create endless pattern yourself.” Extremely useful! The blog also has an interesting post on Alexander McQueen, but most of the designers Bowles mentions were new to me. For example Glory Scarves out of Australia, see below, who use algorithmic design to automate the production of one-of-a-kind prints:

Fabulous digitally printed scarves from Australia show the changing look of printed textiles using a digital medium. Each scarf is created by entering an individual equation into a computer – creating a mathematically valid fractal – each scarf is therefore unique.

Finally, Bowles likes geometric and experimental patterns, and her blog is free from the more kitchen-y, crafty, neo-granny textile patterns that are proliferating in North America via the new digital printing services. It’s great that digital printing democratizes textile design and makes it affordable, but for me many of the results are disappointing, on this continent anyway. Bowles’ blog is not like that. Below is one of her own textile designs, a conflation of traditional Japanese shibori – which has always had a geometric component – and more mathematical design methods. Very well thought out and beautifully executed.

My recent work ‘Digital Shibori’ explores the parallels between traditional craft processes and digital technology and I have been looking at the ancient craft of Shibori which uses the techniques of stitching, knotting and folding fabric which is then dyed to achieve the organic patterning that it creates. I have translated these effects in Adobe Illustrator by manipulating graphic geometrics and experimenting with light effects, blends and folded pattern to create the essence of this traditional craft… the designs have been finally digitally printed onto organza and cottons to maintain the feeling of light.

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One Response to “Make It Digital Textiles – blog review”

  1. Genya Says:

    I am really happy I found this post. I was interested in finding out about digitally printed textiles and you put me to a good start. Thank you!

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