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Silver as Dye

posted on 2020-03-09, 17:04 authored by Sara Keith

The transference of skills and design thinking from one discipline to another is often unconscious in the language of a textile practitioner, with fluid magpie like assimilation of materials and techniques from many other fields both within the dialect of the visual arts and beyond, to seemingly unrelated industries.

This practice examines a combination and range of skills more commonly associated with those of a Japanese artisanal dyer to those of a jeweller or engineer. During this body of work the adoption of dye techniques was an already familiar practice and therefore a natural solution to the challenge of changing scale; absorbing meters of textiles to the intimate scale of electroplating equipment.

The act of playing with unaccustomed materials, in this case silver, demanded a reexamination and adaption of a familiar making process. In turn this opened a series of “what if’s”. The aspect of play (or ideation in the world of design thinking) is a vital process and too often impatiently overlooked by students seeking a more immediate result. This practice interrogates and values this aspect of the design process, particularly at the intersection of interdisciplinary practice.

Futurescan 4: Valuing Practice Exhibit

University of Bolton

23-24 January 2019

Photographs by Tony Radcliffe and Di Downs.