Gina Pierce

Studio 23: A Common Thread

Studio 23: A Common Thread

Studio brief

‘A common thread’ has a dual meaning, functioning as a way into look at a ‘material’ that is so intrinsic to our everyday life, that it has become overlooked because of its ubiquity. However, the many references in our language, ‘a stitch in time’, ‘fabric of society’, ‘spin a story’, indicate how deeply rooted the history and use of textiles is in our culture and history.

The studio will explore aspects of how we interact with textiles. Firstly, we'll look at the textile industry in design, trade, history, architecture and issues involving sustainability and ethical use.

Secondly, we'll use the textile metaphor to weave an argument, follow a thread through, stitch together, and patch the pieces into a dissertation.

In the Greek myth, Theseus escaped the Minotaur by leaving a thread, given to him by Ariadne, through the maze, so he could find his way back out. This is an example not only of how we might underestimate the strength and power of an everyday object, but also of how deeply embedded into our culture are the links with textiles.

Summer preparation:

  • read the Greek myths
  • visit the El Anatsui Bottletop Textile in the British Museum
  • photograph six textiles that have either emotional meaning for you, are used in an usual context, are used in a building or are used with a non-aesthetic function.

Outline the first seven weeks of study

The first seven weeks will be looking at the way in which we use and interact with textiles, looking at practicalities, concepts and contexts. This overview, applicable to all course disciplines, will involve lectures, trips and tutorials. We will be using case study examples to demonstrate different methodologies to suit both textile students and those from all other areas.

  1. Introduction
  2. Materials library
  3. Discussion/presentation
  4. Archive visit
  5. Tutorials
  6. Dissertation planning, presentation
  7. Tutorials

Reading list

  1. Sarah E. Braddock Clarke, Techno Textiles 2: Revolutionary Fabrics for Fashion and Design, London: Thames and Hudson, 2005
  2. Kate Fletcher, Sustainable fashion and textiles: design journeys, Routledge, 2014
  3. Bradley Quinn, Textile visionaries: innovation and sustainability in textile design, Laurence King, 2013
  4. Thomas Schröpfer, Material design: informing architecture by materiality, Birkhäuser, 2011
  5. Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Penguin, 1992


Tutor Gina Pierce

Tutor Biography

Gina Pierce

Teaches on the BA (Hons) Textile Design

Gina Pierce's work seeks to celebrate the very small, the overlooked, neglected and forgotten details of everyday life and our surroundings.

Dissertation Studios

Studio 1: Another India

Harriet McKay

Studio 1: Another India will examine, reflect upon and critique the historic use of "exotic" motifs in design.

Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry

Christina Paine

Studio 3: Music is the Weapon: Performance, Culture and the Music Industry is an exploration of race, gender, class and more in music.

Studio 4: What Not to Wear?

Emma Davenport

Studio 4: What Not to Wear? will investigate the roles that dress and fashion play in our workplaces.

Studio 5: Imperfect Theories

Ektoras Arkomanis

Studio 5: Imperfect Theories allows you to critically examine any work that can be seen as theory or presents an interesting relationship with theory.

Studio 6: Curating Contemporary Art: From the Wunderkammer to Installation art

Nico de Oliveira

Studio 6: Curating Contemporary Art examines the impact of curatorial practice on art.

Studio 7: Fashioning culture: clothing and the shaping of identity

Dr Lesley Stevenson

Studio 7: Fashioning culture will examine critically the links between fashion, clothing and identity.

Studio 8: Pleasure, Excess and Dirt

Edwina Attlee

Studio 8 explores ideas of category, definition, identification and belonging through the examination of a series of objects and behaviours that appear to be in the wrong place instead of the right place.

Studio 9: The Continuing Lives of Objects

Danielle Hewitt

Studio 9: The Continuing Lives of Objects uses debates about change and preservation explore ideas within architecture.

Studio 10: Critical Theory and Critical Design. Artefacts, Images, Sites, Processes in Graphics and Illustration

Dipti Bhagat with Christopher Emmett

Studio 10 requires deep commitment and completion of critical theory and design for graphic design and illustration.

Studio 12: London Walking

Clare Qualmann

Studio 12: London Walking looks at walking as a mode of creatively appropriating the city, with particular attention to our own city, London.

Studio 14: All in the best possible Taste

Dr John Cross

Studio 14: 'All in the best possible Taste' examines the historical influencers of taste, style and fashion.

Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas

Lewis Jones

Studio 15: Music, Technology and Ideas encourages you to explore how and why we make music, including its origin, relationship to technology and more.

Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling

Jon Baldwin

Studio 16: Narrative and Storytelling will see you produce storygraphs, storyboards and various forms of narrative analysis in the seminars.

Studio 17: Knowing Audiences

Jeremy Collins

Studio 17: Knowing Audiences will encourage you to study an audience group using qualitative research methods in your investigations.

Studio 19: Material in Motion

Heidi Yeo

Studio 19: Material in Motion will explore why an audience will put time, money and thought into acquiring an object.

Studio 20: Image ethics: Form, meaning and context

Dr Nick Haeffner

Studio 20: Image ethics: Form, meaning and context explores the aesthetics of the image and its role within fantasy, desire and social memory.

Studio 21: The Nonsensical Realm III

Joseph Kohlmaier

Studio 21: The Nonsensical Realm is a cross-disciplinary studio. This year it will engage with the idea of metaphor in art, architecture, design and music.

Studio 22: Meaningful work

Paul Harper

Studio 22: Meaningful work explores the value of making and the idea of craft as meaningful work.

Studio 23: A Common Thread

Gina Pierce

Studio 23: A Common Thread examines the relationship between textiles and everyday life, including its design, trade, sustainability and more.

Studio 24: Words in Space

David Price

Studio 24: Words in Space reflects on the role that words play in our visual world, performative spaces and the urban environment.

Cass Studios archive by year