Studio 23: A Common Thread

Studio brief

A Common Thread

Textiles surround us, but we are so familiar with their being part of the fabric of our society, we take them for granted. However, our sayings and stories demonstrate how they have woven their way into every part of our lives. In A Common Thread, we unpick and examine the importance of textiles and how they underpin culture, industry and global connections. We ask if the significance of textiles is overlooked and underrated because of their ubiquity, or because of their association with the feminine and domesticity.

This studio can support the Final Major Project by providing the opportunity to research in depth into the topic associated with practical work.

In the taught sessions we make a study of textiles, focusing on the following research themes:

  • Textile as narrative
    Our clothes, furnishings and domestic textiles can hold memories of family life, special events and cherished dreams, and we keep them for the stories they can tell. Meanwhile, textiles in archives can tell us about the lives of those who have vanished into history, but their clothing and possessions give an insight into their world.
  • Textile leading sustainability
    The global scale of textile production has forced the industry to address issues of pollution, sustainability of resources and worker conditions. With increasing public pressure, some of the most forward-thinking initiatives are emerging in the textile industry with transparency of production, the circular economic model and recycling all addressing the problem.
  • Textile as art and process
    The worlds of textiles, art and craft practices have areas of commonality which make for interesting study. We look at the concepts of perception and ‘value’ placed on craft and art in textile, and ask where skills and traditions belong in these hierarchies. 
  • Textile in architecture… and space
    Tents and fabric structures have existed for many years as portable and flexible housing. Yarns form fishing nets, ropes, suspension bridges, lift cables. Today the benefits of fabrics, yarns and textile construction techniques are appreciated in the most contemporary and forward-thinking architecture and smart textiles.

Indicative bibliography

  1. Sarah E Braddock Clarke and Marie O'Mahony, Techno Textiles 2 (Thames & Hudson, 2005)
  2. Jessica Hemmings, The Textile Reader (Berg, 2012)
  3. Jeffries, Wood Conroy & Clark (Eds), The Handbook of Textile Culture (Bloomsbury 2016)
  4. Marie O'Mahony, Advanced textiles for health and wellbeing (Thames & Hudson, 2011)
  5. Bradley Quinn, Textile Visionaries: innovation and sustainability in textile design (Laurence King, 2013)
Photograph of a collection of textiles.


Tutor Gina Pierce

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