Doublecloth: History, Technique, Possibilities.
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The aim of this research is to analyse through practical and historical investigation the manner in which Doublecloth in the twentieth century has been transformed from a traditional woven technique to one of artistic innovation and challenge. The first series of woven samples and historic enquiry concerns the structure and pattern of doublecloth at a time when its industrial and craft-based use was for the production of decorative and utilitarian woven fabrics. The research focuses on the extent to which this technique was given aesthetic credibility by its altered profile at the Bauhaus and the subsequent influence of the writings and work of Anni Albers. While the philosophy and products of the Bauhaus and the role of Walter Gropius have been documented and widely debated the practice of textiles, and the influence on it of gender, class and the hierarchical practice of craft, has received little critical attention. The research seeks to redress this imbalance, evaluating why the output of the textile workshops was undervalued artistically and considered marginal to the products from other workshops. This leads to a consideration of the interface between the practice of Fine Art and the practice of Craft, between designing and making, between art and industry. The woven samples are a process of experimentation against which the historic stages can be tested and the technical constraints of contemporary practice can be explained. This primary material leads to a consideration of the new technology and the impact of Nuno doublecloth fabrics on the production of doublecloth for the mass market. The evidence suggests that while new fabric finishes and experimental pattern effects are desirable, the difficulties of hand production are so prohibitive, that it is only with computer aided technology that such ambitions can be met
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