The class this week focused on exploring techniques and applications of technical textiles in the industry and our Global Instructor was Anastasia Pistofidou.
We were introduced to the idea of designing custom processes that need a set of tools, a few processes and a consistent workflow. We looked at applications and we experimented with many materials and machines.
- Composites like Bio-composites and Textile Composites
- Bio Resin and Resin to create compact fabric composites that can later be milled
- Veneer, wood and fabric connected using glue to create geometric surfaces
- using Borax, Rochelle salt, Potasium sodium, Epsom Salt, Sugar to make the crystals)
- Fabric formwork
- Concrete and Plaster
- Vacuum bags and vacuum machine.
Each student can use a different technique to make a prototype of a technical textile application
For this assignment you will require to build up your tools (container for molds, vacuum bag set up, frames, matrix, recipients) and process for your workflow. You may use any machine of the fab lab, laser cutter, 3D printer, CNC milling or make it manually. Tip: Give special importance to 3D dimensional geometries you are making and the technique you are using to create them.
I was really drawn to the idea that I could use fabric to create a form for a tough-wearing material like concrete, plaster or resin. My volunteer work with Architecture for Humanity UK has led me to be involved with so many interior and construction projects and roles, that combining the two seemed to really fit.
Being a lover of zero waste ideas, I have a stash of fabric remnants and offcuts, so I used these to start experimenting.
I also wasn’t sure if the fabrics needed to be coated with something first to resist being permanently attached to the fabrics. This let me to experiment with two materials, wax and air-drying clay.
Initial one-off tests
I first being to sew samples in jean material and cotton poplin, then I melted wax and painted it into the fabric surfaces. This would hopefully act like a barrier when pouring in a material which was due to harden like concrete of plaster, but it also gave the unexpected advantage of being able to form and set the fabric in the shape that I wanted it to be.
The same happened with the air-drying clay; first I wet the fabric then I massaged the wettish clay into the fabric. When the fabric dries, it creates a kind of dusty texture like a talcum powder, so this also seemed a worthy test to have done.
I used the ideas of each of these to create more shapes and fabric forms over the week. They also led me to look at the sub-topics separately, and so I have created 3 separate posts below.
Knitted Fabric formation with concrete > Post details here
Part 1 – Concrete with knitting impressions
Part 2 – Removing the knitted casing
Part 3 – Other Concrete fabric formations
Textile composites using Vacuum forming and Milling > Post details here
Part 1 – Bio resin made with gelatin
Part 2 – Resin and vacuum
Part 3 – Design and Milling
Structural Windings and Crystals > Post details here
Part 1 – Preparation & structure
Part 2 – Crystallisation: Creating the Alum solution and growing the crystals on the structure
Part 3 – Giant Crystals: Growing the crystals on the structure