Crafting Photonics

‘Crafting Photonics’ is a mini collection of textiles comprising of eight textiles entitled: Nexus, Sylvan, Plica, Cusp, Iota, Mote, Chimera and Annex. All textiles were woven via the Dobby loom except the latter two which were woven via Jacquard. This interdisciplinary research is explored via the perspectives of the designer and the researcher.

Existing photonic textiles research and development are limited to an exploration of textiles woven in plain and Jacquard weaves which mainly explores flat, patterned and soft dimensional structures due to the fragile and brittle nature of polymeric optical fibers (POFs). The resultant textiles often offer a sleek and defined appeal.

This body of work is distinct from existing research as it utilizes a synergy of hi-tech and lo-tech approaches to create interactive photonic textiles which possess artisanal and tactile qualities. It challenges the preconception of textiles for wearable technology application as only possessing futuristic inspirations. It an alternative craft appeal which is yet to be explored in photonic textiles research.

Nexus, Sylvan, Plica, Cusp, Iota and Mote were woven on the Dobby loom. Within the context of this research, the Dobby loom offers creative flexibility as each integrated weft yarn can be of different thicknesses. Machine looms require yarns of similar quality thus creating a more uniformed design; the Dobby loom is capable of crafting bolder structures and obvious textures. The rustic quality of the textiles was achieved using coarse wool yarn on the warp and a mixture of fancy yarns and polymeric optical fibers (POFs) on the weft. The fancy yarns used includes: slub yarns, , high twist yarns with Lurex, organza ribbons, metallic Ric Rac, bunchy yarn, grosgrain ribbons, fine polyester yarns with tassels, tape ribbon, chenille yarn and metallic yarns. Another unique quality of this body of textiles is the use of coarser POFs. The researcher’s previous works had been limited to finer POFs.

As the weft yarns are hand fed through the loom it allows the use of coarse POFs which had not been utilized in the researcher’s previous photonic textile developments. Weft yarns are mechanically trimmed on machine looms, thus it is very challenging to trim POFs which are course and brittle. The utilization of coarser POFs allows an exploration of alternative dissemination of colors which are unique from finer POFs.

The naive weave structures explored in Nexus, Sylvan, Plica, Cusp, Iota and Mote are integral to the rustic authenticity of the creative aim. The weave structures of each textile will be further discussed later in this catalogue.

Chimera and Annex are textiles which were woven on the mechanized Jacquard loom. These textiles explore the formation of soft structures by utilizing a combination of the jacquard weave structure and elastic yarns. This technique produces fine and uniformed fabrics which utilizes thinner POFs. Their sophisticated finish is a direct contrast to the rustic quality of the previous six textiles. Chimera and Annex are creative research extended from the previous body of work showcased in the exhibition, ‘Dimensional Illumination’ (2014). They explore the creation of soft dimensional structures via Jacquard. While the previous works focused on clean curve lines, Chimera and Annex explore more complex intertwining formations.

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