Digital Craft and Embodied Knowledge Research

Group
  • Unit(s) of assessment: Art and Design: History, Practice and Theory
  • School: School of Art & Design

Overview

The Digital Craft and Embodied Knowledge Research Group is led by Dr Katherine Townsend, who is Principal Lecturer and Course Leader for MA Applied Design Futures and also the Editor for a peer reviewed journal Craft Research, published by Intellect, UK. The group’s name reflects its focus on the relationship between craft and embodied knowledge and how these combined elements inform the advancement of digital practice.

Research projects undertaken by the group aim to develop craft based methodological frameworks for investigating and extending the scope of new design, visualisation and manufacturing technologies. To date, this has been achieved by synthesising practical and epistemological methods for identifying and recording the embodied practices found in traditional hand, machine and digital making. Craft, therefore, is positioned as both discipline and concept, through investigations that address local and global concerns and seek to manifest the changing role and value of creative production in commercial and community contexts.

The team includes researchers from the School and wider College, who have realised individual and group projects, resulting in digitally crafted artefacts and outcomes in art, design and scientific areas of praxis. Practice-led activity is reinforced through experimentation with new materials and processes, and supported by anthropological and historical insights into the, often secret, relationships between people, machines and the rationale of science.

Technology

The craft / digital technologies available to the research group include: screen, digital printing and dyeing; hand, domestic and industry standard weaving, embroidery and knitting machinery as well as jacquard, multi-head and whole garment technology; laser cutting, engraving and 3D printing/prototyping and computerised pattern designing systems. The group also works in collaboration with the Virtual Reality Lab at NTU where they have access to 3D modeling and visualization technologies including body scanning, holographic, motion capture and virtual reality platforms.

Impact on Society

The research provides an opportunity to explore the practical application of historical knowledge through the intent of digital making. The research seeks to capture, preserve and represent aspects of the embodied knowledge required in traditional hand and machine making to inform digital craft practice.

The central issue is to identify and evaluate the ideas, procedures and techniques that give access to the knowledge that exists between maker, machine and material. Particularly pertinent are studies of different forms of knowledge that are unique to craft practice, developed through digital and material engagement to inform the advancement of innovative, sustainable designs and educational interfaces that can enhance the user’s experience and cultural understanding of embedded traditions of making.

Craft knowledge is rooted in the mastering of a skill or technique, derived from the ancient Greek concept of techne, defined as ‘linear, variable and context dependent’. Current projects promote art and design, science and heritage focused inquiries, where we aspire to:

  • research the correspondences and transformations between established and digital crafting technologies
  • develop craft informed research methodologies in order to extend the creative potential of advanced technology
  • demonstrate the value of embodied knowledge as integral to the acquisition of (future) technical skills and expertise
  • experiment with new materials and technologies to develop sustainable, interactive products, visualisations and interfaces
  • create new fabrications and experiences in response to design, heritage, lifestyle and wellbeing contexts.

Head of the Research Group, Dr Katherine Townsend

Collaboration

People

  • Deborah Dean- Visual Arts Collections and Exhibitions Manager Castle Museum & Art Gallery Nottingham
  • Ann Inscker - Collections Access officer Archaeology and Industry Nottingham City Museums and Galleries
  • Dr Dinah Eastop - Curatorial Research Fellow, The National Archives, Kew
  • Professor Julian Ellis – Ellis Developments Ltd
  • Dr Nick Hayes - School of Arts and Humanities, Nottingham Trent University
  • Sue Pritchard – Curator of Fashion, Textiles &andFurniture, Victoria & Albert Museum
  • Dr Melanie Tebbutt - School of History and Economic History, Manchester Metropolitan University
  • Paul Smith - Paul Scholarship Scheme

Companies

Related Staff

  • Dr Katherine Townsend – Principal Lecturer in Fashion, Knitwear & Textile Design
  • Dr Tom Fisher – Professor of Art and Design
  • Dr Amanda Briggs-Goode - Principal Lecturer in Textile Design
  • Dr Sarah Kettley – Senior Lecturer in Product and Smart Design
  • Tina Downes – Senior Lecturer in Textile Design
  • Rachel Colley - Senior Lecturer in Decorative Arts
  • Dr Joy Buttress - Research Fellow in Fashion, Knitwear & Textile Design
  • Dr Julie Boticelli - Research Assistant in Fashion, Knitwear & Textile Design
  • Tessa Acti – Research Assistant in Fashion, Knitwear & Textile Design
  • Anna Sadkowska - Postgraduate Researcher

Associated PhD Projects

Devabrata Paramanik Completed (2013). Full-time.
Gestural Patterns: a new method of printed textile design using motion capture technology (Vice Chancellors Award).
Supervisory team: Amanda Briggs-Goode, Katherine Townsend, Tom Fisher.

'The aim of this research is to develop a new method, Hybrid Printing System (HPS) to explore digital craft approaches to create surface patterns for printed textile design. This novel method of creating 'handcrafted' prints is a result of the integration of two technologies such as motion-capture (MOCAP) and digital textile printing (DTP).'

Lois Pittman (2009-2015). Part-time.
The development of a craft model of practice for investigating the potential of bio-polymer based fibres using constructed textile design.
Supervisory team: Katherine Townsend, Gillian Bunce, Tilak Dias.

'This research investigates the potential characteristics of renewable biodegradable biopolymer yarns from natural sources, bamboo, milk casein PLA fibres that are produced using green biotechnology. This study uses a craft approach to needs based design of wellbeing textile products.'

Ania Sadkowska (2012-2015). Full-time.
Fashioning Age: a phenomenological exploration of ageing, fashion, gender and identity (Vice Chancellors Award).
Supervisory team: Julie Pinches, Katherine Townsend and Tom Fisher.

'I am proposing a phenomenological approach to explore the experience of ageing, fashion, gender and identity. The project aims to develop a deeper understanding of human actions, where fashion and clothes, as the communicators and mediators between self and society become the key to understanding ageing identities. Decisions about data collection are supported by Heidegger's philosophy and the concept of "Dasein", emphasising the experience as the result of interactions between animate and inanimate entities.'

Jane Taylor (2011-2015). Full-time.
Bridging the skills gap in computerised seamless flat-bed knitting: an investigation into the impact of advanced technology on the design process (AHRC funded).
Supervisory team: Katherine Townsend, Tom Fisher, William Hurley

'This practice based research is a response to the technology skills gap between knitwear designers and seamless knitting technology, and seeks to challenge established models of knitwear design and manufacture. I am working with industrial, seamless knitting technology, and embracing a craft-based methodology, to explore the possibilities of using it as a design tool for knitwear designers.'

Rebekah Wood – Completed (2013).
'The Knitter's Tale: A Practice-led approach to framework knitting through a contemporary exploration of traditional practices, patterns, skills and stories.'
Supervisory Team: Professor Tom Fisher, Cathy Challender, Professor David Elson of Ruddington Framework Knitters' Museum.

Collaborative Arts and Humanities Research Council Award - Ruddington Framework Knitters' Museum and knitwear manufacturer G.H.Hurt & Son.

The research developed as a practice-led investigation, documenting the processes of learning the skills of framework knitting using traditional lace-making techniques to establish contemporary creative dialogues between academic, industrial and heritage institutions. The study analysed the contribution that personal experience can make to 'experiential knowing' and suggested a contemporary approach for future practice-focused inquiry using traditional craft skills and knowledge as a method

Publications

Journal Articles

2013

  • Fisher, T. (2013). A world of colour and bright shining surfaces: experiences of plastics after the second World War. Journal of Design History.
  • Neidderer, K. & Townsend, K. (2013) The Social Life of Craft, Editorial essay, The Journal of Craft Research, Volume 4.1, Intellect Journals, May 2013, pp.3-9, ISSN: 2040-4689.
  • Townsend, K. & Mills, F. (2013) Mastering Zero: How the pursuit of less waste leads to more creative pattern cutting, Journal of Fashion, Technology and Education, Taylor & Francis, Volume 6, Issue 2, June 2013 - ISSN: 1754-3266 (paper) 1754-3274
  • Townsend, K. (2013) The Denim Garment as Canvas: Exploring the Notion of Wear as a Fashion and Textile Narrative, Russian Fashion Theory: The journal of dress, body and culture, April 2013, MOCKBA
  • Townsend, K. (2013) Let Actions speak louder than Words, Review of the Power of Making: The importance of being skilled, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, 6 September 2011- 2 January 2012, The Journal of Craft Research, Volume 4.1, Intellect Journals, March 2013, pp.3-9
  • Neidderer, K. & Townsend, K. (2013) The Social Life of Craft, Editorial essay, The Journal of Craft Research, Volume 4.1, Intellect Journals, May 2013, pp.3-9, ISSN: 2040-4689.

2012

  • Kettley, S. (2012). The Foundations of Craft: a suggested protocol for introducing craft to other disciplines. The Journal of Craft Research. Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 33-51.
  • Neidderer, K. & Townsend, K. (2012) Tracing the Essence of Craft, Editorial essay, The Journal of Craft Research, Volume 3, Intellect Journals, May 2012, pp.3-9, ISSN: 2040-4689.

2011

  • Neidderer, K. & Townsend, K. (2011) Expanding Craft: Reappraising the Value of Skill, Editorial essay, The Journal of Craft Research, Volume 2, Intellect Journals, October 2011, pp.3-10, ISSN: 2040-4689.
  • Townsend, K. (2011) The Denim Garment as Canvas: Exploring the Notion of Wear as a Fashion and Textile Narrative, Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, Special Denim Issue, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp. 90-107, Berg, UK, ISSN: 1475-9756; IBSN: 978 1 84788 8143.

2010

  • Kettley, S., Downes, T., Harrigan, K. & Glazzard, M. (2010) Fit for purpose? Pattern cutting and seams in wearables development. Digital Creativity, Vol. 21, Issue 4, pp. 247-256.
  • Kettley, S. and Briggs-Goode, A. (2010) Aeolia: textile enquiry and design. Duck: Journal for Textiles Research and Textile Design, 1 (Summer).
  • Neidderer, K. & Townsend, K. (2010) Craft Research and its Context, Editorial essay, in The Journal of Craft Research, Volume 1, Intellect Journals, October 2010, pp. 3-10, ISSN: 2040-4689.
  • Townsend, K. (2010) Metallic Sound, Review of textile research exhibition by Junichi Arai and Kinor Jiang for The Journal of Craft Research, Issue 1, Volume 1, Intellect Journals, UK.
  • Townsend, K. & Buttress, J. (2010) High Falls: Water, Lace and the Body, Issue 1, Duck Journal for Research in Textiles and Textile Design, Loughborough University, UK, Summer 2010, ISSN: 2042 – 0842.
  • Townsend, K., Briggs-Goode, A, & Northall, C. (2010) 2D3D2D: A Diagnostic Approach to Textile and Fashion Research Practice, Issue 1, Duck Journal for Research in Textiles and Textile Design, Loughborough University, UK, Summer 2010, ISSN: 2042 – 0842.
  • Townsend, K. & Pittman, L. (2010) Designer/Makers are Key to Sustainable Textile Development, Making Futures: The crafts in the context of emerging global sustainability agendas, International conference & journal publication, Plymouth College of Art, 16-18 September, Vol 1.

2009

  • Kettley, S. & Greig, F. (2009). Speckled Jewelry. Leonardo. Vol. 42, No. 2, April 2009, pp.117.

2008

  • Fisher, T. (2008). Objects for peaceful disordering: indigenous designs and practices of protests. The Design Journal, 11 (3), pp. 221-238.
  • IRep - record - no full-text currently available
  • Kettley, S. (2008). Peacocks and Wallflowers: the enactment of social visibility in wearables. Journal of Visual Communication. Vol. 7, No.3, pp. 303-315.
  • Kettley, S., Breedon, P., Briggs-Goode, A. & Sparkes, B. (2008). Textiles, Shape and Sensor: Integration of Textile Design and Technology. C. David (Ed.). Futurotextiel. Oostkamp: Stichting Kunstboek BVBA.

Books and Book Chapters

  • Briggs-Goode, A. (2013) Printed textile design. London: Laurence King.
  • Briggs-Goode, A. (2009) Technology for digital textile printing. In: Bowles, M. and Isaac, C., Eds., Digital textile design. London: Laurence King Publishing.
  • Buttress, J. & Gill, M. (2013) Nottingham lace (visual Essay). In: Briggs-Goode, A & Dean, D. Eds. Lace Here Now. London: Black Dog.
  • Briggs-Goode, A. & Townsend, K. Eds (2011) Textile Design: Principles, Advances, Applications, Woodhead Publishing, UK.
  • Briggs-Goode, A. and Russell, A. (2011) Printed textile design. In: A. Briggs-Goode and K. Townsend, Eds., Textile design: principles, advances and applications. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing, pp. 105-128.
  • Kettley, S. (forthcoming). Designing with Smart Textiles. Bloomsbury/Fairchild.
  • Kettley, S. (2010). Technical Textiles. In Briggs-Goode, A. & K. Townsend (Eds.) (2010). Textile Design: principles, advances and applications. Cambridge: Woodhead, pp.323-353.
  • Kettley, S. & Kettley, R. (forthcoming). From Human-Centred to Person-Centred Design. In T. Fisher and I. Kuksa (Eds.). Design and Personalisation. Farnham: Gower.
  • Townsend, K. & Goulding, G. (2010) The Interrelationship of 2D and 3D in Textile and Fashion Design, Chapter 13, in A. Briggs-Goode and K. Townsend, Eds., Textile Design: Principles, Advances, Applications, Cambridge, UK: Woodhead Publishing, pp. 288-322.
  • Briggs-Goode, A. (2009) Technology for digital textile printing. In: Bowles, M. and Isaac, C., Eds., Digital textile design. London: Laurence King Publishing.

Related Projects

Nottingham Lace: Capturing and representing knowledge in people, machines and lace (2013)

AHRC Science & Heritage, £100K funded research project using approaches from History and Design to develop and test a set of methods to capture and represent the knowledge that exists the in C19 Leavers machine-lace process. Outcomes to be disseminated through a symposium in October 2013 and journal articles.

Closely Held Secrets (2010)

Research project and exhibition of digitally embroidered artworks investigating the working relationship between artist/designer and technical expert, inspired by Grayson Perry and Tony Taylor and featuring the work of nine visual artists including Perry in the Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, 29 October – 24 November.

Metallic Sound: Kinor Jiaing & Junichi Arai (2010)

Jiaing’s research into printed textile design has been informed by Arai, one of the most highly esteemed woven textile designers in the world and co-founder of Nuno with Reko Sudo. He has collaborated extensively with Japanese fashion designers, including issey Miyake. This research exhibition in the Bonington Gallery, 18 January-17 Febuary, was the second part of an exchange textile research project with, Capturing Rhythm and Space, shown at the Fashion Gallery, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, 1-28 December, 2009.

Life in Colours: The Works of Akihiko Izukura (2010)

This renowned Japanese textile artist who has a design philosophy of zero waste and whose materials and dyes are taken completely from nature, held his first ever UK exhibition in Nottingham. Izukura, who follows an ancient process which is more than 2,000 years old, showcased a range of hand crafted textiles and clothing in the Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, from April 22 to May 14.

Exhibitions and Installations

2013

  • Kettley, (2013) Fragile? Dance, Arts and Visual Impairment Symposium, Tallinn University, Estonia, 19-21 April.

2012

  • Acti, T. (2012) ‘Future Textiles’, Palace of Westminster, London, December.
  • Acti, T. (2012) ’Sensing’ Street performances, Sønderborg and Funen Art Museum Denmark, and Open Air Movie at Brandts August-September.
  • Rumble-Smith, D. (2012) Installation, Grassington Festival Arts Trail, Yorkshire.
  • Paramanik, D. (2012) Hybrid Print Patterns. Exposition of practical outcomes of doctoral research NTU, 2-8 July.
  • Townsend, K. Acti, T. & Litherland, G. (2012) Untitled 1-3, Wanderlust, School of Art & Design staff exhibition, Bonington Gallery, NTU, 16th January – 10th February.
  • Townsend, K., Piper, A. & Ratnayaka, A. (2012) Illunminated Dress, ‘Future Textiles’, Palace of Westminster, London, December, 10-14th December.

2011

  • Acti, T. (2011) ‘Archipelago’ – Bonington gallery Nottingham, September.
  • Acti, T. (2011) ‘Skin’ - Sam Scorer Gallery Lincoln, February-March.
  • Rumble-Smith, D. (2011) Type/Script. Chapel Gallery, Ormskirk Lancashire.
    Rumble-Smith, D. (2011) Wanderlust, Bonington Gallery, NTU.
  • Townsend, K. (2011) ‘Archipelago’ – Bonington gallery Nottingham, September.

2010

  • Townsend, K. (2010) Closely Held Secrets, Curator and contributing artist with Grayson Perry, Charlotte Hodes, Geoff Diego Litherland, Danica Maier, Simon Beck-Mather, Craig Fisher & Derek Sprawson, Stella Whalley, Tony Taylor and Tessa Acti, Bonington Gallery, 29 October-24 November.
  • Kettley, S., Downes, T., Glazzard, M., Harrigan, K. and Marshall, N. (2010) Made in Future, IOM3, House of Lords, London, 7 June.
  • Kettley, S., Downes, T., Glazzard, M., Harrigan, K. and Marshall, N. (2010) Craft Bursary Exhibition, Visual Research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, June.
  • Townsend, K., Jang, K. & Litherland (2010) Metallic Sound: The work of Kinor Jiaing and Junichi Arai, Joint curator and coordinator of exchange textile research exhibition (Capturing Rhythm & Space) in collaboration with Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham Trent University, UK, 18 January-17 February.
  • Acti, T. (2010) ‘Closely Held Secrets’ - Bonington Gallery Nottingham, August-October.
  • Downes, T. (2010) Craft Bursary Exhibition, Visual research Centre, Dundee Contemporary Arts, June.
  • Rumble-Smith, D. (2010) Grammar and Heather - Beetroot Tree Gallery, Derbyshire.
  • Rumble-Smith, D. (2010) Nottingham Castle Open Exhibition, Nottingham.

2009

  • Townsend, K. & Buttress, J. (2009) High Falls, in Capturing Rhythm and Space, Curator and contributing artist with Amanda Briggs-Goode, Devabrata Paramanik, & Rosemary Goulding, The Fashion Gallery, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 1-28 December 2009.
  • Paramanik, D. (2009) Capturing Rhythm and Space, Hong Kong Polytechnic and University, 1-31 December.
  • Briggs-Goode, A. (2009) Movement: Flower, in Capturing Rhythm and Space, The Fashion Gallery, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, 1-28 December.
  • Kettley, S., Downes, T., Glazzard, M., Harrigan, K. and Marshall, N. (2009) Made in Future, British Consulate with IOM3, Nuova Academia di Belle Arti, Milan, 1-2 December.
  • Kettley, S., Downes, T., Glazzard, M., Harrigan, K. and Marshall, N. (2009) Fourth Annual Industrial Trust / Drapers' Company Technical Textiles Reception and Awards Ceremony, The Industrial Trust, Drapers' Hall, London, 10 November.
  • Kettley, S., Downes, T., Glazzard, M., Harrigan, K. and Marshall, N. (2009) Reveal/Reset, Alt-w, InSpace Gallery, Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh International Festival, 5 August - 5 September.
  • Buttress, J. (2009) with Wolfgang Buttress, Veil, Wallner Gallery, Lakeside, Nottingham.

2008

  • Breedon, P.J., Briggs-Goode, A. and Kettley, S. (2008) Leading technical textiles research: integration of a stretch sensor into woven and knitted structures, at 'Another side of fashion': the fashion for smart materials, Science Museum, London, 19 September.
  • Buttress, J. (2008) Talent, Design Huis, Eindhoven, Holland.
  • Buttress, J. (2008) Making the Future 2, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham.
  • Kettley, S. & Greig, F. (2009). Speckled Jewelry. Leonardo. Vol. 42, No. 2, April 2009, pp.117.

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