Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Screen Printing with Plants: Research into Alternative Ink Technology

The main purpose of Phil Shaw’s article, ‘Screen Printing with Plants: Research into Alternative Ink Technology’, is to investigate whether it is viable to use ‘water based’ screen printing inks on an industrial scale. These plant derived inks are known as ‘process’ or ‘trichromatic’ colours which have led Shaw to create the term ‘Phytochromography’. The article is an experimental text explaining the alternative natural ingredients available to create ‘eco’ prints and their success.

The key question Shaw aims to thoroughly explore is, ‘How far can we go in recreating the natural dyeing and printing processes of our ancestors?’

The information of greatest importance within this article is the findings of the author’s experiments, as they are individual and reliable experiences due to them being carried out primarily by the writer. Rather than compiling information from others Shaw validates his conclusions through this technique.

The secondary information within the article has been gathered from relevant journal articles, key texts and newspaper articles. It has been extremely important for the author to explain the history of the subject make he intends to explore further.

Primary sources as previously stated consist of the experiments conducted specifically for this article. Contacts such as Sue Minter of the Chelsea Physic Garden and John Keesing at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew have been aids in the sourcing of rare seeds and key information.

After much experimentation, Shaw concludes that it is viable to conduct a printing process with fully natural ingredients. An example of this is:

“On the industrial front, the Auro corporation of Germany has been manufacturing a range of vegetable paints for some time at a reasonable cost.” (Shaw, P 1997)

He is although realistic when he explains how unlikely it is that there will be a complete shift in the way the textiles/ dyeing industry use synthetic parts.

It is important to understand the printing practice itself and the techniques which produce these ‘green’ dyes. The concept surrounding nature’s capabilities creates further understanding on the subject and the idea of being as sustainable as possible. Using nature itself to prevent further environmental damage:

“once all the factors are taken into consideration, including those that concern the overall well-being of the planet, then any alternative resource ought not be ignored.”(Shaw, P, 1997)

It may be fair to say Shaw is over estimating the extent to which the use of plants can be still considered sustainable. If these techniques were used in excess it would almost inevitability result in the extinction of already scare plant material, unless of course they were managed sustainably and monitored closely.

If we take this line of reasoning seriously, the implications would be that the dyeing process would be overall a much ‘greener’ technique as it has been in the past.

If we fail to take the author’s line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that the textiles industry will inevitably come to an abrupt end. This would be due to lack of resources. The negative impact on the land itself caused by synthetic pollutants would be drastic.

The main point of view within this article is that nature can provide the key elements needed to create successful dyes, although exploration of these techniques needs to be taken further in the future.

Phil Shaw’s extensive research teamed with his practical approach makes this article more believable and admirable.

Eco Chic, The Savy Shoppers Guide to Ethical Fashion

‘Eco Chic, The Savy Shoppers Guide to Ethical Fashion’, written by Matilda Lee is an informative text which thoroughly explores the structure of the textiles industry, its evolution throughout current years and its potential future developments. Lee covers many of the important environmental and social issues surrounding the negative impact the industry creates. Positivity is also a key element in that the majority of information included focuses on what designers, consumers and buyers can or are currently doing to prevent further damage. The main purpose of the text is to create an awareness of the impact we are having on the environment and others, in order to encourage sustainability within a highly influential industry.

The key question the author is addressing is: ‘Why should we be making changes to create a more sustainable and ethical fashion and textile industry? ‘

It is made clear how important is that we ‘buy less and care more.’(Lee 2007) Understanding how organisations as well as individual choices can help better the current situation is explained throughout the text. In regard to textile design, many are not aware of what alternatives are available that it is possible to implement these techniques on an industrial scale. T Shirt and Sons, is a company set up by brothers, John and Andy Lunt in the 1980’s. They use eco printing techniques for designs used by Greenpeace, Katharine Hamnett and The Glastonbury Festival. Although the overall process is extended, Andy states:

“We have saved a lot of money going organic. We spend much less on waste management, for example.”(Lunt, A, 2007)

Matilda Lee has used primary sources to compile her own personal research through interviews with designers and retailers currently implementing sustainable elements into their practice: “It is based on...interviews with people involved in designing, making, promoting, retailing and writing about clothes and fashion”.

Through secondary research sources the author has created a clear image of the current issues worldwide. Examples of these are journal article extracts, newspaper articles, relevant texts and statistic reports. These were most likely gathered through contacts, catalogues and extensive research within this field.

Lee concludes that although the way consumers shop will not drastically change the fate of our planet, as individuals our everyday choices play a huge part towards climate change. Designers and retailers decisions on what they make available and how they use resources are included within this concept of sustainable living. Understanding the ‘green’ possibilities and how to resource ethically is key. Lee includes many contacts and businesses operating in this way within the text.

The main assumption underlying the authors thinking is that people are going to be so easily converted to this ethical way of shopping/ living. She takes an optimistic approach which is understandable in regard to the content of the text and doesn’t often create an opposing argument from designers/ makers maybe less interested in the ‘green’ shift.

If we take this line of reasoning the implications are that we could as a union create positivity by making small changes and genuinely prevent further damage to the environment.

If we fail to take the authors line of reasoning seriously, the implications are that we will continue to ruin the natural environment around us through over consumption and pollution.

It is designers, makers, retailers and writers points of view along with the authors which create the main perspective throughout the text.

Globes by ImagineNations.

I discovered these quirky decoupage globes by Wendy Gold's ImagineNations. Each globe is vintage and individually hand decorated to create fascinating fictional worlds. I find the creation of such lovely pieces from recycled materials, which would otherwise be completely disposed of, an innovative and clever idea. I'm going to keep an eye out for any future designs posted on her website.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Alain Delorme

This new collection of photographs by french photographer Alain Delorme really caught my eye! The series is entitled 'Totems', and captures huge built up sculptures of products which are presently made in China. Although they portray a current working culture within the country his photographs are constructed in an eye-catching and quirky style. The coloured patchwork stacks are just amazing ! Have a look at more of his work .here.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Lyndie Dourthe

I find the work of french artist Lyndie Dourthe utterly amazing! With her clever use of digital print and stitch she creates delicate flowers, mushrooms and anatomical based pieces from light papers and fabric. She draws inspiration from the intricacies within nature. The careful presentation of her work adds much to her already beautiful creations. I find her work extremely inspiring ! Take a look at her website .here.