Saturday, June 21, 2008

21st Century Fibers

I've been to enough Wearable Art shows to know that there are a number of talented textile artists in this town. Not being a sewer myself (I can't even hem straight), I am always impressed at the things people can create with fabric. I'm also totally clueless about the types of fabrics available, so I was intrigued by our new book Textiles Today: a global survey of trends and traditions, by Chloƫ Colchester. Nanotechnology, medical textiles, thermoregulating fabrics, fibre optics, digital photography, architecture and computer chips are all involved in the millennia-old tradition of creating textiles. Like everything else in our age of burgeoning technology, the possibilities and applications seem endless. Colchester also looks at the growing popularity of fabric as an expression of artistic sentiment, communication, and handicraft. Fabric tile installations inspired by fish scales, the spread of knitting circles amongst the younger generation, the high demand for organic fabrics and natural dyes; all of these seem to balance out the high-tech textile industry (or perhaps are in response to it, much like the Arts and Crafts movement of a century ago). If you are an engineer - and kudos to you for hanging with me so far into this entry - then you will be very interested in the technological applications of modern textiles. If you are an artist, then you will be inspired by the new fabrics and techniques demonstrated in this beautifully illustrated book.

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