HOME TEXERE

About the
Red Wool Project

   

Interaction with fibres

An introduction to the expressive potential of textiles materials

Crawford College of Art & Design (Textiles Department),
Cork, Ireland
Teacher: Pamela Hardesty

click to enlarge
Noreen Murphy - Cocoon
The Students:
Year Two Fine Art and Design majors who chose Textiles as their subsidiary element to run throughout their following two/three years toward Diploma/Degree. (They are not Textiles majors. Textiles is only one day per week for them in the midst of their major study.)

Duration:
3 weeks for research phase, 7 more weeks for project development

Fall/Winter 2001

click to enlarge
Lisa Hodge - Frost Carpet
The Project:
Students were asked to select one fibre from among a wide array of textiles fibres. Each then had to brainstorm the many associations inherent within her/his chosen fibre. Some discussion of fibre origins, and their historical, functional, symbolic associations laid the groundwork for the following individual research. For several weeks I asked them to live and breathe this fibre! To get to know it from inside … They began to transform their associations into processes which involved either the raw fibre, thread made from it, or fabric woven from it. Processes such as feltmaking, weaving, and applique then came into usage, but only as means of achieving an initial concept. At Mid-term each student presented an array of sample work arising from the strongest ideas selected from among their initial brainstorming. In the second half of the term these test pieces evolved into project pieces.
Four of them are shown here:
Noreen Murphy - Cocoon
Fiona Kelly - Hair
Lisa Hodge - Frost Carpet
Noilin O'Kelly - Shoes

click for a detail     
Fiona Kelly - Hair
The "Red Wool" keynote:
I adapted this to my 2nd. year course based on the interesting examples shown on this website.
I expanded my project to include a choice of fibres in many colours. Students arrived in on the first day to a long table piled high with all these fibres from our stock room: exciting, stimulating and fun sight, slightly overwhelming.
What I took from the Red Wool concept was the direct, investigative, brain-storming approach that encouraged students to "know" their fibre intensively on many levels. This approach served as a perfect introduction to the huge range of technical and conceptual possibilities within textiles.
click to enlarge
Noilin O'Kelly - Shoes
This project was successful overall in challenging students to find processes only in response to their evolving concepts. Many students came into the course with certain assumptions about the technical/craft character of "textiles". By bringing them into direct interaction with the basic fibre they were able to rise beyond ingrained attitudes. Students were enthusiastic and inventive throughout, and have maintained this fresh response over the terms which have followed.

Mail to Pamela Hardesty: phardesty@eircom.net
home © texere Textile Education and Research in Europe