The fabric of wellbeing: an enquiry into craft practice through the use of biopolymer fibres using constructed textile methods

Pittman, L., 2016. The fabric of wellbeing: an enquiry into craft practice through the use of biopolymer fibres using constructed textile methods. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Advances in biopolymer textile processing have produced sophisticated niche fibres with culturally and ecologically beneficial characteristics. However, limited knowledge of the positive environmental and wellbeing properties of biopolymer fibres has previously inhibited their creative appeal and design application. The linear structure of large scale textile production phases alienates designers from production decisions and materials selection, which are considered essential in achieving more ecologically sustainable textile production. This practice led research investigation considers opportunities that arise from the relationship between craft and industry via the integration of materials and process and makes a case for adoption of a craft model of practice.

The study recognises how independent designer-makers use craft practice as a strategy for sustainability. It identifies that by extending integrated design and make processes to include materials has a positive influence on practical outcomes that simultaneously address environmental and social issues arising from textile production. The study recognises that adoption of a holistic approach, common to craft practice, enables designer-makers to retain control of ecological and sustainable principles. The study confirms that placing the designer at the centre of phased production presents creative opportunities for strategic experimental practice. This challenges current linear phases of production in industry and informs creativity. Embodied knowledge gained through tacit handling, to exploit beneficial properties and characteristics of newly emergent fibres, creates design value and initiates innovative textile products.

The findings make a significant contribution to knowledge through prototype glove products emerging from the study. The findings establish how emergent fibres and digital seamless knit technology can create high quality niche accessories, with simultaneous ecological and wellbeing benefits in the context of an ageing demographic. A value-in-use survey conducted specifically with arthritis sufferers at Arthritis Care UK was used to inform iterative developments to the design and manufacture of prototype glove products. The practical outcomes demonstrate ways to harness biopolymers’ inherent properties and characteristics to promote health and wellbeing by eliminating problems arising from long- term wear of palliative care textile items. The findings demonstrate that adoption of craft practice into large scale industrial textile production has ecological and social benefits. This holds relevance for independent designer-makers, environmentally principled textile manufacturers, textile design educators, manufacturers of arthritis palliative care accessory markets and product end users.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Pittman, L.
Date: November 2016
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 15 Mar 2018 14:06
Last Modified: 15 Mar 2018 14:06

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