Lucy Simpson, 2014.
Some designers start with their end product in mind, and experiment endlessly until they can turn their mental images into a physical form that exactly replicates their original idea. Other designers start from a point of experimentation and allow the happy accidents that occur along the way to encourage their research into new directions and evolve into new ideas and methods.
This second approach is the case for textile designer Lucy Simpson whose materials-led process has allowed her to experiment with silicone to create amazing textures.
In explaining her process while working on her MA, Lucy describes how she raided bargain stores and took “expanding foam, plastic ties, beads, sandpaper, and silicone” back to the print room and experimented with these unusual materials in conjunction with traditional textile mediums such as puff binder and aquasuede to create her own textile signatures.
The textiles that Lucy Simpson creates have a tactile quality that makes you want to reach out and touch them, or maybe even eat them, with thick ridges of silicone and candy-coloured pigments smeared across the surface of the fabric. While Lucy is staying quiet on the exact method of her textile creations, the implements that are shown alongside her textiles hint at the way everyday objects seem to be dragged through smears of different coloured pigments to create spontaneous effects. When combined with the sugary colour palette this gives the textiles that edible quality, like thick frosting or icing piled roughly on top of a cake. As Lucy points out, these types of methods are increasingly being used by textiles designers to create textiles that look quite technical but which are often created using very low-tech methods.
Lucy’s methods are tied firmly into her beliefs that both designers and consumers alike are having similar cravings; after all our daily interactions with flat digital objects, sometimes the innovations that surprise us, or the most exciting ways to work as a creative, are based on us wanting to be more hands-on and 3D.
In looking at the textiles themselves it is interesting to look at how the raised shapes of the silicone interact with their base cloths. For example, the ridges in the silicone are sometimes used to play off the direction of the ridges in corduroy. The silicone is also used to interact with stretch fabrics in interesting ways, with the stretch fabric creating a slightly bubbled effect where it is restricted by the print and cannot shrink back to normal.
As a note on presenting your designs, it is also interesting to see how the photographs of the implements themselves creates a nice insight into the process of the textiles. This also makes the textiles themselves more engaging to look at since as a viewer you can guess at how textures were created, or wonder how some of the half formed experiments evolved into other designs.
See more of Lucy’s work on her website: Lucy Simpson»
Images from Lucy Simpson»