Weaving Working Webs aims to explore the relationship between local textile designers and the textile industry in Dundee.
Given the historical significance Dundee holds in the production and manufacture of textiles (during the C19th at the height of Dundee’s industrial boom with ‘Jute, Jam & Journalism’), it is interesting to observe now that a majority of textile design graduates from Duncan of Jordanstone, move away post graduation in pursuit of their careers. This project poses question as to why, with Dundee’s growing artistic development, staying can be a less attractive offer for textile design students? Time has seen the mill trade in Dundee diminish and but now, with the forthcoming build of Victorian and Albert Museum, Dundee and the creative arts continue to flourish. The current local textile industry should be a relevant part of this growth.
Recent graduates and local producers, mills and manufacturers, have expressed the view that there are weak links between designers and local businesses, with most designers outsourcing their materials. Given the instability of the current economic climate and concerns with sustainability, it seems it would be more apt for communities to support local trade, promote pride in local production and sourcing, regenerate revenue and encourage the creation of a new creative opportunities within the local community. Textiles Scotland and Scottish Enterprise are working in conjunction at the moment ‘to strengthen the textiles industry in Soctland’, highlighting Tayside (and Dundee) as a strong contributor. The V&A, Dundee also tell us that design in Dundee will be used to deliver change and to demonstrate the creative capacity of Scotland.
The hope for Weaving Working Webs is therefore to inspire confidence in working within the textile field in Dundee and to help build networks and clear lines of support and resources. The project proposes to work with local concerned authorities like Halley Stevensons, (previously The Baltic Works), The Verdant Works and The McManus Galleries to understand correctly past production in Dundee; approach successful local designers; and focus on the experience of past graduates, new graduates and current undergraduates in relation to their work and their ability to work in Dundee. The goal is to build upon the inspiring local textile heritage and re-establish relationships between the industry and local designers by exploring opportunities and benefits to Dundee’s textile potential, as it exists in this present climate. This could result in stronger bonds between designers, encourage an evolution in practice and networking and contribute to a more sustainable textile future in Dundee.
Weaving Working Webs’ plan is to work with and collate information on local producers, suppliers and designers and plot a map of ‘materials’ (be this inspirations, fabrics or dyes?) to encourage designers to source locally, with pride and to be aware of peer activity. The concept being similar to mapped projects such as The Woolly Way of Ireland and the crafts map by Textiles from South West, only with Weaving Working Webs, being specific to Dundee and Dundee based designers. This project is inspired largely by peer observation, local opinion on trade and Wendy E Brawer’s Green Map, the core idea to encourage along side this ‘map’, a creative community and support network base for undergraduate textile design students, new graduates and practicing local designers.
Ferraro, E., White, R., Cox E., Bebbington, J. and Wilson, S., 2011, Craft and sustainable development: reflections on Scottish craft and pathways to sustainability craft + design enquiry, vol. 3 [Online] Available at: http://www.craftaustralia.org.au/cde/index.php/cde/article/viewFile/18/18 [Accessed January 2012]
Hunt W, Ball L, Pollard E (2010), Crafting Futures: a study of the early careers of crafts graduates UK higher education institutions, Institute for Employment Studies/University of the Arts London/Crafts Council [Online] Available at: http://www.craftscouncil.org.uk/files/file/cd68904f6f59df22/crafting-futures-executive-summary.pdf [Accessed December 2011]
Ball L, Pollard E, Stanley N (Jan 2010) Creative Graduates Creative Futures
Textiles Scotland, 2011. Industry Overview. [Online] Available at: http://www.textilescotland.co.uk/Industry-overview.aspx>[Accessed 3 December 2011]
V&A at Dundee, 2011. Design Scotland, Design in Action. [Online] Available at: http://VandAatDundee.com/your-future/project/what-it-will-be/ [Accessed 3 December 2011]
PRINTED TEXTILE DESIGNER
BDES HONS DUNCAN OF JORDANSTONE, DUNDEE
Sara Nevay is a textile designer based in Dundee. Her work is concerned with promoting sustainable attitudes towards fashion and textiles. She has returned to Duncan of Jordanstone to undertake her Masters study after a year out working for a local fabric mill. It was here, and through other personal experiences as a new textile designer in Dundee, that Weaving Working Webs was born. Her skills being rooted mostly in a craft based practice, Nevay has returned this year with the intent to broaden her understanding of the current design climate.
Blog available via: http://saranevay.wordpress.com/