1. Design can be a difficult term to keep under control. As the umbrella and instigator for the whole process of creating and the driver for every practical decision along the way, good design is vital for good function and for good looks, for an uplifting experience. However, when design is over-thought it can become self conscious and uncomfortable. So it’s important to keep a balance – with humanity, with tradition and with imperfection.
2. In textiles, the ‘design’ that creates the finished product determines its end use and is the sum of every decision taken along the way – the choice of yarn, weave, texture, background, pattern, finish and colour.
* There is a story behind every textile that initiates and is reflected in its design: whether historically recorded, lost in the mists of time or only partly remembered, inspired by worship, celebration, restriction–or a combination of all these.
* Such stories might be inspired by snippets collected along travels: the particular colour of a natural material or form–say of the honeycomb, pebbles, waves, ripples; flora and fauna; landscape; or the effect of light.
* It might delve into the stuff of memories and be planned/applied to an established or free-form geometry, as we find in the global arts of braiding and patchwork quilts.
* The design of the fabric in your hand will lead you to use it very probably in the way the designer intended, but it now has it’s own life and a new designer to do with it as they will.
3. Design and simplicity work hand in hand. Simplicity meaning the work of layers that are built up little by little into something much more complex, much more than the sum of the parts. And this is in effect what good design is. True and proper use of materials and craftsmanship, worked together to create a new, different, better whole.