Throughout this expanded practice project I have learnt about TED’s TEN strategies to sustainability and how they can be integrated into design. I have been able to make links between design sustainability and my own practice, in particular; alternatives to chemical dying. Also on a more personal day-to-day level in how I approach disposable culture, reducing my plastic use and trying to reduce waste.
One particularly inspiring piece of research was the eco-dying. The work of Cara Piazza has made be question my use of colour and how I could use natural sources of colour in more innovative ways in order to try and reduce the chemical impact of my work. Piazza’s practice has also made me question why natural dying is not more prevalent in fashion today and how little research there seems to be in developing more natural dyes.
As a textile artist I am looking for new, innovative materials and fabrics to use constantly. The use of mycelium (mushroom) was another piece of research that has really interested me. As an alternative to leather I think that this material is extremely innovative and relevant at present. With many people turning vegetarian or vegan I feel like this research has come at exactly the right time to be a real turning point for the leather industry, hopefully creating an overall more sustainable area within the textiles industry. As mycelium can be grown into many shapes I would like to work with this material in the future but maybe in a more sculptural way.
I am pleased by the range of issues I have covered in this unit, especially those that were new to me, such as cyclability rather than recycling. I feel that the blog has been a very good tool for reflection, although I feel that I could have integrated some of my research further into my practice, for example; looking for yarns from sustainable sources, as I feel I lack knowledge in the sourcing and origins of the materials I use.
I think I could have made my reflection within my blog relate more to my individual design process, as I looked more at wider sustainability issues, rather than specific ones that related to my practice, although I do regard those wider issues to link to myself in many ways, but in a more day-to-day sense, rather than a design sense. I also think that in the sessions I could have been more involved in discussions with students from graphics and interior and spacial design, so that I could have learnt more about other peoples opinions in relation to each strategy, depending on the market they are designing for. In the workshop session I heard opinions from students on other courses and it was interesting to see what they felt were the most important sustainability design strategies, compared to me, being a textiles student.
Overall this unit has been very informative and will definitely impact my decisions in later projects. I want to develop my research further linking into my specialism of knitted textiles, as I feel there isn’t as much specific sustainability research within this particular area of textiles.