From textiles to chemistry
During my time at ECA I would spend a large part of my time mixing print media or dyeing fabric and, as demonstrated by my very large technical logbook, I found I was definitely more interested in the technical aspects of textiles. I would experiment with traditional processes ending up, usually, with holes in my fabric sample! During my final year, I collaborated with a Performance Costume student using seven different textile processes on several metres of fabrics (this time without holes).
My final year project was based on fishermen’s’ jumpers. 'Ganseys', or 'guernseys', were tightly woven knitted garments worn by fishermen for protection from the weather and conditions experienced at sea. Whilst my final year project focused on patterning and screen-printing techniques, I began to experiment with hybrid fabrics and fabric construction. Without knowing it at the time, I think this was the start of my interest in technical textiles.
When I graduated, I realised that print design was not the career route for me and I began to investigate further study in textile science. In 2013, I came to the University of Leeds to study for an MSc in Advanced Textiles. During the course, I learnt about fabric construction, manufacturing processes and construction in relation to fabric performance. My background knowledge and trial and error approach as an undergraduate in the dye lab helped me here. I began to understand that textiles is chemistry, from the polymer makeup of synthetic fibres to the finishing processes of fabric for garment production - the two subjects overlap. Whilst my research has a chemistry focus, it has a textile and apparel application.