Diego Zamora, PHD candidate funded by Design in Action; Morvern Odling, independent artist.
Affiliation: Edinburgh College of Art
Conference activity: Pop Up Exhibition, Trelissick House
Keywords: Textiles, 3D printing, digital fabrication, wearables
3D printing has made it to the catwalks, however, the main trends in fashion use high level 3D printers to mimic fabric (e.g. Ditas’ gown by Francis Bitoni, Continiuum’s N12 Bikini) or approach it in a sculptural way (e.g. Iris Van Herpen: Crystallization). We propose to approach the 3D printing phase of design as another creative activity where the process is still at stake, thus moving away from the idea of using the 3D printer as a “black box”. We interrupt the process of 3D printing to create a hybrid in between fabric and 3D printed objects.
We wanted to push the limits of what the technology available to us could do, to find out where our practices met and what lay in the crossover. This led to a first round of tests in which we mainly used synthetic fabrics and 3D printers. Further experiments from which we developed a method that successfully amalgamated 3D printed material with natural fibre fabric.
For us, 3D prints connected by woven fibres represent the links between practitioners across the world that contribute to the maker community. Moreover, the flexible bonds stretch to showcase the interdisciplinary nature of digital fabrication and 3D printing.
The ongoing research and our method for combining digital objects and fabrics opens the door for further innovation and development, by using it, any printable file is susceptible of becoming a wearable item. Furthermore, the dimensional constraints of a desktop 3D printer can be surpassed by using textiles.
However, our exploration is influenced and nurtured by the open source spirit and the affordances of the technology at hand. For now 3D printing remains a generative tool, but dissemination or marketing could limit the possibilities that this open technology offers.
A question that arises from your project: At what point do emerging technologies become closed in a way in which creative exploration is limited by design constraints? What is the role of the designer in the transit between affordances, technology bending and hacking?