Modern Romance

A romance with technology


I have long had the desire to create, make and draw. As a student I didn’t feel it was possible to design a surface pattern with out understanding how to spin, dye and weave my own fabric.

With out knowing it I stated to play with technology. It may have been pegs in holes on a very old dobby loom and later the wonder of the jacquard and punch cards. Spending hours in the dye lab perfecting colours and understanding the science of colour, developing my own rules and theories about composition. Learning about s and z twist, what is a crepe, what is twill, what is satin and how the yarn type would effect the drape of the cloth. It
I felt I was learning a craft and a trade. My tools ancient and with heritage, My loom was a computer though. I couldn’t just sit at it and expect to create. I had to program it decide in advance give it a set of commands that would make it do what I wanted it to do.

When digital printing on fabric started to become a possibility it was a very natural move for me, the next experiment. I wanted to learn this new technology and I was inspired by it. In the same way I had learned about weaving I quickly decided I wanted to draw ‘digital’ as well as print digital. Matching the creation with the output.

When I used to say that I was training as a weaver, people would ask me what that had to do with design and art college, as if it is just a process of pushing a button and fabric comes out. I feel the same is asked of me when I talk about my design and drawing as a digital output. I have never questioned these things as a tool, but others do…..all the time. I find it exciting and inspiring and as process I enjoy explaining how, but it’s more often its answering why?

I hope to discuss why there still such suspicion an insinuation of cheating when using a computer as a tool in my practice. I’m enjoying this discussion, the interaction and informing. Remembering that it was in the Luddites that first rioted against the introduction of the power loom in 1811, that the camera was met with all kind of suspicion and knowing that this is an ongoing love /hate we have of technology.

For the design desk of Aventures Numerique I have created a film showing some of my design process and my role in Modern Love.
This will change through out the year with further experiments so it is part explanation, part romance, part work in progress.

Sarah Arnett

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