Another deadline approaches, and I am excited about this one as it is the opening of DOT’s first ever exhibition of work. For those that are wondering what I am talking about, DOT is Designs On Textiles – a Nottinghamshire based group of people who use the computer as one of their design tools for creating textiles and mixed media projects. Most of us are members of the Computer Textile Design Group which is a much larger body of people all around the world who like to do the same thing as DOTties do. But DOT is a small group of 7 mixed computer ability people who want to share their love of, and excitement for using the computer to aid their design process.
As a member of the group I will have 3 Friendly Plastic and fabric masks and another small piece in the show of almost 50 items of work ranging from beautiful textile wall pieces to origami earrings and a chef’s hat!
Not only will you be able to view all the finished work but you can also delve into the methods we used to create it. There will be extensive back up material detailing how most of the work was designed and made, focussing mainly on the computer aspects. Worksheets giving details of which filters or settings were used to create certain effects, plus a list of the wide variety of materials that have been used to print on to, are all there for you to see.
Over the last few years DOT members have been playing digital games of Consequences (the childhood game where you draw the head of a person, fold it over and pass it on to the next person to draw the torso and arms etc). We all started off with the same image, worked a simple manipulation and passed it on to the next person to do something to, and so it went on around the group until it arrived back at the beginning. We passed the images on every month and because we had saved the images as flat jpeg and not photoshop psd files with layers, no one could see how the previous person had arrived at the image they were passing on. This meant that when we all met up we could share what we did with each other and see how we had achieved each manipulation. It proved very amusing to see how an image changed as it passed from hand to hand (or computer to computer), one person sometimes unknowingly almost completely reversing what the previous person had done.
This proved to be such a brilliant learning exercise for everyone, no matter what level of expertise we each had because we were all working on our own computers with our own software in our own time, knowing that we had to do something so as not to let the side down by defaulting on the Game. Whilst many of the manipulations were not ideal end points for designs, they were great teaching tools, and also spurred further design explorations.
This brand new exhibition is a direct consequence of our Games of Consequences and our desire to share with the world our excitement about the computer as an aid to designing for all manner of things creative. We want to show you that you do not need to be a computer whizz to come up with lots of ideas and variations on a theme. We want to show you that you can use the computer in so many different ways in the design process – each one of us has used it differently.
Pat and Lesley have printed some of their photographs and manipulated images directly on to fabric and incorporated them into their work.
Ros created amazing patterns from photographs,
Hilary took shapes from images and turned them in to stitched 3D designs.
Erica cleverly reversed the process by starting with fabric (garments) which she scanned, printed and turned into origami earrings.
This exhibition is about education and inspiration, and I sincerely hope that you take the opportunity to come and see the variety of work that has been produced. Read and be inspired by the diverse ways that you might use the computer to help you in your own design process, and go home and try out some of the ideas presented to you in the design books. And so you don’t forget what you have seen, there will be a CD of the exhibition with images of all the work plus many of the design sheets so you can follow some of the processes at home. We will also have cards and postcards for sale.
The image below is of our group panel which was an exercise in working together and printing out on to as wide a variety of surfaces as we could manage. It was inspired by a piece called When We Were Six by Emily Richardson.
More than that, as the weeks go on, we will be posting more design sheets and images to the DOT blog which will enable you to follow more closely some of the transformations, and thus learn for yourself a little bit about how to begin your own digital creative journey.