So the key to getting started was first to source and identify potential non-wovens and binders. I really was in the dark… My first stop was to go to the peaceful shop Handweavers in the no so peaceful location Seven Sisters Road. I collected a sampling of fibres both cellulose (plant based) and protein (animal).
The benefit of protein fibres such as wool, all types animal hair and silks is that the keratins in the fibres allow for better tanglement of the fibres into a structure and absorption of an impregnated binding agent. Cellulose materials are good in the sense of processing and renewable sources. Many of the celllulose fibres are extremely strong such as hemp and flax.
So the decision to use particular fibres was based on a combination of material properties such as…
And the list was reduced to
The leather and crochet may have seemed like the great-grandfather and distant cousin but I felt it important to include these. See when something is forming and being created we hold onto things, ideas, notions for a reason. It is the analysis later which places them or re-appropriates the thinking into place. For me, these are “constants” in the thinking of this collection, the leather is traditional and the ultimate shrouding of animal mimicry to protect our feet and the crochet is the start of taking the fibres into woven structures. Kind of the entrance and exit doors to the ideas behind the collection.
The Binders were a bit more tricky…
The polyester resin whist it works and is reliable is smelly, toxic etc…Epoxy resin is better but costly, Bioresin from Cannonbury Arts is great to work with in a non-toxic way but bubbles with the slightest bit of moisture even when degassed. It may be my poor resining skills and there still may be hope but here is a sample on Linen Cannonbury did.
I did source Acrodur which is a non-toxic acrylic based binder used in the production of hemp car body panels as shone above in the Hemp and Acrodur material selection and on Ailssinger’s hemp chair.