Inflection

Materials: Nylon monofilament, silver lurex, 2mm acrylic. Programming: Shima Seiki Apex 1. Manufacture: Shima Seiki NSSG5g. Location: The Hall of Steel, The Royal Armouries, Leeds, 2017.

Inflection is a knitted textile assembly designed as a site specific installation for The Hall of Steel at The Royal Armouries, Leeds. The work is the outcome of research responding to the technology of the Chinese Armour Collection held in The Royal Armouries. Using specific pieces from the collection, research investigated the material properties of composite bows and lamellar armour as a material practice to inform constructed textile design.

Working across disciplines it was critical to develop a common language from which to analyse both the historic objects and the design potential. Performance and materiality were common terms of reference, and the hyper-specification of the material system was identified as a shared requirement of armour, weapons and the knitted assembly system.

Composite bows use a combination of materials to enhance their performance; textile in the form of sinew is tensioned by the belly and the back of the bow, made from horn and wood which are re-curved so that they bend in opposing directions when relaxed or tensioned. The combination of materials gives the bow its speed and force. Reversing the textile/solid relationship, Inflection uses tensioned textile to reform ridged Perspex, again it is a combination of materials which gives the work its form.

SHAPED. The exhibit is produced by combining 2D shaping and 3D form. Patterning is integrated into the structure of the fabric and produces the rippling textures. Tubular knit pockets, in combination with the tensioned Perspex generate the 3D form.

SUSTAINBLE. Inflection demonstrates how much material knowledge is embedded in an artefact. The piece is a response to historic techniques, and shows how knitting can be used to sustain and extend understanding of important archives using contemporary technology.

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