Tag Archives: research

Assignment 5: Research ~ Hampton Manor

In preparation for the assignment, throughout part five I took a few photo’s of textiles in context that I encountered in my day to day life. I’ve included these photographs with some analysis of the textiles in my physical learning log (see pictures below):

Photograph of pages from physical learning log.

Photograph of pages from physical learning log.








I also did the same for some of the photographs I took during my afternoon at Hampton Manor:

Examples of annotated photographs and research in physical learning log.

Examples of annotated photographs and research in physical learning log.









Textiles in context: Hampton Manor



Hampton Manor is a ‘country house and restaurant’ situated in the small village of Hampton on Arden, between Solihull and Birmingham. My husband used to work there and it was one of the first places that came to mind when considering an environment where textiles play a key role.

From my last visit to Hampton I remembered that textiles were used to create a sense of luxury and welcome, there were velvet upholstered chairs, silk or satin curtains and bold patterns covering cushions. I asked the current Head of the House, Joshua Oakes, if it was possible to visit to  take some photographs and ask questions about their use of textiles. I was kindly allowed to spend an afternoon photographing not only the guest rooms (there are fifteen in total), Peel’s Restaurant, their afternoon tea room and lobby area.


As I went around the Manor, and in the course of my questioning, it became clear Hampton Manor was undergoing a change in terms of it’s aesthetic. It was interesting to discover how important textiles are in creating an new aesthetic and environment which sought to celebrate The Arts and Crafts Movement. In this assignment I want to explore their transition from one aesthetic to another, and touch upon how they are using textiles to reflect values from The Arts and Crafts Movement. I think that the shift towards a ‘hand-crafted’ look within Hampton is part of a general trend against what Guardian Journalist Justin McGuirk called, ” a culture surfeit of branding and cheap mass-produced goods” the end is result is that we, “romanticise the hand made because we yearn for quality not quantity”. McGurik’s article makes the claim that the mass population will not be able to afford the cost of paying for higher quality goods, “we’ll be seeing more crafted industrial goods coming our way, as we lust after craftsmanship we can’t afford and disdain the industrial products we can”. If this is the case, then the luxury sector, and I consider Hampton Manor to be a part of this, may well be the area to champion goods created by a new wave of designer-makers.

I took a truck load of photographs whilst at Hampton, and I’ll include them all in this post purely so it’s clear that I took plenty of primary research before then selecting which were appropriate for the assignment essay…

Continue reading

Project 3: Research – Zaha Hadid Sackler Gallery extension

The Serpentine Sackler Gallery, extension was commissioned in 2009-2013. A gallery of two different parts, a converted 19th century brick building and a 21st century textile based structure (designed by Zaha Hadid Architects). The structure is made from tensile created from glass-fibre and forms a curved canopy which looks a bit like a sting ray crossed with a space ship (that’s just what I think).

I read an article about it in the Dezeen Magazine online, Serpentine Sackler Gallery by Zaha Hadid. Also in The Architectural Review; Zaha Hadid’s Serpentine Extension exploits old and new. 

Serpentine Sackler Gallery Extension; Front facing view. Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects, photograph by Luke Hayes.

Serpentine Sackler Gallery Extension; Front facing view. Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects, photograph by Luke Hayes.








Continue reading

Project 2: Research ~ Ptolemy Mann

For this task I have been asked to research a designer/artist/maker whose work I am drawn to and consider the following questions. I’ve chosen to look more closely at the work of Ptolemy Mann.

What is their craft and how do they approach their work?

Ptolemy Mann is a textile artist and designer, whose craft is primarily weaving. She is a highly skilled hand weaver and so some of her work, commissions, is made by herself at a loom. Her textile work reveal she is an “expert at creating a broad spectrum of vibrant colours in a single design, she is known for her painterly approach” (p.172, Textile Visionaries by Bradley Quinn).


Circle #10, 2011, textile artwork woven by Ptolemy Mann.

Circle #10, 2011, textile artwork woven by Ptolemy Mann.









Continue reading

Project 2: Research point ~ Slow Design

Research: Slow Design

What are the guiding principles of this movement?

Slow movement is a really a philosophy for life. Whilst it’s early origins are said to be in the Slow Food movement, the idea of ‘slowness’ as a philosophy has spread and been fleshed out into real life practices and attitudes towards; how we design products, branding, work, leadership, fashion, family. It is encourages a holistic view and evaluation of life, as opposed to the fragmentation often seen as a part of modern living.

Quality over Quantity – the idea that its better to design one thing well i.e. with quality raw materials, with good ethical practices, with less environmental impact, than many things poorly. Being willing to pay more to have an item that will last longer than to pay less and have many items which will be used briefly and thrown away. Longevity is another key part of designing – designing things to last in contrast to deliberately making something with a short life span to keep consumers buying products.

Human Connection – seeing design as something which should add value to society, enriching the lives of every person who comes into contact with a product, from the maker, designer to consumer.

Environmental Connection – taking time to consider different solutions to design which include the environmental cost. Often this movement champions local produce, things made from regional materials or local designers.

Slowing down the pace of life, to allow conscious decisions .

Strong bond between craft and slow movement – craft or craft-manship is strongly encouraged in the movement, as an alternative to the speed of mass production, and the disconnection that can occur in the process with the land and with society.

Balance – although the movement is called the ‘slow’ movement this isn’t an encouragement to literally do everything at a snails pace. They talk about ‘good slow’ and ‘bad slow’, an example being ‘traffic or slow broadband – bad slow’ – something which hinders you being able to achieve your work. ‘Good Slow’ being taking time to read a bed time story to your children, or taking longer on a project to reach a more sustainable design as opposed to rushing it and using the cheapest available materials.

People Not Consumers – Designing with people’s needs in mind and encouraging people to see themselves as valued not just something to be manipulated or squeezed for profit.

‘The slow movement is a cultural shift towards slowing down life’s pace. It is not organised and controlled by a singular organisation. A principal characteristic of the Slow Movement is that it is propounded, and its momentum maintained, by individuals that constitute the expanding global community of Slow. Although it has existed in some form since the Industrial Revolution its popularity has grown considerably since the rise of Slow Food and Cittaslow in Europe, with Slow initiatives spreading as far as Australia and Japan’ (Wikipedia)

Key Figures:

Carl Honore – author of In Praise of Slow – a book advocating a change to our approach to life.

Geir Berthelsen – Founder of The World Institute of Slowness (originally a Think Tank, in 1999).

Safia Minney – Founder and CEO of People Tree, a Fair trade fashion company, also author of Slow Fashion  and advocate in the slow fashion movement.

Alastair Fuad Luke – Slow Research Lab – rethinking the process of research in creativity and beyond. Here’s a link to their Resources; Slow TOOLS – Slow Practices. 


Research Links:

Do you believe this approach to design and making could have a positive impact on our consumption of products?

In principle yes – in practice is another thing. I think if designers can communicate this approach in a clear manner then they may be able to affect consumer attitudes. I think it also requires a different approach to advertising, particularly the messages that come across. If advertising continues to push fast consumption or thoughtless consumption people will continue to consume in this way. It’s a bit of a paradox, that designers in this movement will have to ask people to consume less but when they do buy to buy products of a higher value or monetary cost. I think designers must make clear the different value their products bring to consumers and to the world in general, shifting value from being ‘what do I get’ and ‘how quickly/easily can I get it’ to ‘how does this benefit the people who made it, what is the cost to the environment, Do I need this, Does this add value to my life?’.

Would you place more value on a product that has been created with this principle in mind? Why or why not?

Yes, I think so. Partly because if a product is created in this way it tells me that the designer hasn’t just created it to gain the most profit for themselves irrelevant of the cost to people or the environment. But I would still want to research the designers process, to see evidence that their words match their actions. I’m also drawn to the idea of something having been crafted with care and by hand, perhaps it’s a love for stories or something that seems more personal. Another reason is because to a degree these principles make up some of my own approach to designing or printmaking, so it would be strange for me to practice these things but not support those same principles as a consumer.


Project 3: Research point ~ New Topographics

After reading  The Guardian article; New Topographics: photographs that find beauty in the banal, by Sean O’Hagan. I have few observations – firstly that this idea or concept of finding beauty in the everyday seems to be a feature in lots of post-modern art, it seems to manifest in lots of different mediums but is an undercurrent, as some kind of reaction to the world we live in.

Continue reading