Embedding memories: New woven textile product development

Lead Research Organisation: University for the Creative Arts
Department Name: Farnham College


The Pembrokeshire textile mill Melin Tregwynt has engaged a recent design graduate from the University for the Creative Arts, based at Farnham, to provide them with a new marketing angle, and to transfer new knowledge of design processes to the industrial process: The graduate explored hand woven techniques and finishing processes, transferring these to production looms. The graduate also explored CAD quilt and digital print designs for new product development. The graduate created new designs for high-quality commercial Welsh cloths, exploiting the mill's Welsh heritage and making prototypes to present at two UK trade shows.

Alison Woodley, a recent student of design from Farnham, produced a range of woven fabrics, digital quilt and print designs. She incorporated the Welsh countryside into her Computer-Aided Design to celebrate the mill's location and heritage, ready to debut at forthcoming trade shows in London and Japan. Woodley also designed a commemorative label for the Mill's centenary in 2012. The knowledge transfer project was a prototype for both partners and consequently has led to a number of case studies and teaching materials for the college to help both undergraduates and post graduates. A journal article was written, 'Collaborative Weaving: Knowledge Transfer and Textile Innovation in Wales', to be published in Looking Out, and a firm business relationship was established between the two partners.

The project was useful as an insight for academics into the practical difficulties faced by their graduates in the industrial sector, and the Knowledge Catalyst project has provided invaluable resources for them to help their students, with Woodley presenting her experience to undergraduates and lecturers and generating real case studies. The graduate gained invaluable confidence from the scheme and realised, in her own words, that 'Depending on other parties to answer questions, give options and confirm arrangements has been a different experience from designing and producing my own work...getting the answers you need means being confident and persistent.' The material will be of great value to graduate entrepreneurs, University consultants and for the student learning experience and future collaborations are planned between the University and Melin Tregwynt, who gained successful new product designs to take to national commercial fares.


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