“New Natural” explores and questions the perception of natural colour and its application in contemporary print and material exploration.
The project focuses on heritage craft techniques working alongside new, non-traditional dye and print approaches.
Locally sourced Madder, one of the oldest and most commonly used traditional natural dye sources is used in combination with foraged Blackberry and plant based bio mordants to create a range of contemporary printed material samples.
Glazed grids investigates and exploits the specific melting and fusing points of basalt, the resulting material hybrids, in the form of prototype modular tiles, propose applications for architectural and interior environments. Through careful control of temperature a range of colours, material finishes and soft grid patterns were created.
Invited by a leading Indian textile manufacturer, Rebecca was asked to revive a traditional weaving technique from Kannur, Southern India that is at risk of dying out. Rebecca collaborated with woven textile designer, Subhash Kumar, combining their technical knowledge and expertise to create a commercial collection of interior textiles. In this manufacturing process, the pattern is first printed onto the warp prior to being woven, producing a natural shift in the original design. Fusing analogue and digital techniques, the designs created embrace the element of chance, with evidence of the ‘hand of the maker’ pushing the geometric trend in new directions.
Rebecca collaborated with the Malian designer Boubacar Doumbia as part of Graphic Africa, an exhibition showcasing a uniquely African aesthetic. Boubacar Doumbia’s Le Ndomo textile workshop specialises in natural fabric staining and dyeing techniques. Rebecca and Boubacar created a limited-edition textile collection using 'bogolan', a traditional mud-dye process. This technique was explored for its contemporary possibilities, celebrating its African identity while giving it a new voice for Western markets, resulting in interior textiles exclusive to Habitat UK.
Central to Rebecca’s working method is her hands-on approach. Exploring industrial manufacturing methods through working in factories and mills, she looks in detail at the processes behind production to develop new designs which mix old and new practices. Rebecca has used this approach to design a variety of high-end woven fabrics exploring the possibilities of combining artisan and digital techniques. Rebecca's ability to recognise the potential in atechnique, gives her a fresh, exciting perspective contributing a new design style to the brands with which she works.
Art direction and styling are key aspects of Rebecca’s design process, setting the mood for her collections through creative photography which reflects the inspiration for her designs. For the Blue collection, an initial concept derived from a creative workshop resulted in the production of textiles, rugs and ceramics exclusive to Habitat. Inspirational imagery reflects the freehand style of the entire collection, with a highly-effective use of mark-making and ink painting to create an artisanal look and feel.
Photography: Rian Crabtree
Breaking the Mould (BTM) is an open-ended research project led by AUT with a focus on experimental approaches to the traditions of glass making in Venice, Italy. Rebecca was invited to join phase two of the project, BTM02, to research the possibility of using fabrics to create contemporary textural patterns in glass. Silica fabric and ceramic yarns were embroidered, laser-cut, stitched and layered to create a series of inspiring and resilient textile moulds used to transfer patterns onto the glass during the blowing process.
With an interest in reinventing traditional craft, Rebecca combines digital and artisan processes to create inspired design stories. Exploring Shibori, a Japanese tie-dying technique, this digital textile collection takes a highly-considered approach, imitating the delicacy and freedom of a historic process to give high-end, printed designs a sense of understated luxury. The subtle imperfections, colour fades and blurred motifs are true to Shibori and remain integral to this contemporary textile collection for interiors.
Rebecca was selected to take part in this initiative of the British Council and Anou, an artisan-led e-commerce site bringing together artisan communities across Morocco and providing equal access to the free market.
The objective of the programme was to create a meaningful exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills between artisans from the Anou community in Morocco and selected UK-based designers and to facilitate an exploration of the relationship between craft and contemporary design. Living with the artisans in the Atlas Mountains, the designers worked across weaving, leatherwork, woodwork, ceramics and metalwork. The designers and artisans led workshops providing insights into their respective practices and exchanging skills and knowledge.
Rebecca led a workshop on the meaning of symbols found in Amazigh culture. She then worked Kenza Oulaghda, an artisan weaver, and with Association Tithrite (a cooperative of twenty women weavers based in Ait Hamza, a small village in the Middle Atlas Mountains) to develop new products incorporating leather into traditional weaving.
Rebecca was invited by Design Network Africa to work with Aïssata Namoko in Mali, Africa to give product development input and to create a range of interior accessories.
Namoko heads up Djiguiyaso, a co-operative in Mali providing work for over a hundred women. Recognised by UNESCO for its work, the artisans create a wide range of products using indigo, whilst also utilising their skills in spinning, weaving, sewing and crochet.
Photography: Adriaan Louw Styling: Cathy O'Clery
Fabric of The City
Rebecca was one of 14 leading East London-based textile designers invited to participate in this exhibition at The Cass Bank Gallery, London Metropolitan University, funded by the Arts Council. The designers created original works responding to the rich heritage of the Huguenot silk weavers who made Spitalfields a leading textile centre in the 17th Century.
Access to original archival material at the Victoria & Albert Museum enabled Rebecca to take inspiration from the Huguenot silk weavers’ swatch books. Drawing on the graphic way in which the ancient silk swatches were presented and on their unexpectedly vibrant colours, Rebecca’s work presented a modern reinterpretation of the archives.
Again collaborating with Malian designer Boubacar Doumbia – this time at his Le Ndomo textile workshop in Segou, Mali – Rebecca and Boubacar developed a new product ranges, including a collection of strip cushions using ‘bogolan’ the traditional mud-dye process for which Boubacar’s studio is renowned.
Funded by the Textile Futures Research Centre at Central Saint Martins, the aim of this project to create new material hybrids.
Rebecca and Anne Marr, course leader BA Textile Design, collaborated on this open-ended research project developing new hybrid ceramic-textile materials through experimentation with ceramic and textile materials and processes.
Rebecca and Anne's project outcomes were displayed in CSM's Lethaby Gallery in the 'Real Dirty Blue' exhibition.