Day 3 Giveaway: Textile Visionaries

textile_visionaries_coverTextile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design is the third giveaway in our 7 day series and a prize it certainly is.

I describe the text as a series of profiles of 36 textile artists who use a variety of contemporary methods to embellish fabrics in sustainable and futuristic ways. I don’t know that you remember me saying this but textile production is extremely complex and intellectually rigorous and this text is certainly a testament of it. Processes are just as varied as the artists, methods encompass cutting edge technology, weaving, surface design, sustainability and dimensional manipulation.

For example, one artist is Margot Selby, an adherent of zero waste.  She designs and produces textiles that are used to manufacture her products. The waste from these products are recycled to produce still other items -such as the jacket seen at lower right.

Another designer I’m taken with is Dava Newman. Literally a rocket scientist (professor of Aeronautics Engineering at MIT), she’s designed a “BioSuit” space suit with funding from NASA. The technology has wide ranging medical applications on this planet as well. It is hoped the suit will help children with cerebral palsy to walk.

This is truly a thoughtful and well composed inquiry into a segment of textile artists transcending the boundaries of design via the most tactile and sensory components of our trade -textiles. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have.

Textile Visionaries: Innovation and Sustainability in Textile Design by Bradley Quinn
650 illustrations, 312 pp
9.75″x8.25″, paperback
ISBN 9781780670539
Publisher: Laurence King (link to purchase on publisher’s site)
List: $40.00

Rules to enter today’s giveaway:
Leave a comment describing the most challenging textile design project you’ve undertaken OR a comment describing a process or technique that you’ve been interested in attempting.

Since I’m paying for shipping*, this giveaway is limited to US residents. If you live abroad and are willing to pay shipping, you can enter too.

*The publisher has been truly awesome at providing books for giveaways and has paid for shipping in the past but they sent me this book so many months ago that I feel guilty asking them to extend the courtesy. In short, don’t think badly of the publisher.

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  1. Adrienne says:

    I am always fascinated by the ever growing world of textile manipulation. The whole experimental process connects you in such a personal way with the work. My favorite techniques involve both hand and machine stitching to join smaller off cuts into new fabrics for patch worked projects. I love that this book has a focus on the zero waste concept, a concept so dear to my heart. I would love to add this one to my collection :)

    One of the companies I used to work for would collect smaller pieces of fabric in boxes to cut down into small products. One day after sorting through usable pieces I asked permission and showed my manager how we could piece them very quickly and we made up several patch worked tote bags very quickly. They were a touch more expensive but they loved how it cleaned up the scrap boxes.

  2. Pam Parker says:

    Ah, sustainability and using up scraps, this is my personal mantra. I would love to have this wonderful book. As a seamstress in the movie industry, I see so much waste on a consistent basis. I’m always dreaming and scheming of ways to use that which is going to get wasted anyway. I’ve gotten permission to take a few things home and recycle them into something wonderful.

    My dream career would be a textile designer. I’ve designed a little bit of my own fabric, but would love to read about other textile designers and their methods. Thank you for letting me know about this book, even if I don’t win (but crossing my fingers that I do).

  3. Lu says:

    My most challenging project was to design a collage jacket, starting from a plain Ragland sleeve pattern, using a variety of collected fabrics, over-dyed kimono scraps, tie silks and vintage trims, beads, and bias tape seam embellishments made from batiks. Reusing vintage textiles, trims and beads is an important part of my design process and I would love to find new inspirations in this book.

  4. Deana says:

    Last Christmas I experimented with a bunch of ways to apply bleach to fabric so I could create silhouettes of my two kids. I know, I know bleach and silhouettes have like 1000 versions on Pinterest. But ultimately, I used a toothpaste/clorox combo (the toothpaste let me keep it thick for control) and I got a great “hug” silhouette. The grandmas loved their hug quilts.

  5. elle says:

    I create costumes by layering fabrics and stitching them together, adding paint amd nailheads too. by layering I can recycle older fabrics, and create something that is stronger and richer than what you can buy. Grommets and slashing can create “peekaboo” effects underneath.

  6. Ina says:

    I am currently collecting the scrap left from pillows that I make for a collection of stores. Some of them are cut into strips for strip quilts. The heavier pieces are cut into blocks or rectangles and pieced together to make totes or large “football” quilts. You know the type you would take to a football game and wrap up in.
    I have also ordered zippers to turn the smaller pieces into make up bags or change purses.
    I would love to see what other ideas abound in this book.

  7. Amrit in SF says:

    I have no special training or education in textile design, but most of my offerings as a DE are hand-painted and -printed silk and cotton.

    I also am a huge fan of “zero waste” and wish this concept would pick up amongst the consumer base in the same way that hemp and organic cotton/linen fabrics and ecofriendly colors have integrated into dailywear

  8. Teresa Ruch says:

    I am a weaver. I weave white cloth and then paint it with dyes which is more of a surface design technique. I also paint/print on commercial fabric and am very interested in other surface design techniques and of crossing the borders between the textile disciplines. I would love this book.
    I was a woven textile designer for industry, mainly jacquard designs. It is not what it use to be, now it is basically equality control.

  9. Arizona says:

    I’m fascinated by art quilts and the techniques they use to achieve their design. I took a class with a quilt artist years ago and it was so much fun. If I ever have a spare 20 Grand laying around I’m going to buy a long-arm quilting machine on a frame.

    Currently I’m learning silk screening. I’ve always wanted to learn how to do it, but just never got around to it.

  10. adela says:

    Una vez intente hacer una chaqueta para mi pero era bastante difícil ya que tenia la abotonadura por dentro y no se tenia que ver y por aquel entonces yo era muy novata y me costo bastante

  11. Matt C. says:

    One thing I am interested in designing is an electrically-heated coat. This is something that already exists for motorcyclists. Basically they plug into an electrical outlet on their motorcycle and underneath the jacket lining is nichrome wiring (the same type of high-resistance wire used in toasters and electric blankets). I am thinking that this type of jacket is something that might also be useful for security guards and construction workers to wear. They have to stand outside in the cold winters for a long time, but usually have some source of electricity nearby they could plug into. A heated coat would make their job more pleasant.

  12. REHMAN says:

    One technique I really want to learn is block printing,this is a technique that can reduce the need of embellishments to some extent and make your garment look simple but unique,and as a fashion home student i would really like to learn those tips and tricks that textile designers use to attain perfection in their fabrics that talk to the customer and attracts them to buy it or the garment made from it.
    i would love to win this book,thnx

  13. Donna says:

    I actually purchased scraps from a well known shibori artist and fused the scraps to a length of fusible interfacing. I then stitched across the width of fabric to secure any loose ends. The final garment was a jacket that I then wore when taking a workshop with the artist. I did a similar project with a piece of hand dyed gauze. The gauze was usable as garment fabric once I fused it to a lightweight interfacing. I have always enjoyed mixing different prints when sewing.

  14. Deborah says:

    I am a textile junkie. I collect and use a wide range of fabrics in garments and accessories.
    I am currently selling locally small spherical purses constructed of kimono, obi and hand dyed fabrics. I love playing with the 3 to 5 fabrics that go into each bag.

  15. Steven D says:

    My most challenging textile project was my 8th grade home economics stuffed animal project. It came out so bad, the teacher made me sew a rifle case for extra credit … hahaha…omg! This was also in 1993.

  16. Bente says:

    Textile science has increased my attention more and more.
    So much in the process into a textile is harmful for the environement and as a designer I feel responsible. I have tried Nuno Felting which is a lot of fun and you can use some scrap wool thread and different small fabric scrap. I don’t throw away anything. Some of the smaller fabric cuts can even go into filling of decorative cushions.

  17. Joyce Plunkett says:

    Wow. Most challenging textile project is upcoming as soon as garden preservation is finished. I love to shop thrift stores for good materiels. Last spring, I found three men’s suit jackets made of cashmere, wool and camel hair. They are deep brown, camel, and bottle green colors. I have a vision of creating a moto-style jacket – lots of small pattern pieces, which is suitable for cutting up jackets. I’m an intermediate level sewer and am hoping that this is not beyond my skills! But I have less than $10 invested, so am going for it ;-) I love finding fabrics, buttons, etc. at thrift-level prices and up-cycling. I think my mom was the first “upcycler” that I knew – it was in her blood and now I’ve got it. I love textiles and the possibilities they hold. Would love to find out more from this book.

    Thanks for offering it!

  18. Rosalba says:

    My most challenging project continues to be—as I sew custom clothing designs for women–mixing fabrics with disparate properties to successful, wearable effect. For example I just finished making a classic princess-seamed, A-line, full length bridal gown with a scooped out back…out of stretch baby-wale corduroy. Ultra-clean silhouette, but a challenging fabric to work with, as it became thick quickly and stretched more than one would have thought. I specialize in inventive combinations in my one-of-a-kind designs and source from both new and vintage goods, so being able to combine these by understanding how each fabric “behaves” is my constant source of learning and experimenting.

  19. As a full fashion knitwear designer, I create new fabric structures and patterns almost every day.

    The most challenging part is creating fabrics that flatter the body in terms of scale and placement of motifs on the pattern panels. Getting these fabrics to work across sizes becomes a fascinating challenge.

    Another challenging aspect is creating something that can be produced efficiently so that I can offer the most value to the customer. There are lots of nerdy knitted structures you can bend your mind around creating so that other textile designers will scratch their chins, but you have to keep your audience in mind and what will impress them. I indulge in these experiments on weekends.

    I am a big fan of graphic, contrasting designs that don’t have a repeat, but are a single image on the pattern panel.

    “Losing the repeat” is something print-makers hold in high esteem. Making a print repeat that works on a pillow, a bedspread, curtains AND a dress is more challenging that you would think–until you try it! It’s as hard as matching stripes on your seams.

    My latest challenge is taking a traditional “lacis” lace table cloth and translating it into a machine-knitted fabric for a customer. I design a lot of knitted “lace” (pointelle) and this customer likes my work. I have tried to explain that the feel is going to be completely different. I can really only use the general shapes and layout of the motifs because the structure of the stitches is completely different, being loops rather than a grid. I hope she likes the result!

  20. rose in SV says:

    When I first started sewing again (after learning to sew during two semesters in high school), I was amazed (and I’m still amazed/fascinated) by the ability to take a flat (mostly 2 dimensional object) and make it fit, look wonderful on a 3 dimensional body (or 4 dimensional if you consider that the weare has be comfortable in the garment or it’s just not going to be worn for any length of time). When I first saw fabric manipulation, my immediate thought was “*why?* isn’t it challenging enough already?” (I’m a home sewer/sewist, so my technical skills are probably not advanced enought to support exploration. Although I have trouble with some modern art, too). My one attempt (still ongoing) is a knitting a sweater from fabric-yarn (fabric cut into strips and knit with a jumbo needles). It’s currently an unfinished object.

  21. Tora says:

    I’ve always been interested in different textures. even as a pre-teen. My friends and classmates thought I was weird, because in the 70’s I would combine a sky blue A-line skirt with a brown and green tweed blazer. As a child I didn’t understand textiles, I just knew that I liked unconventional fabrics and loved mixing them up in ways that no other girl could emulate. Many moons later, I’m still stuck on texture mixing and embellishment. I make handbags these days, and some of my handbags are variegated with an assortment of fabrics and decoration.

  22. Donna says:

    I finally have my own studio for my looms, and spinning wheel, and fabric painting, and knitting machine and I just got recruited for a project totally devoted to recycling in the Spring. Bet we could do some wonderful things. I’m presently creating garments that are made without waste and almost without cutting out of a single piece of fabric I knit or weave, so I’m envisioning turning a bunch of “throw aways” into a single expanse of fabric and then into one of my garments. Reading all of the above comments has been very inspiring.

  23. Dia in MA says:

    My favorite project was also my first pattern making attempt. I copied the top of a favorite dress when it wore out. I’ve re-used that pattern a number of times since then.

  24. Malissa says:

    I love playing with rust dying. I’ve bought quite a few metal scraps. At one scrap metal sale I got my hands on some iron oxide which will work to dye fabric with soy milk, but I haven’t tried it yet it has to cure for 2 weeks. Another dye I’d like to get my hands on is made from recycled tires.

  25. Micaela says:

    I´m into deconstruction and reconstruction. So far, the hardest was turning two old pair of jean into a strapless, full of darts and volume dress! I love it though!

  26. Lesley Miller says:

    If this has not been closed yet, I would like to add my entry.
    I’ve been interested in textile design and manipulation for a while, especially using fabric origami techniques to provide interest to garments. Probably the most challenging textile design was one that I did in my final year of school, where I used scraps from all of my other garments to create a chenille fabric (by layering, overstitching and then cutting through all but the base layer) which I then used as part of a jacket. It was time consuming, but very satisfying in the end result.
    But I am always looking for new techniques to play with. Next on my list is screen printing.
    I would love to get my hands on a copy of this book – I am always looking for new inspiration!

  27. Frankie says:

    WHAT ARE MY CREATIONS MADE FROM? I use beading, embroidery, fabric manipulation, textile embellishment, printing, dyeing and painting, needle sculpting to create imaginative textile characters. I use high thread count cotton fabrics, silk and other textiles, yarns and threads; plus chenille stems to wire the fingered hands and a good quality polyester filling.

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