This exhibition, a collaboration between the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Crafts Council, presents an eclectic range of objects, including various textiles, made by both amateurs and professionals.
I was particularly struck by a machine-embroidered snowflake made by Ellis Developments in polyester suture thread. This delicate structure is actually a surgical implant – it provides multiple attachment points for replacing lost tissue:
Other exhibits feature unusual materials. For example, Sabrina Gschwandtner made a quilt from 16mm film stock, sewn together with polyamide thread:
On a similar theme, Alyce Santoro produced a dress woven from audio tape and polyester thread. Apparently, if you drag the magnetic head from a tape player (remember those?) along the fabric, it emits a garbled, underwater-type sound.
Finally, there were some innovative materials, like Manel Torres’ spray-on fabric, Fabrican:
And I’ve written about Suzanne Lee before – she uses bacteria to “grow” material, which she then makes into garments or other items. One of her tote bags was on display.
There were lots of non-textile items, of course, including 3D printers and sugar sculpture. But my favourite was a Santoku kitchen knife, which is made by folding and forging 101 layers of different steel, producing a stunning wave pattern on the blade.
The manufacturing technique is based on that used for making samurai swords, which you can also see in the Japan section of the V&A. In one particularly fine example, the pattern is in the shape of a dragon. Quite amazing.
The Power of Making runs at the V&A until 2 January 2012, and admission is free – definitely worth a look.