Linen Lace Concrete: Return to Source

Patricia Belford, Ruth Morrow, Ruth Morrow

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

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Trish Belford – Senior Research Fellow, Ulster University , Northern Ireland

Ruth Morrow – Professor of Architecture , Queens University Belfast

The external site: where textiles creates networks and conversations with and between communities. The presence of textiles as efficient and decorative within the architectural frame. Imaginative spaces to occupy and form alternative environments, connections to site-specific textiles, communities and civic identity. Mapping or remembering spaces through textiles and pyschogeography.

This paper will chart the progress of an AHRC follow on funding application which draws on the expertise between construction and weaving, underpinned by 10 years of research led by Patricia Belford (textiles) and Professor Ruth Morrow (architect). A major part of the initial research during the infant years was methodically developed through a mechanism of play and dissemination, while at the same time trying to answer an overarching research question: can a collaboration between an architect and a textile designer result in making hard surfaces soft? Subverting the perceived role of textiles as simply dressing within an interior space, to an integrated hybrid surface, where textiles and concrete form one unique tactile surface, equally delivering a new tactile material. In part these questions have been answered and this paper will discuss the benefits and pitfalls of working across very opposing disciplines. This will be illustrated in line with the current new work funded by the AHRC to collaborate with MYB textiles (Scotland) to investigate damask weaving of linen for embedded concrete surfaces. This is a one year stage by stage research project, working with the Queens University concrete lab, and weaving expertise within Ulster University. Each stage is designed and analysed merging divergent thinking across construction, textiles and industry. The final outcomes will be driven by 3D form work development and innovative methods to manufacturer a linen damask textile to work within a folded concrete surface. Collaborative relationships will be developed between the researchers and this long established Scottish weaving Company, supported by a final dissemination of the cultural story behind the collaboration and technology, this will be presented to both textile and construction communities. Each discipline bringing its own criteria for design, risk and expectations. The final hard soft concrete pieces will be folded and formed to compliment the woven linen damask pattern and process restrictions. Reactions to the work will vary depending on the audience and expectations of what it means to make hard surfaces soft.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 19 Jun 2018
EventTextiles and Place: The external site - Manchester School of Art . Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Apr 201813 Apr 2018


ConferenceTextiles and Place
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom

Bibliographical note

Funding bodies:

Art Humanities Research Council: Follow on funding grant ‘Linen Lace Concrete Return to Source’
Heritage Lottery funding: Reviving the William Liddell photographic damask plates from Donaghcloney


  • Concrete, Textiles, Linen, Weaving, Damask, Lace, Design, Architecture


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