The Beauty of Experiment - The Rediscovery of Shadow Tissues

Patricia Belford, Philip Sykas, Paul Turnbull

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

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This Leverhulme 2 year research grant (£111.648) (1,1a)) is a collaborative project bringing together expertise from three different design sectors: Trish Belford (PA) / Dr Philip Sykas, Manchester Metropolitan University (Co), a Design Historian known for his work in bringing together textile manufacturers ‘design archives’ and Paul Turnbull, Managing Director of Turnbull Design Ltd - an international printing Company and holder of the Turnbull and Stockdale archive. The project is in its infancy and is investigating the lost technique known as ‘shadow tissue’ doing this not only as an historical and theoretical exercise, but utilizing archaeological techniques to find out how shadow tissues and their various techniques were produced. Supported by a Research Assistant, the project will not only develop practical samples, informed by history, but will also liaise with Turnbull Design Ltd to consider any commercial applications. Outlining the initial research was presented on the 17th November 2011 at TRIP: An international symposium exploring the role and relevance of traditional ‘hand skills’ in contemporary textiles, and the value and status of craft process(2,3,4). This research will open up an important private design archive to academic study for the first time, and will leave several concrete outcomes: Archival recording of designs and samples relating to shadow tissues in the T&S archives, a group of textiles samples held at UU, a body of contemporary design work evolved from historical technique but with currency in the present marketplace. The physical outcome will be a limited edition of pattern books containing samples to touch, and will be offered to appropriate academic, museum and educational libraries. I was awarded the Textile Society Professional Development Award for work linked to this grant and development of new work ‘Printed Alchemy - Familiar pattern speaking a different language’ (5). An abstract on this project and related colour theories will be submitted for the AIC (International Colour Association) in December. Selected authors will have the opportunity to publish an extended version of their paper in a special issue of the Journal of the International Colour Association (JAIC) Invited by Text (The Textile Society Journal) editor Lynn Hulse to write an article for the forthcoming December 2012 publication.*This work is to be completed during 2013
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Beauty of Experiment
Place of PublicationIsle of Man 2013
PublisherTurnbull and Stockdale
ISBN (Print)978-1-905476-87-9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2013


  • textiles
  • archives
  • archaeology
  • shadow tissues.


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