Yingying Ren

Revealing Meanings embedded within Craft Processes used in the Making of Textiles

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The development of textile craft traditions and traditional motifs face a challenge in contemporary Chinese culture. This is primarily due to modernisation having a profound impact on lifestyle. This has made traditional practises relying on inherent symbolism obsolete. The underlying significance of these traditional patterns has been lost along with the related craft skills. My research focuses largely on Chinese textile crafts, to explore the role of design in the recent Chinese craft revival. Identifying areas where design can support the long-term continuation of traditional craft practises, exploring the use and the role of collaborative crafts in the revival of traditional crafts this research examines the view of the recent textile crafts revival from the perspectives of theorists, practitioners, and curators. Qualitative and participatory methods will be used, including in-depth observations and semi-structured interviews with a variety of craft practitioners in UK and China, as well as first hand participation as a stitcher.  Conscious resurgence strategies – redesign of products, the application of historical traditional patterns in new contexts, and the innovative applications of traditional craft practices – could be used to align traditional crafts with contemporary society, connecting it with a rich history and culture, and demonstrating individual and group identities in a homogenising society. 

Names of Supervisors: Emilia Ferraro; Arthur Watson; Frances Stevenson