Sustainability Workshop

A sustainability workshop by Professor Kay Politowicz in two parts: in the morning at Chelsea College of Arts; in the afternoon at Camberwell College of Arts.

The workshop was based on TED — Textiles Environment Design — which has “been developing and refining a set of sustainable design strategies for textile and fashion designers”. As my practice involves fiber art I was clearly at home, but I think some of my peers felt a little out of their comfort zone, especially as textile has a vocabulary of its own (like most specialist areas).

Thinking about sustainability in terms of the following factors:

  • environment
  • social
  • economic

There are values to consider other than profit!

Strategies that have been developed — The TEN:

  1. Design to Minimise Waste
  2. Design for Cyclability
  3. Design to Reduce Chemical Impacts
  4. Design to Reduce Energy and Water Use
  5. Design that Explores Clean / Better Technologies
  6. Design that Looks at Models from Nature & History
  7. Design for Ethical Production
  8. Design to Reduce the Need to Consume
  9. Design to Dematerialise and Develop Systems & Services
  10. Design Activism

This is, of course, a “wicked” problem.

One interesting aspect that was discussed in the afternoon is whether, as fine artists, we need to consider in depth sustainability when developing our pieces. It is worth noting that the impact of a unique (or very small edition) will be different from something mass manufactured. However, it is still worth considering.

I found the mention of ethical production interesting as I am sourcing some fiber from a womens’ co-op in India who recycle waste material; and in economical contrast to that also from a privileged but micro yarn supplier in North America.





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