Creativity and innovation are a very important part of any society that expects to grow. Design plays an integral part in our lives from the conceptual stage with the “imagining” and sketching of the product idea. Next comes the fine tuning of ideas, creating prototypes, modifying and manipulating the design and materials before the final production. A designer has to have a great understanding of design and creativity. Watkins C. enthused in 2012 about the concept of design being dynamic and a designer needing to have design literacy.
“The concept is informed by design thinking, a rich and dynamic process that emphasizes inquiry, innovation, ideation, building and problem solving. Critical design literacy applies the protocols of design thinking to practice social innovations that lead to social transformation.”
Design is a more deliberate side of art that speaks to aesthetics, utility or both. Design innovation cultures are responsible for the relative ease of design processes. A textile designer has to be design literate and internalise the highly intricate and sophisticated production process a fabric has to go through. Textile design goes beyond the surface design on a fabric to the texture, colour and material composition of the textile in question. However, in this context, we are simply focused on surface design. Textile design (surface design) is the arrangement of certain elements in a “sensible” order that shows a harmonious marriage of colour, motif’s and patterns.
The use of an interactive tool or digital device in teaching textile design principles gives the lesson a more personal touch. The teacher is better able to show and explain the topic/subject matter and it’s nuances. The relaxed atmosphere in the classroom brought about by the interactive nature of the adopted learning process gives the students the opportunity to learn with hands on experience by observation and participation. In teaching textile design with the digital device, the class is able to understand how to make a design textile-ready. The students can with ease explore the different colour options open and design layers in real time. The use of the digital device in the classroom encourages interaction both between the students and the teacher and among the students. Their questions are given practical answers and the stiff formalities of a regular classroom is discarded.
The importance of the digital/interactive device to the classroom and it’s impact students learning cannot be understated. This is because the relaxed learning atmosphere makes learning easier and the fact that the lesson had both visual and audio elements helps keep the lesson in the memory of the students. This in turn affects students results positively. Therefore one can say that the introduction of the digital device goes a long way towards answering the how, what and where, of textile design. The exercise in class saw the students explore textile design patterns in continuous and mirror designs. The students also engaged in comparative design study where the class compared one textile design form with another, to expose structural and material differences.
Examples of questions that were used to guide the direction of the lesson include;
Q.How can one be sure of the integrity of a continuous textile design?
Q.What is the major identifying feature of a mirror pattern?
Q.What motif’s can be used to design a fabric?
The ease of learning associated with the use of the digital/interactive device in the classroom also applies to teaching the hermeneiutics of surface textile design. The hermeneiutics of a piece of fashion according to Obiuwevbi O. C. (2016) may not always be clear and concise but will always be open to individual interpretation and appreciation.
Textile design is subjective, in that it is open to interpretation, the Dutch wax and most of it’s motif’s for instance are given moniker’s. This form of symbolism leaves the design and eventual function of the textile up to the interpretation of the end user. For instance, the Vlisco Dutch wax with a surface design of open bird cages and two birds flying out, was dubbed “you fly, I fly” by textile vendors, which means to say if you think this marriage is something you can take and leave as you please, I will do same.
Watkins C. (2012), Why Critical Digital Literacy is Needed Now More Than Ever. Retrieved June 01, 2014 from http://dmlcentral.net/blog/s-craig-watkins/why-critical-design-literacy-needed-now-more-ever
Obiuwevbi O. C. (2016), The Real Dutch Wax Prints of Vlisco in Contemporary Nigerian Fashion. Unpublished M.A. thesis, Department of Fine Arts and Design. University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.