"Knitwear really fascinates me ... I just really love the way that you can kind of build this tactile structure from scratch."
Tell us a little bit about yourself?
I’m a knitwear and textile designer. When I met you (Jason Lingard), I was a postgraduate student majoring in Textile Design. Now, I’m working for a local Knitwear manufacturer, designing and programming knitwear.
So was knitwear a major focus of yours while you were at University?
The short answer is yes! The Textile Design degree allowed me to experiment with a few avenues like print and surface design, but Knitwear really fascinated me so that became a major focus for my Masters. I just really loved the way that you can kind of build this tactile structure from scratch. You have so much control with knitwear design and the possibilities are endless.
What was the last personal project you worked on? Was that your Masters project? Tell me about it.
Yeah, I guess one of the main focal points of my project was to translate a craft aesthetic and approach into a digitally knitted format, which I tried to show through distortions and transparency. I wanted to convey that idiosyncratic sort of touch of the hand to technological processes. Also a big consideration was what sort of place there is for this practice in local industry.
So you spent a lot of time using computer software?
Yeah, I used the Shima Seiki Knit design software to program the computerised knitting machines, which I also use in my job now.
Is it hard to reconcile doing something that's kind of unique or a bit distressed on something so precise as computer software?
Well, there are actually so many variables to consider when you’re creating something, so the same knit structure could come out quite different depending on what type of fiber combination or tension you’re using even if it is carefully programmed on a computer. In some ways it’s quite easy to be spontaneous and create something quite unique. I liked experimenting with contrasting fibers like organic and inorganic to create combating forces within the structure - usually interesting textures or variations of opacity arise.
Do you prefer working digitally, or by hand?
Um, I suppose, obviously you get that instant gratification with digital, but I prefer a combination of the two. Working by hand is therapeutic and very personal. You get to really control what you’re doing and see it unfold before your eyes, but it’s hard to be completely precise by hand, so every piece is generally a little bit unique. In saying that I still love technology and its opportunity for constant innovation.
What were some of the lessons you learned working on the knitwear you did for Jason Lingard?
As it was my first time translating some of my more intricate and delicate knitted structures to commercial garments, I really learned to gauge the commercial viability of something and how it will work going into production. Unfortunately sometimes there are sacrifices to the design that you have to make to just get something to work which I found hard. I can get so attached to my designs! Haha. Anyway I think we both learned a lot about that respect, but also it was just really great working with another like-minded designer on a collaborative project and just really getting to see our ideas come to life.
What’s next for you?
Well, in the immediate future, I’m heading to Japan for work to do a training workshop with Shima Seiki. I’ll be learning more about their design software.
Haha, yes so exciting! I’m really inspired by principles of Japanese design and have always wanted to visit Japan so that will be cool. Also just so excited to learn more about the software and machinery. I’ll be there for three weeks so it should be good but intense; knitwear bootcamp! Haha.
Photos: Sacha Stejko