Bring Design to Life

Each new year is a time to start fresh but no one starts with an entirely new life, new textile projects. Much of what we do in starting a new season is to examine what we already have, give it a polish, pitch out things that don’t work anymore and make plans for what new things should be done, acquired or learned to make our lives fit us again.

I started my webdesign journey because the LMS (Learning Management System) that my university was using dropped “podcasting” as an option for files. Being forced to set up my own website to podcast my lecture recordings to students began a whole new challenge. Making and updating websites is hard, making content on a regular basis is hard. This season, I hope to do better at tying what I am doing in my everyday life with my websites so that I can document my new textile projects and share things that might be meaningful to students of textiles.

One example of this is the Oneshirt project. You might not know, even if you had met me in person (which would be pretty impossible this past year because of the pandemic), that everyday I put on the same outfit. Not exactly the same clothes, of course, but my own uniform that I designed and created for myself. I have lots of reasons for doing this and over the past 3+ years of Oneshirt, I have learned a lot that I am ready to share. So, head over to Oneshirt if you would like to learn more.

I am also starting a new season of my podcast. I won’t make a ton of new content but I will reissue the older content in proper order so that new students can simply start at Season 3 and follow along.

Finally, in a small and halting way, I am beginning an open textbook project for Textiles students. There are many good textbooks that are now out of copyright protection but they need some updating and contextualization to make the really useful for today’s students. This will likely tie back directly to the Oneshirt project, since I want to keep that as my main focus. That means I probably won’t start the textbook in order, but choose the topics that relate to what I am working on in my other projects and keep fleshing it out over the course of the year.

I start a new season of the podcast with each new session of my Textiles course. Rather than make students go back in time, I duplicate episodes from previous seasons, and put them in the proper order. Season 3 will start on January 20th, but I am going to release the first episode, on Fiber Properties, a bit early to whet your appetite. If you have been listening to Season 2, you can continue to enjoy the same content there, or you can start over with a new year and a new season. i will insert a bit more new content and the spring goes along.

We wrap up our discussion of the internal morphology of fibers, focusing on polymer properties, by considering what the arrangement of polymers into crystalline structures can do for strength, or how cross-linking agents can improve resiliency.

While the surface morphology of fibers is an important influence on properties like luster and hand, it is the internal, chemical structure of the polymers that make up the fibers that has the greatest influence on properties like strength and absorbency.

A big thank you to Alexandria University in Egypt who invited me to present to their Home Economics students on the topic of textile entrepreneurship. I am sad to say I did not get to visit this cradle of textiles culture in person but thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to present a video to the meeting on “Creativity and Entrepreneurship to Achieve Sustainable Development“. The goal of this meeting was to promote women’s empowerment through small projects. I focused on using the internet to market handicrafts. One of the big challenges in marketing handicrafts made by women from outside the large markets is that they have not had training on marketing and branding so the products they produce don’t necessarily appeal to the consumers. My presentation discusses how to develop an authentic voice in handicrafts in order to “tell a story” about “your local” to consumers who want to have an “authentic experience”.