Back in March this year we were invited by TCDC (Thailand Creative & Design Center) to join a collaborative project with a Taiwanese fashion designer C JEAN. The project was created by TCDC and Taiwan's SCCP (Songshan Cultural and Creative Park) and the aim is to build a relationship between designers from the two countries by exchanging ideas and collaborating together to develop works for a mini-exhibition in Bangkok in April.
Although the time given was extremely limited we felt that it would be a good opportunity for us to try new techniques and build a connection with C JEAN and SCCP. We also love Taiwan so much that we couldn't say no. Besides, the project theme 'Inspired by Nature' was also a perfect match with our work.
To branch out from our usual shibori works we decided to try the eco-printing technique as we wanted to capture the colours and forms of our natural environment and transfer them onto the fabric. We started with pre-treating the silk with aluminium acetate. This helped the dye molecules from the plants stick to the fabric. Once the silk was ready we took a walk around our garden and collected various plant materials – leaves, flowers, stalks, petals, berries, etc, all of which were placed onto the silk. We also sprinkled some powdered dyestuff like sappanwood, safflower and mangosteen for an extra burst of colour. Then we rolled the fabric into a tight bundle which we secured with string, steamed for several hours and left to stand overnight. The next day after untying the bundle and washing the results could be seen. A fun and totally unpredictable technique that works really well on lustrous silk!
C JEAN scanned our samples, digitally manipulated and printed onto silk to make some stunningly elegant garments. We’re really happy to see how the final pieces came out!
This collaboration continued when TCDC approached us again and asked if we were available to go to Taipei for a week in July to work towards another mini-exhibition at SCCP similar the one held in Bangkok. This time we had about a month and a half to work on the project. After discussion with C JEAN we decided to take inspiration from the Op Art movement and the spectacular works of Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez.
Playing with the visual concept of kinetic energy and optical illusion effects we created the textiles with natural dyes and the use of shibori technique and stencil dyeing (katazome). These textiles were then featured in C JEAN’s designs for her sustainable fashion collection. She also made our outfits for the exhibition opening with the textiles we developed for this project!
The exhibit shows early development of our collaboration. Although we only had a short time to prepare for this exhibition, we are excited about future developments. The works are now being displayed in a mini exhibition in Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Taipei until August 27th.