University of Rhode Island
TMD 402 Spring 2010 "The Art of Fashion and Textiles"
When one thinks of art, sofas and carpets are not necessarily the first thing to pop to mind; however, positioned creatively, a unique form of art can be created within interiors. Unlike traditional art, interior design art needs to be practical, wear well and fit into the client’s life, as it is their living space. Interior design can also be used as a way to solve problems in one’s living environment. Overall, interior design takes art and fashion to the next level through the fusion of textiles, practicality, and design in one unique art form. Alison Comstock discussed how she uses her extensive knowledge of fashion and art to create beautiful (and practical) interiors.
The lecture revolved around the core concept of solving problems through the use of textiles. There are various, sometimes obvious yet sometimes surprising ways textiles can be used to solve problems. Textiles can be displayed as artwork in an interior. Alison Comstock first talked about how she had a client who wanted to incorporate her grandmother’s quilt into the room design. Alison was able to find fabric that matched the quilt for the upholstery and displayed the quilt as artwork in the room. Fabric can also contribute to solving problems in interior design. Alison has used her extensive knowledge of textiles and their properties and characteristics that she obtained here at URI to lead clients in the correct direction when choosing fabrics. A clear manifestation of this can be seen through a client who wanted lightweight linen curtains that also provided privacy. The selected linen was somewhat transparent, so Alison lined the curtains, thus solving the problem. A similar problem often encountered with textiles clients who choose weak fabrics to upholster their furniture. There are various standards a fabric needs to uphold to be successful and long lasting as an upholstery fabric. While fabrics such as lampas silk and chenille are not good upholstery fabrics, they can be stabilized through a latex back or Knit/BacTM. These backings stabilize the fabric’s weak characteristics and thus make it more suitable for upholstery.
A client’s needs are another aspect of interior design that can be easily solved by the use of the correct textile. The most impressive example Alison used involved a client who claimed to be messy, yet wanted a solid white silk sofa. Typically this would seem to be a recipe for disaster; however, there are ways to seal fabrics to prevent stains. CustomSealTM is one such seal that presses a scotchgard finish into the fabric to prevent stains, even from coffee spills! Another way in which fabrics can be used to solve problems for clients is to use them as a sound barrier. Fabrics such as velvet and even cork excel at blocking sound. Alison has used both of these to solve sound problems for clients, velvet in an elevator and cork in a restaurant.
It has become evident that fabrics used in interior design do more than just look good in a room. Fabrics in interior design are carefully selected, protected from harmful elements and even solve problems. The textiles and elements used in the design of a loom can also be viewed as a unique form of fashion and art. In interior design, fashion strays from its typical form of clothing and into the fashions of the room- upholstered furniture, curtains and carpets. Instead of dressing a person as a fashion designer does, an interior designer is responsible for dressing a room. Art comes into play in the incorporation of color, artwork and the textile designs. Overall, it is apparent that interior design is yet another way art and fashion work together.
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