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152 Leonardo Reviews on the pages are purposely set in varying type styles, with annotations about typeface, size and leading: how admirable to have put all this information under one cover. Yet, sadly, it suffers the critical flaw that, too often, the typography and layout of the book contradict the book’s own principles. For example, nearly all the text is set in 8.5 point type with 12 point leading, regardless of typeface. While this may be convenient for type comparisons, the effect is devastating for the reader, since some type styles can survive dense paragraphs at that setting, while others cannot. In the book’s opening pages, the boldface, small cap headings for “dedication” and “acknowledgments” are so small and tightly letter spaced that they are all but unreadable. These strange errors, of which there are many throughout the book, are not quibbles. The relationship between what one says (content) and how one speaks (form) is essential in design, which is largely about form and function and, in the end, the book undermines its own credibility . It is, after all, an arrangement of type about type arrangement, a book about book design. (Reprinted by permission from Ballast Quarterly Review 14, No. 3, Spring 1999.) TECHNO TEXTILES: REVOLUTIONARY FABRICS FOR FASHION AND DESIGN by Sarah E. Braddock and Marie O’Mahony. Thames and Hudson, New York, USA, 1998. 192 pp., illus. Paper, $29.95. ISBN: 0-500-28096-7. Reviewed by Steve Thompson, University of Wales College, Caerleon, Newport, South Wales, NP6 1YG, United Kingdom. E-mail: . Textile technology is at the forefront of materials development, fashion and architecture . Techno Textiles, Revolutionary Fabrics for Fashion and Textiles begins by asserting that “The astonishing new technology in contemporary textiles is narrowing the gap between the worlds of art, design, engineering and science .” In what appears to be a valiant attempt to cover every aspect of contemporary techno-textiles the book is packed with a mass of images, technical descriptions and, perhaps most interestingly , explorations of new definitions of textiles. The result is that the authors have created an exciting and fascinating salad of mixed sources, images and technologies that explores an heroically wide range of materials, applications and philosophies. The book is divided into two substantive parts and a reference section. The first part, “Innovations,” investigates the future of fiber and fabrics, electronic textiles, engineered textiles and textile finishes. This is followed by “Transformations ,” which is a fascinating and varied assemblage of examples of revolutionary applications of textiles in fashion, design , architecture and art. The reference section—which has an extensive bibliography and a comprehensive directory of technical terms, biographies, useful addresses , important exhibitions and collections —is a valuable resource for the designer and historian. The authors have produced a fascinating book that is culturally wide ranging , open to influences as diverse as Stelarc and geosynthetic construction fabrics in architecture. This range is both its asset and its difficulty. Any work of such scope that seeks to retain its joie de vivre is bound to be somewhat discursive if it is to avoid becoming unwieldy. At its best Techno Textiles illustrates a fascinating , varied and excitingly fresh take on the notion of how textiles might be utilized as both material and creative inspiration. The connections and tensions between the understanding of textiles in architecture and fashion , which the authors highlight, are fascinating, especially when applied to the section dealing with textiles in art practice. But the sheer ambition of the enterprise forces a discontinuity, resulting in two books in one jacket. Part 1 and Part 2 have quite different characters, and it almost appears as if they have been written as separate entities. This is perhaps a reflection of the difficulty that the authors have had in making the connections between such diverse sources. In its worst moments, the book sometimes seems to lose track of what it is trying to say as for example, in dealing with Stelarc and the cyborg, ideas that are only tenuously linked to the subject of the book. The evident excitement of the authors and their openness to the ideas and discussions about the intimacy of textiles and the body as a carrier and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1530-9282
Print ISSN
0024-094X
Pages
pp. 152-153
Launched on MUSE
2017-01-04
Open Access
No
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