Using an array of techniques including hand printing, laser-cutting, hand embroidery, and machine sewing I aim to disrupt, pervert, and play with pattern. I investigate pattern through material exploration. Without the prior planning typical in a design process, I am working between what David Pye calls “the workmanship of risk and the workmanship of certainty”. This allows risk through experimentation, open to being defined by skill, judgement and care. As a designer and maker with a background in commercial textile design and future design theory, working in a fine arts setting has given me the freedom to be more experimental in my practise. I want to be fully immersed in the making process and understand how and why things are made. This desire to be a part of the process also means that I want to understand future technologies, how they work and what the possible impacts of these will be in our lives as well as how we interact with Art & Design.

Through my practise, I am exploring technologies and theories of the past, present and future to create work to be engaged with. These include the ideas proposed by the Arts & Craft movement, opting for more traditional craft instead of industrial making methods, as well as ‘Ornament and Crime’ by modernist Adolf Loos, who criticises the role of decorative ornamentation on useful objects. The goal is to understand the changing human interactions with material objects. In an ever-changing, interconnected world, where do people find contentment? What is of value to us? What will be of value to us? My research focuses on themes of divinity, longevity, and nostalgia alongside changes in material culture due to the rise of the experience economy and our need for individualism, e.g. through the bespoke. With the intent to understand what may get discarded over time and lost due a lack of a digital permanence or relevancy to current trends.

Engaging both hand and digital technologies I am building a body of work exploring patterns as a tool to address and question these radical changes, whilst remaining mindful of the environmental impact of processes and materials used. Combining handcraft methods with digital tools such as the laser-cutting and digital printing techniques, using imagery from urban growth observations to create initial patterns by carving freehand into linoleum, focusing on the mundane pleasure that can be noticed amongst city chaos. Through this practise I am questioning the role of handcrafts, the hierarchical nature of labor under neoliberal capitalism, and our changing relationships to people and objects in a world of material excess and uncertainty.

Master of Fine Arts Candidate, 2019-2021, San Francisco, USA

MA Design Futures, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK

BA (Hons) Textiles, Cardiff Metropolitan University, UK

Enquiries email : philippa.renshaw@gmail.com